Skip to content

Decision details

Procurement of Safe Supported Accommodation for Domestic Abuse

Decision Maker: Co-operative Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes


Contracts for the current provision of safe secure accommodation are coming to an end and new services need to be procured in line with The Domestic Abuse Act 2021.




The report sought approval for the recommissioning, through a procurement process, of safe, secure, supported accommodation for victims of domestic abuse.




RESOLVED: That Co-operative Executive:-



1)    To note the Council’s commitment to supporting victims of domestic and sexual abuse and tackling violence against women and girls;


2)    To approve the procurement of safe, secure, supported accommodation for victims of domestic abuse and their children, as set out in the report;  


3)    Following such procurement, delegate authority where no authority exists, to the Director of Integrated Commissioning, People Service Portfolio, in consultation with the Director of Adult Health and Social Care, Director of Children Services, Director of Finance and Commercial Services and the Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care to award and enter into the contract(s) to the successful bidder(s); and


4)    Where no existing authority exists, delegate authority to the Executive Director of People Services, in consultation with the Director of Finance and Commercial Services to take such steps to meet the aims and objectives of the report.




Reasons for Decision




This decision will build on Sheffield’s proud track record in responding to the need for safe supported accommodation for people affected by domestic abuse. It will ensure that we are able to meet the requirements of Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. It will ensure that high quality safe supported accommodation is offered that can meet need in line with recognised quality standards but in a cost effective way and the model allows for innovation and change within the contract period.




Alternatives Considered and Rejected




Consideration was given to commissioning the safe supported accommodation in two Lots as it currently stands. However, it was felt that one larger lot would have a number of advantages including: administration costs of contract management, the increased ability for partnership working and innovation to support all victims of domestic abuse, access to a wider variety of accommodation and more flexible use of the funding to be dynamic and meet changing needs during the 5-year contract period.




Consideration has been given to not providing refuge accommodation at all and only providing dispersed accommodation. However, this goes against the Council’s previous commitment to strategically commission Sanctuary Housing, at great capital cost to build a modern state of the art refuge in 2014, with the associated borrowing assumptions being on a 30-year basis. We also know that victims have differing needs and require choice of safe accommodation. Refuge blocks provide 24hour on-site support with additional facilities for children, and they engender peer support for women who have lost resilience due to their experiences. A refuge bloc provides a period of recovery, stability, safety and support for those most in need of support. The current refuge provision is always full, with a waiting list of women who want to be accommodated in this type of provision.  During recent consultation with victims in safe supported accommodation more than 50% of victims stated that they had waited for a space in a refuge to become available as they wanted this level of security. 90% of refuge residents reported that they felt safe or very safe in refuge accommodation as opposed to 50% in dispersed supported accommodation. 85% of refuge residents said they had received the right amount of support compared to 50% in dispersed accommodation.




Consideration has been given to provide the service in house. It would be very unusual for Local Authorities to run refuges internally. Specialist voluntary sector providers have developed and ran provision for over 40 years and have become experts in working with victims of domestic abuse and running safe accommodation provision. Many of them are affiliated to National Women’s Aid who have developed national good practice policies and guidance. Sheffield has a strong specialist domestic abuse sector with specialist knowledge and experience. The sector is also adept at bidding for additional charitable funding to enhance services and provide innovation that the Council might not otherwise have access to.




Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted








Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration








Respective Director Responsible for Implementation




Executive Director, People Services




Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In




Healthier Communities and Adult Social Care Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee


Report author: Ann Ellis

Publication date: 18/03/2022

Date of decision: 16/03/2022

Decided at meeting: 16/03/2022 - Co-operative Executive

Effective from: 25/03/2022

Accompanying Documents: