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Decision details

Procurement of Support for Children and Young People Affected by Domestic Abuse

Decision Maker: Co-operative Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Purpose:

The current contracts for provision of support for children and young people will have lapsed by end of September 2022.

 

To pool the funds for three existing contracts into one contract for £162,190 per year for 3 years plus one year plus one year starting in October 2022 in order to maintain support for children to recover from the impact of living with domestic abuse in the family home.

 

The recent Needs Assessment regarding support for people affected by Domestic Abuse in Safe Accommodation found that approximately 28,000 children are affected by domestic abuse each year in Sheffield. Domestic Abuse is recognised as an adverse childhood experience impacting on a child’s development and future life chances. In the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 children are recognised as victims in their own right if they ‘see, hear or experience’ domestic abuse between parents / carers. More than 50% of the funding for the contract will come from new burdens under the Act.

 

 

 

Decision:

8.1

The report sought approval to recommission a specialist therapeutic support service for children who have experienced domestic abuse at home which will form part of the Council’s response to the new duty to provide support in safe accommodation under Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. This will be achieved by pooling existing funding streams from the Domestic Abuse budget and Children and Families with funds allocated as part of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 new burdens funding resulting in one contract for £162,190 per year for 3 years plus one year plus one year starting in October 2022.

 

 

8.2

RESOLVED: That Co-operative Executive:-

 

 

1)    Approves the procurement strategy for a provider to deliver support services for children and young people affected by domestic violence, as detailed and set out in the report;

 

2)    Delegates authority to the Director of Children and Families, in consultation with the Director of Finance and Commercial Services and the Director of Legal and Governance to agree the terms of the contract and award the contract to the successful tenderer; and

 

3)    Where no current authority exists, delegates authority to the Director of Children and Families, in consultation with the Director of Finance and Commercial Services and the Director of Legal and Governance, in consultation with the Elected Member for Children and Families to take such steps to meet the aims and objectives as detailed and set out in the report.

 

 

8.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

8.3.1

In the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, children who see, hear or experience domestic abuse are recognised as victims in their own right and therefore, this service will go some way to ensuring that those most harmed by their experience are supported in a way that helps them to recover. Sheffield City Council recognises that children living with domestic abuse are experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences as a result and this may impact on their development and future life chances. The re-commissioning of the service and the provision of support to such children serves to help mitigate such impacts. The service will also contribute to meeting one of the strategic aims of the city’s Domestic and Sexual Abuse Strategy 2018-22: we will…Offer therapeutic support to children and young people identified as being traumatised by domestic and / or sexual abuse.

 

 

8.3.2

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 introduced a new duty on local authorities to provide support for survivors of domestic abuse and their children living in safe accommodation, including therapeutic support.  Sheffield City Council was allocated New Burdens Funding to carry this out.  Over half of the children referred into this proposed service will be living in ‘safe’ accommodation (e.g. refuges, domestic abuse dispersed accommodation, and properties where Sanctuary Scheme measures have been installed) and therefore this service will help ensure that the Council is able to meet this duty. However, the service will also work with children who are living in other forms of accommodation and that have been identified as needing intensive support by Children’s Services.

 

 

8.3.3

This proposal is the preferred option as it will ensure that the Council is able to meet its statutory duty to support children affected by domestic abuse living in safe accommodation and also ensures that those children most severely affected by domestic abuse, whether they live in domestic abuse safe accommodation or not, will have access to specialist support at the time they need it most. 

 

 

8.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

8.4.1

The following options have been considered:

 

  • Bringing the service in-house to the Early Help (MAST) service.  It is thought that this would not be viable due to the lack of specialist workers and the existing pressures on this service. This would also be a more expensive option due to higher staffing costs in the local authority.

 

  • Asking fieldwork social workers to offer the support to the children rather than a specialist service. It was felt that the support was best offered by a specialist worker without the statutory responsibilities and existing caseloads of social workers. This would also be a more expensive option due to higher staffing costs in the local authority.

 

·       Not commissioning a service at all. This is not an acceptable option given that this would mean that the local authority would not be supporting victims of domestic abuse when we have recently published a strategy committing to providing support to children in safe accommodation in line with Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021

 

 

8.5

Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted

 

 

 

None

 

 

8.6

Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration

 

 

 

None

 

 

8.7

Respective Director Responsible for Implementation

 

 

 

Executive Director, People Services

 

 

8.8

Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In

 

 

 

Children, Young People and Family Support Scrutiny Committee

 

Report author: Alison Higgins

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: