Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016

The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 was passed on 18 January 2016.

This Act will change the regulation and inspection of social care in Wales.  It will place service quality and improvement at the heart of regulation, strengthen protection for those who need it, and ensure services deliver high-quality care and support.

This Act supports the aims of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 which enshrines the rights of people using care and support services into law.

What are the changes?

  • How we register and inspect services will change
  • There will be a focus on securing improvement in the quality of care and support
  • There will be changes to the regulation of the social care work force; In 2017, Care Council for Wales  became Social Care Wales

We will be required to work and collaborate closely with Social Care Wales to drive the continuous improvement of services.

Help for providers

The Institute of Public Care (on behalf of Social Care Wales, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and Welsh Government) have produced a range of learning resources for providers to give you an overview about the Act and how it will affect you. Visit the Information and Learning Hub (External link) to find out more.

You can read the frequently asked questions about the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 here. (External link)

Why do we need to change?

The need for change reflects a greater emphasis on well-being and human rights of people using care and support services.

We have always reflected the needs of people in our work, but the new legislation allows us to go one step further – our inspections will focus even more on how services make sure people’s well-being needs are met.

We will also have increased powers to ensure we can take swifter, stronger action when we need to. The Act increases duties and responsibilities for everyone providing care and support and we are responding to these challenges to make sure we are all prepared for these changes. 

When will this happen?

The new system of service regulation and inspection will come into force in April 2018 and will be fully implemented and operational by April 2019.
We are starting work now to get ready for these changes and are working closely with Welsh Government as it develops regulations that underpin the Act.

  • What does this mean for providers?

    There will be no impact on your service until the Act comes into force in April 2018. Current regulations and National Minimum Standards remain in force until 1 April 2018.

    These will be replaced with new service regulations and statutory guidance which will be developed under the Act. These will come into force in April 2018 with full implementation by April 2019.  It is likely there will be transitional arrangements put in place so that the current Care Standards Act, regulations and national minimum standards will continue to apply until providers are registered under the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 throughout 2018/19.

    The new legislation means we will have to change the way we register, inspect and enforce.


    The Act introduces a new system of service regulation and inspection – moving away from an ‘establishment’ to a ‘service provider’ based model. This means that a provider who currently has more than one service will no longer need to have separate registrations for each service. Under the new legislation, the provider will have just one registration that covers all of its services.

    Providers will be required to designate Responsible Individuals (RIs) for each of the services they wish to register. RIs will be subject to a fit and proper person test and there will be statutory duties placed on them, making them more accountable for the services provided.

    Registered Managers will no longer be required to register with us, but will be required to register with Social Care Wales.

    During the period April 2018 – April 2019, existing services will need to re-register their service, and providers will be required to designate Responsible Individuals under the new Act.  It is likely that we will undertake this re-registration process in a phased way with certain types of services being re-registered in a defined time period throughout 2018-19. 

    We will be taking a proportionate approach to re-registration and will be working with you to make this process as smooth as possible. 

    The detailed requirements of the transition period will be set out in transitional regulations developed by Welsh Government.  We will keep you updated as the plans for this become clearer.


    In 2015-16, we tested a new inspection framework which is aligned with the well-being outcomes under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 with a small number of regulated services.  During 2016-17, we plan to test this new inspection framework more widely across social care services.

    Lessons learned from this testing will influence and inform the development of new regulations and statutory guidance for service standards, being developed under the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016.

    More information about the new inspection frameworks is available on our ‘Changing the way we inspect’ pages.


    The new legislation places an emphasis on improvement with the introduction of improvement notices, and gives us strengthened powers to take action with poor quality services and providers.  This ensures that people using services will have increased protection.

    We will have the power to issue fixed penalty notices and more easily hold service providers and Responsible Individuals to account.

  • What does this mean for members of the public?

    The Act will deliver better social care for the people of Wales. One way it does this is by making providers of care more accountable and responsible if things go wrong.

    The changes will ensure you have access to more information about the services you use so you can compare and make informed choices about care. 

    If you are a person receiving care and support, a carer or relative of someone receiving care and support, and you have a concern or want to give feedback, you can contact us in a number of ways.

    How to get more information

On this site

Elsewhere on the web

Concerns about care? Please let us know if you have any concerns about us, a service, or a member of care staff. Raise a concern