Welsh council to take control of prison social care responsibilities
Lewis Smith, Local Democracy Reporter
A Welsh council has announced it will take control of social care responsibilities for prisoners at HMP Parc this month, expected to begin by the end of the year.
The care for prisoners in the facility is currently provided by a private company, G4S Health Services, however with their contract due to end the council has decided to take direct management for these responsibilities starting in December 2022.
While Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board will also take over the provision of all health services in HMP Parc from December 2022, it cannot provide social care services as it is not a registered domiciliary care provider in accordance with the Regulation and Inspection of Care (Wales) Act 2016.
As the local authority is registered for domiciliary care, it was considered by Bridgend County Borough Council officers that council control of the service was the only viable option at this time.
There may however be potential for the University Health Board employed workforce to deliver social care on behalf of integrated services in the future.
Further to a consultation, a number of existing G4S staff could now be transferred to council employment, in order to maintain the knowledge and skills required to maintain the service.
Officers have also recommended that the new support team be based permanently within HMP Parc to meet the unique challenges they face.
One section of the proposal read: “The council is currently securing approximately 100 hours of care a week and are supporting prisoners with a diverse range of needs (e.g. dementia, Huntington’s Disease, cancer).
“There are many challenges to providing care services in the prison environment that would not be the case in the community. For example, access to prisoners can be compromised by security priorities, and prison lock down. There are limited facilities to support people who are disabled and sick and there is not a separate hospital wing whereby prisoners who are particularly unwell or have high levels of need, can be constantly monitored.”
Deputy leader Jane Gebbie, cabinet member for social services and early help, added: “We will embrace the responsibility of delivering a high standard of social care and support to the prisoners at HMP Parc.
“Bridgend County Borough Council is adept at accommodating change and will continue to demonstrate this through the social care provision in this complex and challenging environment.”
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