Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016

The Act will change the regulation and inspection of social care in Wales.

Passed on 18 January 2016, this Act 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 a greater focus on well-being outcomes for people using services
  • In 2017, the social care workforce regulator Care Council for Wales became Social Care Wales

Our inspections will focus even more on how services make sure people’s well-being needs are met.

We will 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. 

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

Help for providers

A range of learning resources for providers have been developed, 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.

When will this happen?

The new system of service regulation and inspection came into force  April 2018 and will be fully implemented and operational by April 2019.

We are working now to get ready for these changes.

Make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest changes by attending our regional provider events and subscribing to our newsletter.

What does this mean for providers?

New regulations

The current regulations and National Minimum Standards were replaced on April 2018 with new regulations and statutory guidance for care homes, children’s homes, domiciliary care, residential family centres and secure accommodation.

For fostering, adoption, adult placement and advocacy services, new regulations will not come in until April 2019.

There will be transitional arrangements so that the current Care Standards Act, regulations and national minimum standards will continue to apply until providers are registered under the new law.


During  April 2018 to April 2019, care homes, children’s homes, domiciliary care, residential family centres and secure accommodation services will need to re-register their service. These services will also be required to designate Responsible Individuals under the new Act.

We will carry out the re-registration process in a phased approach throughout 2018-19. Each type of service will be given a specific date to re-register during this period. More information is available on our ‘Re-registration’ page.

Changes to inspection

We will update and align our inspection frameworks with the statutory guidance and regulations under the new Act. 

Our code of practice for inspection sets out our approach to inspecting providers under the new Act.  More information is available on our Inspection pages.

Changes to enforcement

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.  

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