The Malta Independent 20 September 2020, Sunday

Connecting with communities through innovation

Monday, 3 August 2020, 07:58 Last update: about 3 months ago

Matthew Vella

In a world of algorithms, hashtags and followers, as a society, we are further acknowledging the importance of belonging within a community, honing the characteristics that make us unique, dynamic and distinct.

In this respect, earlier this month the Social Care Standards Authority launched its Social Regulatory Standards aimed at social welfare services offered at community and outreach level. Such standards are designed with the 31 services currently licensed by the same Authority in mind, following a thorough consultation process and with the trends and research showing that such service provision is expected to increase drastically in the coming future. The implementation of such a regulatory concept is conceivable through the dynamic person-centred approach applied within such social welfare provision stream. Hence, such approach moves beyond the contemporary approach typically employed wherein the individual is expected to get in touch with the “institution”, but rather it is social welfare provision that is getting in touch with the individual.


At their core, such standards are clear in their intent and ethos that no individual in our communities should feel isolated. Thus, looking at social inclusion in a holistic manner scratching beyond the surface of the cause leading to vulnerability. In this regard, the six standards encompass the need and importance of a personal support plan that takes into consideration the background, needs and assistance needed by the individual. Nevertheless, such standards do not compromise on the provision of safety and privacy to ensure the wellbeing and best interests of individuals making use of such services.

The publication was the first building block which the Social Care Standards Authority has put in place in this field. Looking outward, the Authority is elaborating its intentions by innovating further on the concept of social planning. Such a visionary concept shall encompass further the necessity to strengthen our communities, particularly encapsulating the resources available within particular communities together. In this respect, such a concept puts together civic and ecclesiastic administrations such as local councils and local parishes as they have the material, but also the insights of the most vulnerable groups within particular communities and thus can join efforts towards the provision of the necessary assistance. Additionally, support shall also be sought by local organisations and NGOs who may be putting in solid efforts to contribute towards assisting such vulnerable persons. This has been clearly demonstrated in the last Collaborative Platform organised with social welfare service providers, wherein they have discussed in detail their collaborations and initiatives implemented during the pandemic period within their catchment areas and target groups.

Putting sustainable social planning on the agenda, the Authority is working with different stakeholders to ensure robust and cohesive developments. Working in such a seamless manner ensures the elimination of territories between different organisations within the same community in order to offer the necessary safeguards and pool of professionals to assist the most vulnerable within that community.

The implementation of such a collaborative attitude shall also lead towards the execution of social auditing principles within social welfare. Beyond financial auditing, such a concept shall result in a stock take of the service provision and quality assessments being provided within different communities in order to assess the different dimensions and trends presented. The Social Care Standards Authority shall also take the leap in presenting such concepts in different fora such as within the College of Regulators as well in the consultative groups within the Council of Europe in order to continue leading in innovative regulatory processes.

Community is much more than belonging to something; it is about doing something together that makes belonging matter. In this respect, the Social Care Standards Authority shall continue its mission towards facilitating the valuable social welfare endeavours being implemented in our communities.


Matthew Vella is the Social Care Standards Authority’s Chief Executive Officer

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