Under Part 9 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (the 2014 Act), the Welsh Ministers have the power to make regulations which specify partnership arrangements to be made between two or more local authorities or between one or more local authorities and one or more Local Health Boards (LHBs). The partnership arrangements are for carrying out specified social services functions or LHB or NHS Trust functions.
A local authority and a LHB may pay towards the establishment and operation of partnership arrangements by making payments directly or in to a 'pooled fund'. They may also provide staff, goods, services, accommodation and other resources for the partnership or in connection with it.
Regulations made under Part 9 of the 2014 Act require the establishment of regional partnership boards and specify the partnership arrangements which must be carried out under the direction of the regional partnership boards. These include partnership arrangements for the delivery of the Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS) which was previously provided under Part 3 of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010.
The Partnership Arrangements (Wales) Regulations 2015, as amended in 2019, set out the membership of the regional partnership boards and their objectives and require an annual report to be submitted to the Welsh Ministers.
The Regulations also require the establishment of pooled funds in relation to the partnership arrangements for the IFSS, and a regional pooled fund in relation to care home accommodation for older people, aged 65 or over. The Regulations specifically require local authorities and LHBs to each make a financial contribution to the regional pooled fund which is commensurate with its anticipated annual expenditure on care home places for older people.
However, nothing in the Regulations prevents local authorities or LHBs from establishing and maintaining pooled funds or regional pooled funds for carrying out any other specified functions.
Statutory guidance has been issued by the Welsh Ministers in relation to the partnership arrangements under section 166 to 168.