Section 15 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (the 2014 Act) places a general duty on local authorities to provide or arrange the provision of services (generally referred to as “preventative services”). The purposes that are to be achieved by the provision of preventative services are described in subsection (2) and include contributing towards preventing or delaying the development of people's needs for care and support and reducing the needs for care and support of people who have such needs. One of the other purposes described is the promotion of the upbringing of children by their families, where this is consistent with the well-being of children. This element of section 15 replaces provision formerly contained in section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
Local authorities also have to consider the importance of achieving these purposes when exercising their other functions. This means that it is the responsibility of the local authority as a whole, not just the social services department, to consider the kind of preventative services which could be provided.
In the same way, Local Health Boards (LHBs) also have to consider the importance of achieving these purposes when exercising their functions. Although this does not confer any new function on LHBs, it means that LHBs have to consider whether there are things they can provide or arrange under their existing functions which would achieve these purposes.