To receive a report on from the Cabinet Member of Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing updating the Committee on the progress of the earlier intention to establish a Voluntary Adoption Agency (VAA) for Kent in partnership with Coram.
Philip Segurola, Director of Specialist Children’s Services,
introduced the report on the progress of the earlier intention to
establish a Voluntary Adoption Agency (VAA) for Kent in partnership
with Coram. We were required to go through formal tendering process
and there was only one formal submission from Coram. Sadly Kent
County Council was unable to award the contract as the tender bid
made was non-compliant in delivery of all the functions required by
the contract. Because there was a sole bidder further dialogue was
engaged but Coram did not want to proceed. Contractor arrangements
with Coram concluded on 22 January 2016. KCC will reassume
responsibility for the direct management of Adoption Services in
Kent from 23 January 2016.
2) In response to questions raised Mr Segurola gave the following information;
a) It had not yet been discussed who would chair the Adoption Development Board.
That the Children’s Social Care and Health Cabinet Committee
could be updated on the establishment of a VAA at the March
3) RESOLVED the Children’s Social Care and Health Cabinet Committee agreed to note the report.
To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, and to comment and endorse or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member on the proposed decision to establish a voluntary aided agency to ensure the sustainability and continued improvements in the adoption service for Kent.
1. Mr Wilson introduced the report and he and Mr Ireland responded to comments and questions from Members, highlighting the following points:-
a) the work going on was warmly welcomed by Members who served on the Corporate Parenting Panel. The improvements to the adoption service that Coram had made while working with the County Council over the last two-to-three years had made a huge difference;
b) while the adoption service would remain County Council-led, in that the County Council would retain the statutory responsibility for it, the voluntary adoption agency would be a new, independent organisation. However, in contracting with the County Council to run the new agency, Coram would be moving the service away from the direct control of the Council. A similar arrangement was working well in Cambridgeshire, but the detail of the contractual model which would apply in Kent had yet to be finalised;
c) with its independent status, the voluntary adoption agency would be able to bid for funding streams which were not available to local authorities. A grant for funding which had already been successful was to cover set-up costs only, although it was anticipated that there would be an opportunity later to bid for ongoing funding; and
d) the committee was reminded of how far Kent’s adoption service had progressed, and the number of adoptions increased, in recent years. The new agency would build on the excellent work already undertaken by Coram, and put the future of the service on a secure footing.
2. RESOLVED that:-
a) the decision proposed to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services, to establish Coram Kent Adoption, a voluntary adoption agency, to ensure the sustainability and continued improvements in the Adoption Service for Kent, be endorsed, taking into account comments made by this committee; and
b) responsibility to implement this decision be delegated to the Corporate Director for Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, or other suitable officer.