Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
a) DIRECTLY AWARD a new contract, under the same terms and conditions to Clearsprings Ready Homes from 1 November 2022 to 31 March 2023 for Shared Accommodation services.
b) DIRECTLY AWARD a new contract under the same terms and conditions to Look Ahead Care and Support, Sanctuary and YMCA from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023for the Young Person’s Supported Accommodation and Floating Support (YPSAFS) services.
c) Delegate authority for the Corporate Director Children, Young People and Education in consultation with the Cabinet Member to award a contract following a competitive tender process and implement the Decision.
The Young People Supported Accommodation and Floating Support (YPSAFS) and Shared Accommodation contracts are due to expire on 30 September 2022 and 31 October 2022, respectively. There is no provision in either contract to extend further.
Significant commissioning activity has taken place over the last year culminating in a business case and commissioning plan. At the beginning of December, as the reports were being prepared to recommission the services, Ofsted announced an introduction of a regulation regime for all accommodation for 16/17-year-olds that currently sits outside of regulation, of which include these services. The age range for the current provision is 16-21.
This has derailed the commissioning intentions, developed through engagement with young people, KCC staff and District and Borough Councils, and requires a full commissioning programme once the requirements of KCC and of potential providers are known.
Since the announcement in December 2021, the implementation date has already moved from April 2022 to April 2023, although the lead-in time will still be to the Autumn of 2023, with inspections commencing in April 2024. The nature of these contracts is based on relationships with landlords and establishing new short-term contracts where lease arrangements are in place would be complicated, costly and impact on the young people living in those properties.
In addition, there are changing demands for accommodation and support services. This is a result of population changes, increase in the number of adolescents entering care and an increase in the Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) population over previous years. Demand for all provisions has exceeded the anticipated forecast levels within the previous Sufficiency Strategy, which has put additional pressure on all services.
KCC has a statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of Kent Children in Care and ensure best value for money it spends on behalf of the Kent population. It also has a statutory responsibility to ensure there is sufficient safe accommodation for Children in Care.
The full range of options is now currently unclear as the level of detail from Ofsted needed is still in development. The one option that would allow services to continue to the point of known introduction of regulation would be to directly award contracts, under the same terms and conditions to the incumbent providers. This would allow time to run a compliant procurement understanding better the service requirements and specifying clearly the need.
The current challenges and re-commissioning risks have been identified
Publication date: 21/03/2022
Date of decision: 21/03/2022
Effective from: 29/03/2022