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Decision details

Commissioning of Supported Accommodation for Care Leavers Aged 16+

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Children and Families

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

The report will seek approval to establish a framework of suitable and competent providers of supported accommodation to be accessed when necessary to support some young people who are leaving council care.  These services will be one part of a wide ranging choice of living arrangements for young people once they reach leaving care age, to ensure all young people have the opportunity to make a successful transition to independent life as they grow up.

Decision:

That the Cabinet Member for Children and Families delegates authority to the Director of Commissioning, Inclusion and Learning, in consultation with the Director of Children and Families, the Director of Finance and Commercial Services, the Director of Legal and Governance, as appropriate, and in liaison with the Lead Cabinet Member for Children and Families, to:

 

(i) Determine and approve a procurement strategy for the re-procurement of a Care Leavers supported housing contract framework as outlined in the report;

 

(ii) award places on the framework to providers submitting the best value for money tenders based on our specifications and quality requirements for young people;

 

(iii) authorise future placements to be made by the Children and Families service in line with existing processes and protocols with providers on the framework, with and award contracts for these individual placements;

 

(iv) take any other action necessary, including extending or breaking contracts in accordance with their terms, as may be required to facilitate the outcomes outlined in the report;

 

(v) take any actions necessary to ensure the continuation of service delivery arrangements with existing suppliers under the terms and conditions which applied in their contracts under the White Rose Framework until such date that contracts procured for successor service delivery arrangements commence.

 

Reasons for the decision:

The Council needs to ensure a range of suitable supported accommodation options are available for young people leaving care to enable them to reach their full potential and live independent lives.  We are developing a range of new options to enable wider choice for young people, but these are not yet fully in place. 

 

Having a range of approved providers as part of a commissioning framework will enable the Council to secure appropriate accommodation for some young people when needed, and ensure these placements are made in line with agreed quality standards defined by young people themselves.

 

If we do not proceed as proposed current services to vulnerable young people may cease to operate and the Council would not in the short to medium term be able to deliver all of these services directly.

 

Re-procuring these services allows the Council to continue to meet a number of statutory duties.

Alternative options considered:

The Council does not have a ‘do nothing’ option because:

 

·         Not securing sufficient provision will leave some young people in our care with limited options for independent living as they grow up, leading to homelessness and other poor life outcomes.

 

·         The current contracts legally must be retendered.

 

·         As a Local Authority we have a duty to provide 16+ Supported Accommodation for our looked after children.  We must continue to provide services of this kind.

 

One alternative option considered would be to set up council in house supported accommodation services.  As described above, the Council is already embarked on a strategy to develop a wider range of alternative services to support the different needs of young people as they grow up into independent life as adults.  However, the Council does not have direct immediate access to a wide enough range of suitable properties which could be used for these services, and would have to embark on a lengthy and costly acquisition programme which would take many months to complete.   The proposal as set out above will sit alongside the other internally developed approaches and ensure there is a range of options and choices available to support young people over the next few years.  There is a strong independent and voluntary sector with the staff, skills and properties available to deliver good quality services.  Our overall strategic approach is to reduce the use of supported housing placements as other options are developed, so investing in capital developments and setting up new services now would represent poor value for money if they may not be needed in the foreseeable future.

 

One alternative approach to a framework arrangement that has been considered would be to run a tender to block purchase accommodation from a smaller number of providers.  This has been rejected because the overall strategy is to reduce reliance on supported places.  So the flexibility afforded through the proposed framework model is the best way to get value for money and not pay for provision which is not required.

Publication date: 11/07/2019

Date of decision: 09/07/2019

Effective from: 18/07/2019

Accompanying Documents: