Agenda item

21/00086 Commissioned Open Access Provision for Youth Services and Children's Centres


Mrs S Chandler, Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services; Mr M Dunkley, Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education; Mr S Collins, Director of Integrated Children’s Services; Ms C Holden, Head of Strategic Commissioning, Children and Young People’s Services; and Ms H Cook, Senior Commissioner were in attendance for this item.


1.    The Chairman introduced the item and invited the proposer of the call-in, Dr Sullivan, to provide an overview of the reasons for her call-in. Mr Stepto as the seconder was also invited to speak.


2.    Dr Sullivan set out the grounds for her call-in. She raised concerns with the proposed contract extension and reminded members that the contract was last competitively tendered in 2015, which she considered a worrying trend. She stated that the decision had been called in to allow the Committee the opportunity to hold the Cabinet Member to account on the governance process followed. She noted that given the implications that referral of the decision to County Council would have, including a loss of service due to the imminent end of the existing contract term in November 2021, that the Committee’s hands had been tied by the decision timeline.


3.    Mr Stepto stated that he was disappointed that the decision was taken late, when the lack of consultation compared to the norm was considered. He questioned why other service providers had not been considered.


4.    The Chairman invited Mrs Chandler to provide an overview of the decision.


5.    Mrs Chandler explained the reasons why recommissioning had not been commenced in Spring 2021, which included awaiting the full outcome of the budget consultation. She outlined the benefits of the service to young people and confirmed that the rationale for extending the contract was to ensure that service provision remained unchanged. She noted that the CYPE Cabinet Committee had evaluated the contract twice, in September 2018 and October 2019, as part of their review of commissioned services.


6.    Members stressed the need for contract renewals and recommissioned services to go to Cabinet Committees for consideration in a timely and routine manner.


7.    A Member asked that consideration of the Council’s commissioning processes be considered by the Scrutiny Committee at the appropriate time. The Chairman agreed to add the item to the Committee’s work programme.


8.    Members recognised that whilst the decision process had not been optimal, a reasonable series of events had occurred, given the impact of Covid-19 on the service.


9.    Mrs Chandler was asked by a Member to consider the voice of service users in future recommissioning activities and include their views in reports to committees.


10. Mr Rayner moved and Mr Love seconded recommendation (a) “that the committee make no comments”.


11. Members voted on the motion. The vote was won.


12. Mr Watts advised that the draft Annual Governance Statement recommended a return to pre-pandemic, business as usual executive decision practices in the new municipal year. He added that there were more urgent decisions taken in the past year than the previous decade combined and whilst that was fully understandable during key lockdowns, and because of frequent changes to government guidance, it should not be the norm.


13. Mrs Chandler thanked the committee for their consideration and welcomed further comments on the decision outside of the meeting.


RESOVLED that the Scrutiny Committee make no comments.

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