Report of the Chief Officer for Children’s Services (CS/22/5) relating to the re-commissioning for Peninsula Fostering Services and contract award, attached.
An Impact Assessment is also attached for the attention of Members at this meeting.
(a) that approval be given for a tendering process to be undertaken during summer 2022 with independent fostering agencies (IFAs), for the delivery of fostering services from October 2022, as per the recommendations and design set out in this Report;
(b) that the Chief Officer for Children's Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services & Schools, be given delegated authority to agree non-material changes within the overarching strategy detailed in section 4 (proposal); and
(c) that the Chief Officer for Children’s Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services & Schools, be given delegated authority to approve contract award recommendations for Peninsula Fostering Services with IFAs.
(Councillors Dewhirst and Hannaford attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of Children’s Health and Wellbeing (CS/22/5) which sought approval on the proposed commissioning and procurement arrangements of independent fostering services (IFAs), circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The services would support children in care and children, and young people with SEND, who were eligible for a short break service. These services would be delivered by IFAs and typically used when foster families were not available through the inhouse fostering service. The proposal had been developed by the Peninsula Commissioning & Procurement Partnership which aimed to jointly and collaboratively commission services to benefit children and young people living across the Peninsula authorities.
The availability and provision of fostering services and short break services supported the Council in meeting statutory duties, and in delivering strategic priorities and duties as corporate parents.
The family based short breaks for children and young people with SEND enabled parents to receive a break from caring responsibilities, whilst giving children and young people an opportunity to have positive experiences outside their families. The proposed new framework agreement would ensure this continued and increased to provide more opportunities for children and young people, and their families.
The proposal was to tender for a multi provider framework agreement for a minimum period of 5 years, with the option to extend for up to a further 2 years. This option was being recommended as it would maintain, and increase sufficiency, increase quality, provide flexibility, and ensure value for money, alongside ultimately supporting children and young people to thrive in secure and stable foster families. It was intended that commissioning and procurement arrangements would begin on 1st October 2022. Section three of the Report gave a full overview of options appraisal and analysis and section 4 focussed on the proposed contract design including the rationale and benefits analysis for proposed commissioning and procurement arrangements.
Under the proposed framework agreement there would be no guaranteed volumes of business as the value of spend was driven by the demand for placements. However, the Council’s total gross spend on independent fostering placements, including family based short breaks, for the last full financial year (2020/2021) was £8,941,000. The projected gross budgeted expenditure for the financial year 2022/2023 was £9,312,000. It was also recognised there was a risk in terms of increased prices arising from the cost of living, health and social care taxes and wage rises.
In terms of the scope of the Services, the Peninsula Commissioning and Procurement Partnership were proposing a new arrangement focusing on the provision of 6 types of fostering services which included Standard Fostering Services, Enhanced Fostering Services, Emergency Fostering Services, Staying Put, Family Based Short Breaks services and Parent and child services.
Engagement activities undertaken with stakeholders were explained at Section 5 of the Report and described ... view the full minutes text for item 150