To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Strategic Commissioning and Pubic Health and the Director of Public Health on a proposed contract award (for which, those expressing an interest are listed in an exempt appendix), on which the committee is asked to comment and either endorse or make an alternative recommendation.
1. Mr Gilbert introduced the report and explained that, having previously extended the contract with the current provider, a new contract was being procured through a competitive tendering process. Although substance misuse among young people was declining, it was still a challenging issue in some areas of the county, especially among vulnerable families and young offenders. Re-tendering the contract offered opportunities to deliver services in new ways. Expressions of interest had been received from a number of organisations and these were listed in the exempt appendix to the report. These organisations had been invited to tender for the contract and tenders received were currently being evaluated. This evaluation included consultation with representatives of the Kent Youth County Council. The Cabinet Member for Strategic Commissioning and Public Health would then sign the formal decision paperwork to award the contract in October and the new service would start in January 2018. Mr Gilbert, Ms Mookherjee and Mr Scott-Clark responded to comments and questions from the committee, including the following:-
a) in response to a question about the committee having a further opportunity to comment before the contract was awarded, the Democratic Services Officer advised that, in accordance with the County Council’s decision making process, all Members would be sent notice of what the decision was proposed to be and would have an opportunity to comment on and ask questions about it. They would then be sent notice of the decision having been taken and would have an opportunity to call-in the decision if they felt it had not been properly taken or the process had not been properly followed. Only once these two stages had been completed, and once any call-in had been dealt with, could the decision be implemented;
b) asked if spending on this service might have to increase to meet need, Mr Gilbert advised the committee that he was confident that the service required could be delivered to all those who needed it within the allocated budget;
c) organisations tendering for the contract would not be required to use an information technology system imposed by the County Council to deliver the service and would be allowed to use methods they had developed and used successfully before, however, the County Council would monitor closely to see that services were being delivered to its satisfaction. Particular attention would be paid to the efficient transfer of data from the current service to the new. It was expected that staff delivering the current service would transfer to the new;
d) asked how young people accessed drugs and alcohol, Ms Mookherjee explained that, although the national trend was for fewer young people to use them, and drug-related hospital admissions of young people under 18 had fallen, those who did use were indulging in increasingly risky behaviours, and the young people most at risk were taking the most risks. Most young people experimented to some extent, for example, with steroids at the gym. Patterns of use varied across the county but rates of usage were ... view the full minutes text for item 21