28/05/2024 - 24/00031 - Implementation of an independent Construction Consultancy Services Framework to support the implementation and delivery of the Capital Works Programmes

Proposed decision:

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to agree to:

 

1.    the implementation of a new Independent Construction Consultancy Services Framework to support the delivery of the Capital and Minor Works Programmes over a 6-year (4 year+1+1) contract period and includes the following disciplines:

 

o   Lot 1 – Multi-discipline (including client delegated duties)

o   Lot 2 – Project Manager (including client delegated Quantity Surveying duties)

o   Lot 3 – Supervisor

o   Lot 4 – Technical Advisor

o   Lot 5 – Construction Design and Management Advisor

 

2.    delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to  take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision

 

3.    delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to award extensions of contracts for commissioned services in accordance with the extension clauses within the contract (4 years + 2 x 1 year extensions).

 

 

Reason for the decision / Background

Kent County Council (KCC) have previously appointed consultants on a project-by-project basis via the Property Services Consultancy Framework to provide professional consultancy services to support construction projects. However, the Framework expired in June 2020 and procurement of such services has since been conducted on a project-by-project basis, tendered or by direct award procurements in-line with Spending the Council’s Money Policy and Public Contract Regulations.

 

The current method of procuring consultancy services is resource intensive and requires a more efficient approach. In addition, KCC need a professional consultancy services framework that aligns to the new construction partnership framework and can support the delivery of the minor works programme.

 

Options

There are 3 options to consider for the ongoing procurement of consultancy services:

·         Option 1 – Insource of consultancy provision.

·         Option 2 – Continuing with current arrangement of tendering/direct award for each requirement.

·         Option 3 – Establishing a new Construction Consultancy framework.

 

Following consideration of the benefits and disbenefits at the Policy and Resources Cabinet Committee on 13 July 2022, procurement activity has been progressed in relation to Option 3.

 

This option provides a pre-qualified framework of consultants to efficiently support the projects procured via the Construction Partnership Framework and support the delivery of the minor works programme on behalf of Kent County Council (KCC). It is likely that allocation of projects under the Framework will be on a rotational basis, so that all suppliers receive an equal allocation of works (performance and project dependant).  In addition, the facility to undertake mini fee bids will be included.

 

It is envisaged that the new Independent Construction Consultancy Services Framework will commence by late September/early October 2024.

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026:

The proposed decision will support the objectives of the Framing Kent’s Future – Our Council Strategy 2022-2026 by:

 

·         Supporting the delivery of the Council’s Capital and Minor Works Programmes.

·         Supporting the delivery of the Kent Commissioning Plan for Education Provision 2020-2024, including the Basic Need programme.

·         Supporting the KCC Corporate Estate maintenance programme.

·         Supporting the KCC Education Estate maintenance programme.

Decision Maker: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Amanda Jobey

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - view reasons


28/05/2024 - 24/00030 - Granting of Formal Lease for Electricity Sub Station at Bapchild and Tonge Church of England Primary School, Sittingbourne

Proposed decision:

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to agree to:

 

1.    authorise the granting of a Lease for a term in excess of 20 years to UK Power Networks for occupation and use of a new Electricity Sub Station to be located within the grounds of the school; and

 

2.    delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to take necessary actions, including but not limited to entering into relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement this.

 

 

Reason for the Decision:

The granting of a Formal Lease in excess of 20 years requires a Decision from the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services in accordance with the County Council’s Property Management Protocol.

 

Background:

UK Power Networks is currently planning an infrastructure improvement project in the local area.  An existing substation is sited on the edge of the school playing field on land leased by Kent County Council (KCC) to the (former) Southern Eastern Electricity Board with approximately 43 years unexpired on the term of the Lease. The current location of the substation is now considered unsuitable by the school due to its proximity to a school building which the school wish to expand. It is proposed that a new substation is installed in a more appropriate location within the school site and housed in a glass reinforced plastic unit, rather than a transformer in a compound. The new substation will supersede the existing substation which will then be removed upon completion of the project and the remainder of the existing Lease surrendered afterwards.

 

For consistency with other leases granted on operational school sites to UK Power Networks and similar Statutory Undertakers, a lease of 99 years will need to be granted for the provision and operation of the new substation.

 

Options Considered: 

KCC has an option not to grant what is effectively a surrender and regrant of the utility lease. Not doing so will mean that the current substation would remain in situ for the remaining 43 year lease term (which will impact on the school’s ability to expand its building) and prevent the substation from being re-provided to a modern specification).

 

Since the substation is required to provide electricity to the school and ensure it remains operational agreeing a relocation utilising a surrender and regrant under standard utility lease terms is the preferred option.  This relocation will also enable an existing school building to be extended to provide enhanced facilities to users of the school.    

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026:

This decision supports Framing Kent’s Future – Our Council Strategy 2022-2026 as the decision ensures the school remains operational and enhances facilities, supporting KCC's commitment to maintaining its strategic role in supporting schools in Kent to deliver accessible, high – quality provision. Communities will be maintained from the new substation to all the properties served by the existing substation, using modern materials and technologies associated with prevailing substation design and construction and protected for long term use by the presence of a long lease.  Environmental Step Change objectives will also be achieved, as the proposed lease will compel the operator to use sustainable materials and reduce any carbon emissions compared to the existing substation, which will help the County Council achieve its Net Zero targets.

Decision Maker: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: Swale East;

Lead officer: Lesley Andrews

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


28/05/2024 - 24/00029 - Proposed Granting of Formal Lease for site for new Pre School at Sheldwich Primary School

Proposed decision:

Approval for Kent County Council to grant a Lease in excess of 20 years to Sheldwich Primary School for development, occupation and use of a new permanent Pre School building to be located within the grounds of the School.. Authority to be delegated to the Director of Infrastructure to be authorised to finalise terms for this transaction.

 

The Cabinet Member will be asked to:-

 

1.    Agree that Kent County Council grant a Lease in excess of 20 years to Sheldwich Primary School for development, occupation and use of a new permanent Pre School building to be located within the grounds of the School,

 

2.    Authorise the Director of Infrastructure to finalise terms for the granting of the Formal Lease.  

 

Reason for the Decision:

Proposed granting of a Formal Lease over 20 years requires a Key Decision in accordance with the County Council’s Property Management Protocol.

 

Background:

The School obtained Academy Status in 2010.  The County Council leased all its freehold land held for and used by the School to the Academy Trust and retained land which was occupied by a separate Pre School provider.  The Pre School provider vacated the County Council’s land a few years later, and at the request of the former Director of Education, the School were to be granted a lease of under 20 years to use and occupy the County Council’s retained land for Pre School purposes, which has been successful for the Trust.

 

A demountable building located on the retained land is reaching the end of its economic life, despite considerable investment into its repair and maintenance by the Trust .  It is desired by the Trust to erect a permanent Pre School building on the site, in a location which is partially within the demise of the existing Academy Lease and partially within the County Council’s retained land.

 

To attract funding for development of a permanent Pre School building, the Trust will need to be granted a lease of over 20 years.  The Trust’s operation of a Pre School at this location is well supported and has been very successful. 

 

A small part of the County Council’s retained land will be included within the proposed long lease; the residue of the site will be leased to the Trust for breakfast and after school club activities, currently operated from the school hall.  Relocation of these uses onto the residue of the County Council’s land will enable the hall to be used for more traditional educational uses.      

 

Options Considered:

 

Three locations were considered for the project but due to site constraints the proposed location is such that it will be the easiest to implement and ensure the remainder of the School’s operational requirements are maintained.     

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026:  

This decision supports Framing Kent’s Future – Our Council Strategy 2022-2026 as the decision gives opportunity for an enhancement in school facilities, supporting KCC's commitment to maintaining its strategic role in supporting schools in Kent to deliver accessible, high-quality education provision for all families.  

 

Legal Implications:

In accordance with the Property Management Protocol, proposed leases of over 20 years require Members to delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure to authorise the terms for such leases.  On this occasion, a lease of over 20 years is desired by the Trust in order that it can source and attract funding streams to enable a permanent Pre School building to be built within the grounds of the Academy.

 

Half of the land required for the replacement Pre School setting is already within the Trust’s existing Academy Lease.  For the proposal to succeed, a small part of the County Council’s Retained Land will need to be included within any new lease to the Trust, on terms and conditions which are consistent with ground leases granted by the County Council to Pre Schools at its maintained School sites.

 

The decision to grant such a lease on a small part of the County Council’s Retained Land at this site is a voluntary decision.  The Trust’s Pre School at this site has been very successful within the last 10 years and it is anticipated this will be enhanced by the granting of a long lease for the development of a permanent Pre School building. 

Decision Maker: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: Swale East;

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


23/05/2024 - 24/00035 - Contract for Receipt and Treatment of Street Sweepings and Highway Mechanical Arisings

Proposed decision

The Cabinet Member for Environment to approve the award of new contractual arrangement for the receipt and treatment of Street Sweepings and Highway Mechanical Arisings delivered to KCC’s Transfer Stations by Collection Authorities and delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Highways and Transport, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision

 

Reason for the decision

·      KCC is seeking a new contractual arrangement for the receipt and treatment of this material.

 

Background

·      As the Waste Disposal Authority, KCC has a statutory responsibility to dispose of waste collected by the Waste Collection Authorities, which includes waste collected by street sweeper vehicles.

·      By treating this waste, it is seperated into constiuent parts, such as sand, stones, metals glass, soil, leaves, organic matter and litter, and reused in construction and restoration projects.

·      It is envisaged that the commission will be presented in three geographical lots: West Kent,  East Kent & Mid Kent, to take account of haulage considerations to the treatment facility and will include provision for managing 11,000 tonnes of street sweepings and highway mechanical arisings collected by the collection authorities across Kent.

·      The contract is expected to commence on 1st June 2024 for a duration of up to 4 years, with a break clause in the 2nd year. The market engagement exercise informed the contract length as being the most attractive to the industry, whilst giving KCC flexibility to review the arrangements based on performance.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

·      Option 1 – Do nothing – the current arrangements will continue; This is not a viable option as the incumbent’s extension proposal is not financial sustainable for the Authority.

·      Option 2 – Discontinue accepting the street sweeping and highway mechanical arisings waste from the collection authorities in Kent; this is not an option due to KCC’s obligation to take this waste as the Waste Disposal Authority.

·      Option 3 – Continue to accept the waste, but utilise alternative disposal options by using landfill or incineration; this is not an option as there is an obligation to comply with the waste hierarchy and to meet landfill diversion targets.Furthermore, to send this material to incineration would be costly against a treatment option.

Preferred option:

·         Option 4 is the preferred option. The Authority is seeking to appoint a new provider to secure a contract (for up to four years) that will benefit and achieve the best outcomes for the authority and Kent households and fulfil the statutory duty of KCC operating under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to dispose of collected municipal waste.

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Environment

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Kay Groves

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - view reasons


23/05/2024 - 24/00042 - Contingency contract to provide emergency facilities in the event of a marine pollution incident

Proposed decision

 

That the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services:

 

1.     enter into a contract for the provision of a marine pollution response capability, including equipment and expertise, in the event of a marine pollution incident.

 

2.    delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to take necessary actions, included but not limited to entering into relevant contracts or other legal agreements to implement the above for the provision of a marine pollution response capability, including equipment and expertise, in the event of a marine pollution incident.

 

 

Reason for the decision

KCC currently holds a contingency contract with a commercial provider for the provision of a marine pollution response capability (including equipment and personnel) in the event of an marine pollution incident. That contract expires this year, having been previously extended.

 

Whilst the retainer element of the contract represents relatively small expenditure (less than £5K), if it is required to be called upon then the expenditure is likely to be greater than £1M.

 

Background

KCC has legal duties to plan and prepare for emergencies which may occur in Kent. The potential for an emergency to occur which results in the pollution of Kent’s coastline is recognised. In relatively recent years there have been incidents that have come close to polluting areas of the Kent coastline, the most recent being the leak from a wreck on the Goodwin Sands in 2022. The location of the county, adjacent to the busiest shipping lane in the world, puts Kent at high risk of such events occurring.

 

Marine pollution events include pollution from marine / crude / waxy / vegetable oils, other noxious substances, cargo (e.g. timber, such as the Sinegorsk incident), land-based wastewater or sewage, algal blooms, or dead marine wildlife (i.e. whales, dolphins, porpoises or similar).

 

KCC has historically agreed to undertake a Tier 2 marine pollution response in support of boroughs / district / city councils (who undertake Tier 1 responses). This is a local agreement as there is no legal or regulatory duty upon KCC to cover Tier 2 responses. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency National Contingency Plan refers only to a local authority role in Tier 1 and 2 shoreline clean-up and doesn’t specifically mention county councils or upper tier authorities.

 

KCC currently holds the existing contract on behalf of coastal borough / district councils (excluding Medway Unitary Authority). The contract allows for KCC to call down elements of it to support any response required to a marine pollution incident. However for future contracts, KCC and the coastal borough / district councils have agreed that all authorities will contribute to the standby cost, and each will have the ability to call on the contract. The cost of activating the contract will also be split between the affected authorities.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

·      Do nothing.

o   This would leave KCC exposed to not meeting its duties to plan, prepare and respond to an incident that threatens the environment of the UK, as defined in the Civil Contingencies Act.

o   It would also lead to significant reputational risk for KCC if there is a significant impact on the environment and / or the economy (e.g. loss of tourist income).

 

·      Rely on national government, local mutual aid agreements or military support.

o   National government (through the Maritime & Coastguard Agency) has responsibilities for at-sea clean-up operations, but not onshore cleanup.

o   Mutual aid agreements between local authorities are already in place but they are limited in scope and do not provide the capability which would be required.

o   Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) may be sought in such an incident but it cannot be guaranteed and does not provide the specialist equipment required. MACA also requires that all civil options have been exhausted before it can be undertaken, including the commercial providers who could be contracted under this tender.

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026

The decision concerns the provision of infrastructure for the community in the event of an emergency and forms part of KCC’s role in making Kent’s communities safe.

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future:democracy.kent.gov.uk/documents/s121235/Securing Kents Future - Budget Recovery Strategy.pdf

The decision results from a review of an existing contract. The new contract will be of a ‘call off’ nature, allowing KCC to only call off the elements it needs to support its duties. It will also provide the framework to allow partners to call off elements for their own purposes but will provide the means and clarity to ensure that KCC only pays for those elements which it calls off itself.

 

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision due date: Not before 05/06/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Bill Anderson

Notice of decision: 07/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


22/05/2024 - 24/00034 - Decision to award contracts for Public Rights of Way Vegetation Clearance

Proposed decision:

To agree the re-procurement and the award of new contracts for Public Rights of Way (PRoW) vegetation clearance, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, for a further period of five years and an allowable extension of two years subject to performance; and, to delegate authority to the Director of Growth and Communities to take  other relevant actions, including, but not limited to finalising the terms of and entering into  required contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary to implement the decision. 

 

Reason for the decision:

The contracts to manage the vegetation on the PRoW network are due for renewal, with the previous contractual arrangements ending at the end of the 2024-5 financial year.

 

The proposed contracts would have a five-year term with the option to extend for a further two.

 

The annual spend on vegetation clearance on the PRoW network is approximately £400K. When considered over the five-year term of the contracts, and allowing for inflationary increases, the aggregate spend will exceed £2M. Given that the likely expenditure will exceed £1m a key decision is required to enable the procurement to proceed and, subject to successful procurement, to award contracts for the delivery of PRoW vegetation clearance work.  

 

Background:

The Public Rights of Way network in Kent extends to 6995Km. PRoW are public highways and approximately 99% of the network in Kent is maintainable at the public expense. Vegetation growing from the surface of the highway (other than crops) is the responsibility of the County Council to manage. Vegetation overgrowth is the single most reported issue on the PRoW network by the public.

 

The Asset Management Plan 2019 identified that the optimum length of vegetation clearance is 1758802m per annum, below which lengths of the network will be obstructed or unpleasant to use. The authority would fail to meet its statutory obligation to maintain the network.  The length cleared will vary reflecting the nature/ length of the growing season. Inevitably with a warmer climate we are experiencing longer growing seasons.

 

Failure to deliver the optimum level of service in the short term would simply defer the activity with substantially greater costs being incurred at a later date in order to recover the position. Ie the vegetation would still need to be cleared but the additional growth would take longer to clear and would require heavier machinery. 

 

Vegetation clearance ensures that the PRoW network (public highway) is available to the public, is safe and supports Kent’s economy, health and well-being. Obstruction of, or interruption to, access results in an associated loss in public benefit & economic impact on businesses reliant on visitors.

 

Preferred option:

The outcome of market engagement for vegetation clearance and preparation of the commercial case is a recommendation that the work be split into 10 lots with no individual supplier awarded more than three lots.  The recommended contract duration of 5-7 years allows the service providers sufficient certainty to invest in specialist equipment and their labour force. It is expected that this will encourage more local SMEs to bid.  The expectation, based on previous procurement, is that four contractors will deliver the contracts. The opportunity for businesses to tender for the work will be published on the Kent Business Portal.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded):

Do nothing: This is not an option. The County Council would not be delivering a minimum level of service to meet its statutory obligations. It would be at risk of third-party action to compel it to undertake the work and at risk of increased numbers of third party injury claims. The long terms costs of maintenance would be increased appreciably.

 

Single supplier contract:  Previous procurement rounds have failed to identify any single supplier that can deliver the levels of clearance required or compete on price other than through sub-contracting with significant implications for quality and reliability. Previous rounds of procurement have not identified a single supplier with the capacity to deliver the programme without sub-contracting much of the work,  adding significant risk to the County Council in terms of performance and delivery.

 

Multi supplier framework: The County Council would not be able to enter contracts of sufficient length that it would be financially and logistically fitting for suppliers. The use of similar frameworks for small works in the past has seen a rapid diminution in the contractors available through the framework.

 

In house: There are significant barriers to entry in terms of purchasing/ leasing the machinery required and recruiting, retaining and managing the scale of workforce required for what would be short term seasonal contracts.

 

How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026:

The procurement accords with the County Council’s Strategy “Framing Kent’s Future”:

i)        Levelling up Kent:  Priority 1: supporting ambitions to improve the health of Kent’s population particularly promoting healthy behaviours  Priority 1-4

ii)        Infrastructure for Communities,  Priority 2: 2 Invests in Kent’s high-quality landscapes.  6. Supports the choice of alternative travel options by prioritising the maintenance of accessible walking routes and cycle lanes

iii)       Environmental step change. Priority 3: Improve access for our residents to green and natural spaces especially in urban and deprived areas and through our Public Rights of Way network to improve health and wellbeing outcomes

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future:

The procurement of vegetation clearance contracts seeks to secure best value in the delivery of what is a statutory function (the maintenance of the publicly maintainable highway). It seeks to deliver this work in the most efficient, economic and effective way, consistent with the prioritisation of the Council’s best value duty. In that respect it is consistent with, and supports, Securing Kent’s Future.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Executive Decision Regulations

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Graham Rusling

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


22/05/2024 - 24/00032 - New contracts for the provision of Post-Mortem Facilities for the Mid Kent & Medway, North West Kent, North East Kent, Central and South East Kent coroner areas

Proposed decision:

1)     Issue new contracts, via direct awards, for the provision of Post-Mortem Facilities in Mid-Kent and Medway, Northwest Kent, and East Kent, to commence from 1 April 2024 for a period of 3 years (36 months) with the option of extending for up to a further 2 years (24 months) 

 

2)     Delegate authority to the Director for Growth and Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision

 

3)     Delegate authority to the Director for Growth and Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to  award extensions of contracts for commissioned services in accordance with the extension clauses within the contract (3 years + 2 year extension)

 

Reason for the decision:

The current contracts for PM facilities and staff expire on 31 March 2024. There is a need for these contracts to be renewed from 1st April 2024 to ensure continuity of this critical service.

 

Background:

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 places a duty on Coroners to investigate deaths that are referred to them if they have reason to think that:

 

·       The death was violent or unnatural;

·       The cause of death is unknown; or

·       The deceased died while in prison, police custody or another form of state detention.

 

In some cases, the Coroner will order a Post-Mortem (PM) to establish the cause of death, and in such cases, the deceased is taken to one of five NHS mortuaries across Kent and Medway. On behalf of the Kent Senior Coroners, KCC ensures access to body storage and PM facilities across the Kent coroner areas. 

 

Options (other options considered but discarded):

Option 1: Do nothing

This is a statutory service, and unless contracts are put in place the system of coronial death investigation and certification in the Mid Kent & Medway, North West Kent, North East Kent, Central and South East Kent coroner areas will fail. The Council will also be at risk of receiving an inconsistent provision and quality of service, a lack of control over costs, and subsequent reputational ramifications.

 

Option 2: Go out to tender Competitive Tender Process

There are no private sector organisations within this marketplace locally, and previous experience of mortuary use outside of Kent has not delivered a suitable service. A competitive tender process will not yield a competitive process.

 

Option 3: Use of Framework or other viable contract mechanism.

There are no known frameworks or other viable mechanisms for the provision of mortuary facilities in England and Wales.

 

Option 4: One NHS Trust delivers all PMs.

No single facility can accommodate the number of PMs required. 

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026:

The decision supports Priority 2 of Framing Kent’s Future: Infrastructure for Communities, as it supports KCC’s duty to resource the Senior Coroners in Kent in carrying out their role.

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future:

Contract review work and negotiation undertaken to date supports Objective 2 of Securing Kent’s Future (Delivering savings from identified opportunity areas to set a sustainable 2024/5 budget and MTFP).

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Belinda Hooker

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt


17/05/2024 - 24/00052 - Approval to reprocure contractual arrangements for the operation, management and haulage services at household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) and co-located waste transfer stations (WTS) in Mid, East and West Kent (SC18031 and SC18031WK).

Proposed decision

 

(i) REPROCURE contracts for the operation of 17 HWRCs and co-located WTS;

 

And subsequently,

 

(ii)       DELEGATE authority to the Director for Environment and Circular Economy, to take relevant actions to facilitate the required procurement activity; and

 

(iii)      DELEGATE authority to the Director for Environment and Circular Economy in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment, to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision.

 

Reason for the decision

 

The option to reprocure the service is recommended by the Cabinet Member for Environment as this option will enable KCC to drive savings through economies of scale and be assured that it is paying the current market price for the service.

 

Background

 

As the Waste Disposal Authority, KCC has a statutory responsibility to arrange for the disposal of the controlled waste collected in its area by the waste collection authorities, and to provide places at which persons resident in its area may deposit their household waste and for the disposal of waste so deposited.

Contracts with FCC Environment Ltd and Commercial Services Kent for the operation, management and haulage services Household Waste Recycling Centres and co-located Waste Transfer Stations are due to expire on 31 October 2025.

 

Other Options considered but discarded

 

Option 1 - Do nothing. Discounted due to failure to meet statutory duties.

Option 2 – Extend with FCC and CSKL for 5 years, as per the current contractual terms. Discounted as this option is unable to demonstrate best value and does not test the market for potential economies of scale.

Option 3 – Extend with FCC and CSKL for 7 years. Discounted due to legal and procurement risk.

Option 4 - CSKL to operate all sites.  Discounted due to technical and operational risk and unable to demonstrate best value.

Option 5 - FCC to operate all sites. Discounted due to legal risk.

 

The commission of this contract will meet KCC’s Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026:

Priority 3 – Environmental Step Change -Continue to work with our commissioning partners to create the infrastructure and jobs that enable us to reprocess waste materials and produce energy within the county, in order to maintain a closed loop local economy.

 

Securing Kent’s Future - Budget Recovery Strategy regarding the following outcomes:

 

Objective 2: Delivering savings from identified opportunity areas to set a sustainable 2024/25 budget and MTFP: Contract Review

 

Financial Implications

 

The current budget for 2024/25 is £13,344,800 which covers operational 17 sites.

 

Payable Exit fees and costs associated with procurement (£250k), demobilisation and remobilisation (£450k) are unbudgeted pressures.This will bring several sites up to an ongoing serviceable standard which may be required before they are handed over to a new provider to maintain.

 

These costs can be treated in several ways, KCC can either pay it at the close of the contract, it can be included in the procurement as a set up cost or amortised over a period of time but will remain a budget pressure

 

There is a risk to the delivery of MTFP savings during the procurement process, which will need to be managed with the incumbent contractors. Going forward these improvements may be included in the new contract specification and therefore can be priced and secured in open competition. 

 

A procurement process will enable KCC to be satisfied that it is paying the current market rate for these services and economies of scale may help to drive efficiencies in the service. However, there is no guarantee that the tendered price will be more attractive than the current price.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Environment

Decision due date: Not before 15/06/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Execuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: susan Reddick

Notice of decision: 17/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - view reasons


17/05/2024 - 24/00028 - Spending the Stop Smoking Services and Support Grant

Proposed Decision

 

Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health (as part of progressing the Stop Smoking Grant agreement entered into earlier in 2024), to approve the enhanced stop smoking services and agree the framework arrangements for management of the related grant funding.

 

Background

 

On 4 October 2023, the Government published ‘Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smokefree generation’ which sets out the proposed actions the government will take to tackle smoking and youth vaping.This included a programme of funding to support current smokers to quit smoking, with £70 million additional funding per year for local authority stop smoking services and support.

 

The aim of this additional funding is to ensure there is a nationwide comprehensive offer to help people stop smoking across England and to increase the number of smokers engaging with effective interventions to quit smoking.

 

This new funding is in addition to the Public Health Grant and will be provided through a new Section 31 Grant on top of the current Public Health Grant allocations. This funding is ringfenced for local authority led stop smoking services and support. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will provide the grant and the additional funding will be used to complement and enhance existing stop smoking services in Kent.

 

KCC received the full grant agreement in February 2024, detailing the relevant conditions and the full funding allocation for 2024/2025, £1,944,823.

 

The additional funding is anticipated to be provided over the next five financial years, starting from 2024-25 until 2028-29. The grant agreement covers the first year, with funding for subsequent years subject to spending review settlements, following the routine practice for all government expenditure. It will be important that KCC is able to demonstrate on an annual basis, that it is achieving good value for money and delivery of outcomes, while balancing the likelihood that any underspends in year may lead to future reductions in the grant allocation.

 

Local authorities will be required to maintain their existing spend on stop smoking services, based on the stop smoking service data they have submitted for the year 2022 to 2023. They should ensure they maintain this level of funding throughout the whole grant period.

 

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has determined that the grant will be paid based on the understanding that the funding will be used to:

 

  • Invest in enhancing local authority commissioned stop smoking services and support, in addition to and while maintaining existing spend on these services and support from the public health grant. This should not replace other/existing programmes which support smokers to quit, for example the tobacco dependency programme delivered within the NHS Long Term Plan
  • Build capacity to deliver expanded local stop smoking services and support
  • Build demand for local stop smoking services and support
  • Deliver increases in the number of people setting a quit date and 4 week quit outcomes, reporting outcomes in the Stop Smoking Services Collection.

 

Reason for Decision

 

A Key Decision (Decision No: 24/00001) was taken in February 2024, which approved the Council entering into the agreement to secure the funding. A further key decision is required to approve the commissioning of enhanced stop smoking services and agree the framework for management of related grant funding.

 

The additional funding is a great opportunity for KCC to increase and enhance the stop smoking service offer for Kent residents and therefore improve outcomes (measured through 4 week quits). The funding will be used to build demand and capacity in stop smoking services and increase targeting.

 

It is proposed that commissioning activity is undertaken to enhance the stop smoking services and support available for residents of Kent. Work is underway to plan commissioning activity for 2024/2025 and future years. All planned activity is in line with the Grant Conditions and will aim to increase the number of people in Kent quitting smoking.

 

It is also proposed that a ‘Stop Smoking Service Framework’ will be used to determine spend of local stop smoking service grant funding and support decision making. Under this Framework all expenditure of Local Stop Smoking Services and Support Grant funding must be in line with budget forecasting and adhere to DHSC Local Stop Smoking Services and Support Grant terms and conditions. Proposals for spend must meet one of the following criteria:

 

  1. Will support the council in enhancing commissioned stop smoking services and support. This should not replace other/existing programmes which support smokers to quit, for example the tobacco dependency programme delivered within the NHS Long Term Plan
  2. Will support the council to build capacity to deliver expanded local stop smoking services and support
  3. Will build demand for local stop smoking services and support
  4. Will support the council to deliver increases in the number of people setting a quit date and four week quit outcomes.

 

An example of a project that would meet the criteria:

 

  • Develop marketing materials and social media campaigns to increase awareness of local stop smoking services (this may involve engagement with people who smoke).

 

KCC will be required to work with the DHSC to provide the necessary information and data to monitor and evaluate progress.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

Reject the Stop Smoking Services and Support Grant – The option of turning down the additional stop smoking services funding was discarded as there are many people in Kent who will benefit from this resource, and it is a great opportunity for KCC to increase and enhance the stop smoking service offer for Kent residents and therefore improve outcomes.

 

Distributing funding on an individual basis with some via Key Decision and some managed operationally – The option for handling all funding activity on an individual basis, with certain projects managed at operational level and others progressing via the Key Decision process as and when required was considered. That option would not enable the council to respond quickly and flexibly to changing demand and need or provide a clear strategic plan for delivering against the Local Stop Smoking and Support Grant requirements.

 

How the proposed decision meets the priorities of New Models of Care and Support as set out in ‘‘Framing Kent’s Future – Our Council Strategy 2022 – 2026’’

 

Stop smoking services supports KCC to achieve the following priorities set out in the Councils Strategy 2022-2026 ‘Framing Kent’s Future’:

 

Priority 1: Levelling up Kent

 

  • To see significant improvements in the economy, connectivity, educational attainment, skills and employment rates and public health outcomes in deprived communities in coastal areas so that they improve faster than the rest of Kent to reduce the gaps

 

  • To work with our partners to hardwire a preventative approach into improving the health of Kent’s population and narrowing health inequalities.

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future

 

Stop smoking services supports KCC to achieve the priorities set out in Securing Kent Future, by preventing people from getting long term health conditions linked to smoking, which increase’s demand and costs in Health and Social Care.

 

Financial Implications

The table below shows the confirmed maximum amount of funding allocation for Kent.

 

Table 1: Kent Funding Allocation 2024/2025

 

 

Average 3- year smoking prevalence (2020 to 2022)

Estimated number of smokers (2021

populations)

Confirmed additional allocation 2024/2205

Kent County Council

13.14%

163,208

£1,944,823

 

The grant allocation will initially apply for the first year of the grant (the financial year 2024 to 2025).

 

The additional funding is anticipated to be provided over the next five financial years, until 2028-2029.

 

The government cannot provide specific allocations for 2025 to 2026 and beyond at this stage. Funding for subsequent years will be subject to spending review settlements, following the routine practice for all government expenditure. Authority has been delegated via the previous decision, for Officer agreement to accept any future funding allocations providing it is on similar terms.

 

Important to highlight that this funding is in addition to the Public Health Grant and therefore the Stop Smoking activity and spend for this programme does not create any additional pressure on KCC’s base budget.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Decision due date: Not before 22/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Notice of decision: 23/04/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


16/05/2024 - 24/00038 - Kent's 2024 Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)

Proposed decision

 

To APPROVE a BSIP initiative table for the period 2025-2029 for inclusion within Kent’s 2024 BSIP submission. The table details proposed initiatives across a range of focus areas (e.g. network, fares and ticketing, infrastructure) which could be delivered should additional external funding be awarded to KCC through the Government’s National Bus Strategy process.

 

Reason for the decision

 

-      Affects two or more Electoral Divisions

-      Involves potential expenditure of over £1m should funding be made available by Government to support the proposed 2025-29 initiative programme

 

Background

 

           In October 2021, Kent County Council (KCC) worked in conjunction with the county’s bus operators to submit a Kent Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) to Government. The original BSIP was written in response to the National Bus Strategy, which set out an ambitious vision for the recovery and subsequent growth of the bus industry across England.

 

           In April 2022 KCC learnt that its BSIP had been well received by Government and that it had been allocated £35.1m of funding to deliver some of the interventions identified within the plan. The first tranche of this funding totalling £18.9m was received in March 2023 and has been utilised to roll out an initiative programme across the 23/24 financial year - see Decision - 23/00027 - BSIP Tranche One. The second tranche of funding, totalling £16.2m for the delivery of initiatives in 24/25 is expected to be formally accepted and received in June 2024 and was subject to Decision - 23/00104 - BSIP Tranche Two

 

           In January 2024, Government set out new BSIP guidance for all Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) requiring the submission of a revised 2024 BSIP by 12th June 2024.

 

The 2024 BSIP must consist of three main elements, with requirements “a” and “b” involving factual updates only – i.e. covering factual information and initiatives already agreed and approved through previous BSIP related Council Decisions:

 

a)    Updating the baseline to 2023/24: updating the 2021 BSIP’s account of the current situation to reflect all developments since 2021, including evolution of the local bus market post-pandemic and its issues and opportunities & highlighting achievements made since 2021 through BSIP funding received to date.

 

b)    Setting out the delivery programme for financial year 2024/25: should BSIP Tranche 2 funding for 24/25 be formally awarded and accepted.

 

c)    A plan for 2025 and beyond, refreshing the plan’s ambition and setting out a pipeline of proposals for the four years 2025/26 – 2028/29, ready for delivery should external funding be made available from Government through the National Bus Strategy process.

 

          Like all LTAs, KCC must produce and submit its BSIP in order to secure the formal offer and release of its BSIP funding for 2024/25.

         

          The release of related BSIP+ funding is also subject to this submission.

 

Government have been clear that there is currently no funding available to support 25-29 BSIP programmes but have indicated that future funding decisions/ allocations may be based on the BSIPs submitted through this process by LTAs.

        

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

Option 1: To not produce a 2024 BSIP This has been rejected as failure to submit a       BSIP in line with Government requirements will result in the loss of tranche 2 BSIP funding for 24/25 and the release of BSIP+ funding which is vital for bus service support.

 

·     How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026: (https://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/strategies-and-policies/corporate-policies/our-council-strategy)

 

The decision supports Priority 2: Infrastructure for communities and the specific commitment to work with our partners through the Kent Enhanced Bus Partnership and with Government to explore sustainable and commercially viable options for providing bus transport to meet people’s needs, making the best use of Bus Service Improvement Plan funding.

 

How the proposed decision supports: Securing Kent’s Future:democracy.kent.gov.uk/documents/s121235/Securing Kents Future - Budget Recovery Strategy.pdf

 

The decision does not place any additional financial burden on KCC as all initiatives proposed within the 25-29 programme would be subject to external funding being made available by Government through the National Bus Strategy process. 

 

 

 

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision due date: Not before 05/06/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Dan Bruce

Notice of decision: 07/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


09/05/2024 - 24/00045 - KCC CLS Accountability Statement

Proposed decision:

 

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills to agree the Accountability Statement.

 

Reason for the decision:

 

The decision is required to meet DfE requirement for an Annual Accountability Statement, as part of the contractual annual Accountability Agreement.

 

Background:

 

Accountability Agreements were introduced by the DfE in the 2023 to 2024 academic year and consist of a 2-part document setting the overall expectations of providers (including local authorities delivering more than £1 million of post -16 provision) in return for funding. The agreement focusses on what colleges, designated institutions and local authorities deliver in the year ahead and how they intend to support local, regional, and national needs. These annual Statements should in all cases be informed by providers’ longer term strategic plans and ambitions and (for those institutions within scope) the actions and outcomes from the Local Needs Duty.

 

Part 1 of the agreement is the ‘accountability framework’. DfE are using it to set out National Skills Priorities as well as the essential terms and conditions that providers need to meet in return for funds. Part 1 identifies required levers to ensure the effective management and assurance of public funds, the protection of learners as well as requiring sound governance.

 

Part 2, the ‘annual Accountability Statement’ is a provider document that is owned by KCC/ CLS as the provider and should set out a small number of outcome targets for areas of curriculum that providers are planning to change for the coming year. These targets reflect contributions to priorities outlined in Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs), being led by Employer Representative Bodies (ERBs) working with employers, providers and local stakeholders including MCAs, local authorities, and other agencies and to National Skills Priorities listed below. Local authority learning organisations within scope should make reference to their tailored learning provision, particularly where this meets local skills needs.

 

Providers must submit their next annual Accountability Statement to the DfE by 30 June 2024.

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026 :

 

Implementing the proposals will contribute towards the following priorities:

 

Priority 1: LEVELLING UP KENT:

·   To support the Kent economy to be resilient and successfully adapt to the challenges and opportunities it faces over the coming years.

·   To work with partners to develop a skills system for Kent that delivers skills that are resilient to changing workforce needs and opportunities and supports people to higher level skills.

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future:

Implementing the proposals will contribute towards Objective 2 and Objective 3 of securing Kent’s future:

- the 2024-25 budget included the assumption ESFA funding would be used to support the continual delivery of CLS, not securing this funding would lead to a significant overspend whether the service is continued or not. Therefore, this is avoiding the significant negative financial impact of not accepting this funding. 

- The transformation of the service, in line with the accountability statement and in response to changes in Government priorities, will aim to return to self-funded model of delivery and financial sustainability in the longer term (recognising there may be a short-term pressure whilst this transformation takes place).

 

Financial Implications:

 

The annual accountability statement is required to secure the majority of the revenue funding needed to support the operation of Community Learning & Skills service (CLS, is also supplemented by fee income). This funding is also conditional on meeting additional criteria. CLS aims to be a self-funded service, with direct costs, funded from either the ESFA funding and supplementary fee income. The strategic aims of the ESFA funding is changing and will require the Council to consider changes in services provided which is expected to lead to a short term deficit, where costs will be higher than income received, as the service changes to meet the new requirements.    

 

The ESFA funding contracts covered by the accountability statement are the Adult Skills Fund, comprising Tailored learning and Adult Skills core, Free courses for jobs and the 16-19 Education contract. The annual value (indicative for 24/25) of these contracts is £ 9,520,878 and are broken down as follows:

 

·         Tailored Learning £6,705,376

·         Adult Skills Core £1,995,762

·         Free Courses for Jobs £90,296

·         16-19 Education £729,444

 

The tailored learning funding is a fixed grant which is intended to support the Council in delivering its agreed identified learning aims which are set in line with the ESFA strategic aims of the grant. The amount of funding received for the other funding categories is dependent on either the number of specific qualifications achieved by learners, or the number of learners taking part in specific courses.

 

In the case that the ESFA does not receive a suitably authorised accountability statement, funding will not be provided to KCC. The accountability statement constitutes a contractual obligation and as such the ESFA makes clear that failure to comply will result in payments being frozen.

 

Without this funding the service would either need to be funded by the Council’s general fund (i.e. council tax) or the service would need to cease.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 05/06/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Notice of decision: 07/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


08/05/2024 - 24/00049 - Adult Social Care Charging Policy - Higher Level Disability Benefits

Proposed decision

 

To stop disregarding the higher or enhanced rates of Attendance Allowance (AA), Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) when calculating a person’s contribution towards the cost of their care and support.

 

 

Reason for the decision

 

In line with the approved Budget Book, Kent County Council (KCC) is proposing to change its policy for charging for adult social care provided in a person’s own home or in the community. This means we are reviewing how much some people may have to pay towards the chargeable services that KCC provides or arranges, which include:

·         Care and support provided at home (for example homecare including supported living); and

·         Care and support provided in the community (for example daytime support).

 

This policy does not impact on people who live in and receive care and support in a residential care home.

 

We are proposing to stop disregarding the higher or enhanced rates of Attendance Allowance (AA), Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) when we calculate a person’s income (we already take into account the lower, middle or standard rates of these benefits).

 

This would mean that individuals in receipt of care who receive higher rate of these benefits would have more income taken into account in their financial assessment which would mean that they are likely to pay more for their care and support than they do currently.

 

We need to look at the amount of income we can generate by people contributing towards the cost of their own care. This is why we are proposing a change to the charging policy.

 

Background

 

KCC provide adult social care services to approximately 16,394 residents aged over 18 years old (data taken January 2024). Approximately 15,806 of these people receive chargeable social care services, this includes providing services like residential care and support and care in a person’s own home or in the community.

 

When people living in Kent need adult social care, as well as assessing their care needs, we also assess their income to decide how much they pay towards their care. This is known as means testing. Some people don’t pay anything, and the council picks up all of the cost, some people pay a contribution, and some people pay for all of their care (these people are known as full payers).

 

KCC sets out what and how people need to pay in the Adult Social Care Charging Policy.

 

KCC has already made substantial improvements and efficiencies to the way social care is delivered in Kent, alongside trying to limit the impact on the people that draw on care and support and help make the service sustainable.

 

Whilst KCC continues to strive to provide the best services we can, we continue to have the following growing pressures:

 

·         Significantly less government funding compared to nine years ago and we are expected to fund services through council tax contributions and income from other sources such as charging. The Revenue Support Grant (which includes adult social care as well as other council services) has reduced from £246.7m in 2013-14 (the first year of current funding arrangements) to £11.8m in 2024-25. There have been a number of separate social care grants which have been provided progressively since 2016-17 (not exclusively adult social care) which amount to £192.9m in 2024-25 but these grants have been provided in recognition of the pressures in social care and to fund improvements rather than replace the Revenue Support Grant reductions.

 

·         Increasing demand (an additional 1,152 people from March 2022-March 2023) for adult social care services, including people having complex care and support needs.

 

·         Significant annual increases in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) since 1999, which have impacted on the fees charged by care and other providers.

 

·         Continuing impact of inflation, which means we face growing pressures in the care market, including workforce challenges and rising costs for delivering care packages.

 

Options (other options considered but not taken forward)

 

Before deciding on the preferred proposal presented in the consultation, a number of options were considered:

Alternative option considered

Why the option has not been taken forward to consultation

Only apply the proposed change to people new to receiving care and support from KCC’s adult social care service from the date the new policy is implemented. This would mean that existing people receiving adult social care services would not have the higher or enhanced rates of disability benefits considered when KCC calculates a person’s income.

Whilst this would reduce the number of people impacted by the proposed change it would not be fair and equitable for all people who draw on care and support and does not reduce the current funding gap.

Introduce the policy in stages, no more than a £12 increase to anyone’s charge per year, for existing people who draw on care and support to give them time to adjust.

Whilst this would reduce the impact of the proposed change it does not reduce the current budget gap as quickly. This would also be quite challenging to administrate both manually and on the case management system.

An increase to the level of Disability Related Expenditure (DRE) for everyone from £17.00.

This would reduce the funding available for adult social care and increase the budget gap further and would be applied to all rather than just those who receive the higher and enhanced benefits.

Increase Minimum Income Guarantee for basic living expenses such as utility bills and food.

This would reduce the funding available for adult social care and increase the budget gap further.

Automatically review DRE for all individuals who could potentially be impacted.

This would have an incredibly significant impact on operational resources and would redirect resources away from frontline services.

Offer DRE assessments for all 3,784 individuals directly impacted.

This would reduce the funding available for adult social care and have a significant impact on operational resources.

Do nothing.

Due to the significant financial challenge being faced by KCC, if we do not raise additional income from this proposed change, then other options would need to be considered.

 

Our preferred proposal would reduce the funding gap for adult social care services in Kent in year. However, we recognise that these alternative options could help to lessen the impact on individuals.

 

How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent's Future - our council strategy 2022 to 2026

The proposed decision aligns with the ambitions set out in Framing Kent’s Future to place Kent on a sustainable footing for the medium and long term and also aligns with Objective 2 of Securing Kent’s Future to identify opportunities to set a sustainable budget and MTFP.

 

Financial Implications

 

The latest budget monitoring presented to Cabinet on 21 March 2024 shows £30m budget gap for 2023-24, of which £31.3m relates to the Adult Social Care and Health Directorate before management action and one-off use of reserves are considered. Members have agreed the immediate actions needed to reduce spending in the short term and have set the course for getting the council back to financial sustainability, securing the services that residents in Kent need the most.

 

Spending growth in KCC 2024-25 is £209.6m as stated in the 2024-25 budget. The net change to the budget is £113.9m (matched by funding increases through government grants, council tax, etc), leaving £95.7m savings which need to be found.

 

Of the above, the spending growth in Adult’s 2024-25 is £115.8m as stated in the 2024-25 budget. The net change to the budget is £61.7m (matched by funding increases through government grants, council tax, etc), leaving £54.1m in savings/additional income which needs to be found, of which this proposal is included within.

 

It has been estimated that the proposed change could raise approximately £3.5million. We would use this money to help reduce the funding gap so that we can continue to provide council services to those who need them. If this proposal is not implemented, then the income would need to be achieved elsewhere.

 

Equalities implications

 

An initial Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) has been completed and can be found on the consultation webpage: www.kent.gov.uk/adultsocialcarecharging or upon request. This is a live document and will continue to be reviewed and updated following the consultation.

 

Age, disability, sex, race and carer’s responsibilities have been identified as having potential for negative impact if we were to implement the proposed change.

 

We have taken the following information from two sets of data, these are:

·       Young people drawing on care and support aged from 18 to 25, who are moving from children’s social care into adults’ social care.

·       Adults aged 18 and over drawing on care and support from adult social care.

 

In the data for young people, there are 612 active individuals who receive care at home, in the community or have a direct payment that may be affected.

 

In the data for adults, there are potentially 9,011 individuals who receive care at home and in the community that may be affected.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Decision due date: Not before 06/06/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Cathi Sacco

Notice of decision: 08/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


07/05/2024 - 24/00033 - Coroners Removals and Transfer Service Contract

Proposed decision

 

  • To tender for the award of Contracts for the Coroners Removal and Transfer Service for the Kent and Medway coroners areas for an initial 3-year period, with an option to extend for up to 2 years;

·         Delegate authority to the Director of Growth & Communities in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision

·         Delegate authority to the Director of Growth & Communities in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services to Award Renewals of the current contracts in accordance with the current clauses within the contract for the period 00:00 on 22nd May 2024 to 23:59 on 31st December 2024 to accommodate the required procurement process

 

Reason for the decision

This decision is required to allow the KCC Coroners Service to put in place new Coroners Removals and Transfer Contracts, to allow it to meet its statutory responsibilities (as detailed in the background section below).

 

Background

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 places a duty on Coroners to investigate deaths that are referred to them if they have reason to think that: 

·                      The death was violent or unnatural. 

·                      The cause of death is unknown; or 

·                      The deceased died while in prison, police custody or another form of state detention e.g., where a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard Order (DoLS) is in place. 

 

When a death is reported to the coroner, he or she: 

·     establishes whether an investigation is required. 

·     if yes, investigates to establish the identity of the person who has died; how, when, and where they died, and any information to register the death; and 

·     uses information discovered during the investigation to assist in the prevention of other deaths where possible. 

 

In some cases, the coroner will order a Postmortem (PM) to establish the cause of death. On behalf of the Kent and Medway Senior Coroners, KCC ensures access to body storage and PM facilities across the four Kent and Medway coroner areas. When a PM is necessary there is a requirement that the deceased be transported to a designated mortuary. KCC puts contracts in place on behalf of the Kent and Medway Senior Coroners for such transportation with funeral service providers.

 

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

  • Direct Award of Coroners Removals and Transfer Service Contract – This approach is not compliant with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and would bring significant risk of legal challenge.  Lack of competition does not demonstrate compliance with the Council’s Best Value Statutory obligations.

 

  • Do Nothing –These Contracts support delivery of KCC’s statutory responsibilities with respect to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.  Suitable contractual arrangements are required to ensure security of supply and service rates.

 

  • Use of External Procurement Framework –There are no available Frameworks that can be used to procure these localised services.

 

Delivery of Transport Service in house – Discounted.  The Council has not provided an in-house transport service to date. The Service would require the availability of trained staff 24/7 365 days per year; detailed cost information would need to be established to understand the viability of this option.

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026

 

The proposed (Lotted) Contract structure minimises potential environmental impact of the transport element of this service (Priority 3, Environmental step change).

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future

 

Contract review work undertaken to date and plans for a competitive procurement process supports Objective 2 of Securing Kent’s Future (Delivering savings from identified opportunity areas to set a sustainable 2024/5 budget and MTFP).

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision due date: Not before 05/06/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Belinda Hooker

Notice of decision: 07/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


07/05/2024 - 24/00048 - Adult Social Care Charging Policy - Self Funding Arrangement Fee

Proposed decision

To introduce a one-off Self-Funding Arrangement Fee for new self-funders.

 

Reason for the decision

 

Kent County Council (KCC) is proposing to introduce a one-off Self-Funding Arrangement Set up Fee for new self-funders. This fee would be in addition to the existing annual Arrangement Fee.

 

Background

 

KCC provides adult social care services to approximately 16,394 residents aged over 18 years old (data taken January 2024). Approximately 15,806 of these people receive chargeable social care services, this includes providing services like residential care and support and care in a person’s own home or in the community.

 

When people living in Kent need adult social care, as well as assessing their care needs, we also assess their income to decide how much they pay towards their care. This is known as means testing. Some people do not need to contribute towards their care, some pay a contribution, and there are people that pay for all of their care (these people are known as full payers).

 

If the person has more than £23,250 in savings and other capital (not including the value of their main or only home) they must pay the full cost of their care and support. Self-funders can choose to arrange their care themselves or ask the council to do it on their behalf.

 

Where KCC makes arrangements for self-funders’ care the Care Act 2014 enables us to charge an “Arrangement Fee” to cover the cost to the council for doing this work. This only applies to non-residential care and support and only for certain categories of people who would pay the full cost of their care and support. KCC currently charges self-funders an annual Arrangement Fee (paid weekly). 

 

Options (other options considered but not taken forward)

 

Before deciding on the preferred proposal presented in the consultation, a number of options were considered:

Alternative/additional option considered

Why the option has not been taken forward to consultation

Increase the weekly Arrangement Fee only (no new initial set-up fee)

The majority of the work is the initial set up of care and support arrangements by KCC, which is reflected in the proposed one-off set-up fee.

Despite current self-funders not having had to pay a set-up fee it was felt that it would be unreasonable to increase the cost of the weekly fee to cover work that had taken place in the past and unfair to include a one-off cost in an annual fee.

Introduce a fee for changing provider

The review of other councils showed some had introduced a fee for changing provider. Changing a provider adds additional work and costs in making changes to care and support arrangements.

This option was considered as part of the review, but due to the complexities in applying this fee, it was agreed not to progress this further.

Do nothing

Due to the significant financial challenge being faced by KCC, we need to ensure we make the best use of our resources. By introducing the proposed initial set-up fee, we will cover the costs associated with supporting new self-funders. If we continue to not fully cover these costs, then other options will need to be considered.

 

How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent's Future - our council strategy for 2022 to 2026

 

The proposed decision aligns with the ambitions set out in Framing Kent’s Future to place Kent on a sustainable footing for the medium and long term and also aligns with Objective 2 of Securing Kent’s Future to identify opportunities to set a sustainable budget and MTFP.

 

 

Financial Implications

 

The latest budget monitoring presented to Cabinet on 21 March 2024 shows £30m budget gap for 2023-24, of which £31.3m relates to the ASCH directorate before management action and one-off use of reserves are considered. Members have agreed the immediate actions needed to reduce spending in the short term and have set the course for getting the council back to financial sustainability, securing the services that residents in Kent need the most.

 

Spending growth in KCC 2024-25 is £209.6m as stated in the 2024-25 budget. The net change to the budget is £113.9m (matched by funding increases through government grants, council tax, etc), leaving £95.7m savings which need to be found.

 

Of the above, the spending growth in Adult’s 2024-25 is £115.8m as stated in the 2024-25 budget. The net change to the budget is £61.7m (matched by funding increases through government grants, council tax, etc), leaving £54.1m in savings/additional income which needs to be found, of which this proposal is included within.

 

The proposed one-off arrangement fee would be for all new self-funders only. In 2023 there were 400 new self-funders. Based on this figure, it has been estimated that the proposed change could raise approximately £140,800 a year. We would use this money to help increase income so that we can continue to provide council services to those who need them.

 

Equalities implications

 

An initial Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) has been completed to help us to understand how this proposal could impact on people due to their protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation) and those with carer’s responsibilities. The full EqIA can be found on the consultation webpage: www.kent.gov.uk/adultsocialcarecharging or upon request. This is a live document and will continue to be reviewed and updated following the consultation.

 

Whilst the proposed policy change does not actively promote equal opportunities, KCC uses the financial contributions that people make to ensure we are able to continue to help as many people as possible with the limited resources that are available. This proposed change would contribute to our objective of protecting front line services and continuing to provide the level of care and support needed by people in Kent.

 

Age, disability, sex, race and carer’s responsibilities have been identified as having potential for negative impact if we were to implement the proposed change.

 

The EqIA has identified that the highest proportion of self-funders currently paying the Arrangement Fee are older people aged 61 to 101 and females.

 

There are specific health and economic inequalities that need to be considered in terms of the impact of raising charges for social care. People from ethnic minorities are more likely to suffer from underlying health conditions. Therefore, new self-funders from ethnic minorities could be more negatively impacted by this proposal.

 

Some people may not want to pay the proposed Self-Funding Assessment Set up Fee and may choose to put their own arrangements in place. This may not be of the same quality of care organised by the council. Alternatively, those impacted may decide not to access the right levels of care and support or may decide to not access care and support at all. As a result, any carer may be required to provide more unpaid care, thereby affecting their economic, social and emotional wellbeing. This might also result in an increased need for support from other KCC services and an increase in safeguarding concerns due to carer breakdown.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Decision due date: Not before 05/06/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Cathi Sacco

Notice of decision: 07/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


07/05/2024 - 24/00047 - Services provided by The Education People

Proposed decision

 

To reduce the value of the core contract with The Education People in 2024/25 by £0.9m through changes to the service specification.

 

 

Reason for the decision

 

As part of KCC’s budget setting process discussions have taken place with TEP’s leadership to assess areas of efficiency.  Proposals for £0.9m of savings in 2024-25 have been received. 

 

It is expected that through further efficiency work with TEP, savings of £300k will be achieved in 2025/26.  Any delivered saving in excess of the £900k in 2024/25 will help towards the £300k in 2025/26.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

The alternative to reducing the value of the TEP contract by £0.9m is to secure savings elsewhere in the Education Service budget.  Delivery of the MTFP savings (£1.2m in 2024/25) requires action in addition to the proposals in this paper.  The proposals represent a fair balance as to where savings are being made.

 

It is feasible to consider finding different savings from within the TEP contract to those included in the proposals.  However, the proposals offer savings which best align with the Council’s statutory duties, from areas where activity levels have changed, areas where responsibility for funding these should rightly fall to other parties, and areas which are believed to add least value. 

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 05/06/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: David Adams

Notice of decision: 07/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Fully exempt  - view reasons


01/05/2024 - 24/00041 - Proposed expenditure of Blean Primary School Modular Replacement Project exceeding £1m within the Modernisation Programme

Proposed decision

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is asked to:

 

a)       Approve the allocation of £1,440,000 from the Children’s, Young People and Education Modernisation Programme Capital Budget to permit the required works for the modular replacement.

 

b)       Delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure to, in consultation with the Director of Education, enter into any necessary contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement this decision; and

 

c)       Agree for the Director of Infrastructure to be the nominated Authority Representative within the relevant agreements, with authority to enter variations as envisaged under the contracts.

 

Reason for the decision

Kent County Council (KCC), as the relevant Local Authority, is responsible for the maintenance of Community and Voluntary Controlled school buildings in Kent. This responsibility is taken seriously, with continuous maintenance and modernisation programmes in place to ensure that the school estate is fit for purpose. Included within these programmes are routine building checks that identify possible future maintenance issues with accommodation.

 

Blean Primary School currently has 2 modular buildings which are severely dilapidated and have reached the end of their economic lifespan and both require replacement.  For economies of scale and to suit operation of the school, it is proposed both separate units are being replaced with one new teaching block.

 

Financial Implications

 

The combined cost is estimated at £1,440,000 which is inclusive of works, fees and contingency.

 

The cost for instructing the winning tender is as follows.

 

Proposed Tender Costs: £1,063,900.00

Professional Fees: £159,352.00

KCC Contingency: Allowance £216,748

 

Total Forecast Project = £1,440,000

 

All costs are expected to be capital costs only. This is proposed to be funded from the Schools Modernisation Programme Capital Budget and £1.4m was included as part of the capital budget agreed by the County Council in February 2024. There are no revenue costs expected. 

 

Legal Implications  

KCC, as the Local Authority (LA), has a statutory duty to ensure sufficient school places are available. This duty applies to Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision, as well as mainstream settings. The County Council’s Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent 2024 - 28 is a five-year rolling plan which is updated annually. It sets out KCC’s future plans as Strategic Commissioner of Education Provision across all types and phases of education in Kent.

 

KCC has a statutory duty to provide a compliant standard of safety and comfort to staff, children and visitors to the school. KCC also have a statutory duty to provide school places and the implications of not undertaking this work will lead to further deterioration, and ultimately failure which could result in temporary school closure.             

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: Canterbury North;

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


01/05/2024 - 24/00040 - Proposal to add and eight classroom block with four finished classrooms at Whitfield Aspen Primary School (Richmond Way site)

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is asked to:

 

(i).      Approve the allocation of up to £2,800,000 of capital funding from the CYPE capital budget to add an eight classroom block at Whitfield Aspen Primary School (Richmond Way site);

(ii).      Delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure in consultation with the Director of Education to enter into any necessary contracts or other legal agreements as required to implement this decision; and

(ii).      Authorise the Director of Infrastructure to be the nominated Authority Representative within the relevant agreements and to enter into variations as envisaged under the contracts.

 

Background

Whitfield Aspen Primary School is a 3FE primary School with a large Specialist Resourced Provision (SRP) for pupils with profound, severe and complex needs. 

 

In 2018 the school was expanded by 1FE (to 3FE) via a second site (Richmond Way) to support the need for additional primary school places within the Whitfield Urban Expansion (WUE).

Decisions for issue 16/00032 - Proposal to expand Whitfield Aspen School by 1FE across a split site (kent.gov.uk)

 

Expansion of the school has been phased. Phase one delivered the core infrastructure required by a 2FE school (library, offices, meeting rooms, food technology etc). Sufficient classroom accommodation was provided to enable the school to grow year on year to 3FE in the mainstream and to offer 112 places in the SRP, the maximum number of specialist places that was required. Phase two was planned to be the addition of a two-storey block of eight additional mainstream classrooms.  This was to be added when 4FE of mainstream provision was required. 

 

The rise in EHCPs and the need for specialist primary provision in Dover over a number of years has led to more pupils requiring a place in the SRP then was initially planned. As of January 2024, there were 175 pupils on roll in the SRP across both sites.  As noted, the current accommodation (across both school sites) was built to provide for 112 SRP pupils.  Having to accommodate c63 additional pupils in the SRP has reduced the number of mainstream classrooms available.  At an average of 12 pupils per SRP class base it means 5 of the additional mainstream classrooms are being utilised by the SRP. As things stand, four of these classrooms will be required from September 2025 to enable the school to continue to admit 3FE of mainstream pupils as they are required to do.

 

Financial Implications

Capital:

The proposal has been reviewed by a Quantity Surveyor. The capital cost is estimated to be an ‘upper cost’ of c£2,800,000. The standalone four class option has been costed at £2,250,000 (upper cost) therefore it is considered reasonable for this value to be funded by the High Needs Capital Budget, with the remaining £550,000 coming from the Basic Need Budget to fund the shell of the four first floor classrooms. The future fit out costs for the four classrooms (£800,000 at the upper cost) would be subject to a separate proposal when required.

 

The Schools’ Capital Budget agreed by the Council in February 2024, included a provisional allocation of up to £6m basic need funding to support the expansion of the school from 3 to 4FE. The basic need and high needs capital programme budgets will be updated to reflect the changes outlined in this paper. The Department of Education have recently confirmed additional high needs capital allocations for 2024-25. This funding will be used to fund the £2.2m additional high needs commitment. The resulting savings from the Basic Need element of the programme will be reallocated or held as a contingency.

 

In addition, a standard payment of £2,500 is provided to a school for each new classroom for ICT equipment. This will funded from the allocated capital budget.

 

Revenue: 

There are no expected revenue costs to be funded from the Council’s general fund (such as temporary mobiles). The Dedicated Schools Grant Growth fund, ring-fenced grant from the Department of Education, will be used for the £6,000 classroom set up contribution for each of the four fitted out classrooms.

 

Should the scheme not proceed through to completion, any costs incurred at the time of cessation would become abortive costs and are likely to be recharged to Revenue. This would be reported through the regular financial monitoring reports to Cabinet.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: Dover West;

Lead officer: Debra Davidson

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


01/05/2024 - 24/00039 - Modernisation project - replace temporary classrooms and hall at Langdon Primary School, Dover

Proposed decision:

 

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is asked to:

 

(i).      Approve the allocation of £1,430,000 capital funding from the Children’s, Young People and Education modernisation capital budget to replace the modular classroom and wooden hall/classroom at Langdon Primary School;

(ii).      Delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure in consultation with the Director of Education to enter into any necessary contracts or other legal agreements as required to implement this decision; and

(iii).     Authorise the Director of Infrastructure to be the nominated Authority Representative within the relevant agreements and to enter into variations as envisaged under the contracts.

 

Background

Langdon Primary School is a small primary school in Dover District with a PAN of 15. It is a popular school which serves a rural community.  For September 2024, there 36 preferences in total with 14 places allocated.  We would expect the Yr. R to be full for September 2024.

 

Two classrooms are in the main school building, two are in modular/wooden buildings.  The modular/wooden buildings have reached the end of their usable life.

 

Despite the school maintaining both buildings, the condition surveys undertaken by KCC and the Department of Education in 2021 and 2022 respectively confirm that these need to be replaced. Further maintenance is not an option.  Accordingly, replacement of the buildings has been added to the Modernisation Programme for the 2023-24 academic year. 

 

Feasibility studies have explored options to replace the current buildings with either a traditional brick build or a modular build.  Replacing the buildings with a bespoke modular solution has been identified as the is the most straightforward and economically viable solution. 

 

Financial Implications

Capital: The proposed works have been taken to RIBA stage 3 and are estimated at £1,430,000. Planning permission has been granted and all surveys have been completed. The proposal was first recognised and added to the Modernisation Programme for the 2023-24 academic year, and as a result this sum has been included within the modernisation school capital programme that was recently agreed by the Council as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan for 2024-27. 

 

Revenue:  A total of £70,000 revenue funding is required to provide one temporary mobile classroom for the duration of the building works. This was not known at the time of setting the 2024-25 revenue budget and so will be reported as an unfunded pressure on the revenue budget in the Cabinet financial monitoring report during 2024-25. The Directorate are looking at ways they may be able to offset this unplanned spend with other possible underspends either within the mobile budget or within the wider Education budget

 

Should the scheme not proceed through to completion, any costs incurred at the time of cessation would become abortive costs and are likely to be recharged to Revenue. This would be reported through the regular financial monitoring reports to Cabinet.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: Dover North;

Lead officer: Debra Davidson

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


01/05/2024 - 24/00043 - Road Asset Renewal Contract

Proposed decision:

 

APPROVE the procurement and contract award of a zero value Road Asset Renewal contract;

 

DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, to take relevant actions to facilitate the required procurement activity;

DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision; and

 

DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to award extensions of the contract in accordance with the extension clauses within the contract (5 years + up to 5 years extension).

 

Reason:

 

Our 5,400 road network in Kent has a replacement value of £10.2 billion. It plays a vital part in delivering council objectives set out in Framing Kent’s Future by enabling safe and reliable journeys around and through the county. Our roads support social wellbeing and economic prosperity. They are essential for emergency services to execute their work: policing, healthcare, fire, and emergency response provision all require an effective highway network. These services are a key part of a functioning society which cannot exist without well-maintained and well-managed roads.

 

Our current approach to road maintenance is set out in our Highways Asset Management Plan for 2021/22 to 2025/26 (HAMP) which was formally adopted and published in July 2021. The majority of road spend is on planned data-driven maintenance to prevent potholes and surface defects occurring in the first place, a key principle of asset management.  This includes £20-25m per annum being spent on road asset renewal.

 

The current contract with GW Highways that delivers this work expires in December 2024 and cannot be extended. To deliver this service from 2025, to fulfil KCC’s duties under the Highways Act 1980, KCC requires a new road asset renewals contract.

 

A report is to be presented to the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on 21 May 2024 to detail the procurement process for the provision of this service through a single multi-year contract.

 

Options:

 

That KCC commissions a single supplier contract to provide road asset renewal services for an initial period of five years with extensions up to a further five years.

 

Do nothing.

We have ruled out other approaches as they would not achieve the right conditions to maximise best value whilst maintaining quality standards.  They would also not encourage and maximise materials innovation and cost effective investment in plant and equipment to contribute to carbon reduction.

Financial Implications:

There are no financial risks to the Council from developing this zero-value contract, as the Council is only required to pay for work after it has been delivered.  There is also no guarantee of work under the proposed contract.

 

The anticipate expenditure over the initial five year period may be in the region of £20-25m per annum, based on the historic spend through the current contract. Should the extension period of up to five years be taken (ten years in total), we estimate a similar level of expenditure continuing, though there is uncertainty around government capital grants moving forwards.  Road maintenance works are funded through a combination of those DfT grants and KCC capital borrowing.

 

In establishing the zero value contract, Kent County Council does not commit in any way to awarding any volume or value of works to the appointed contractor. This will allow flexibility where services required may be affected by KCC budgetary pressures and uncertainty around internal and external funding.

 

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Alan Casson

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


01/05/2024 - 24/00037 - MTW (Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust) – 12-month Partnership Extension

Proposed decision

 

The proposed decision is to extend the current MTW (Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust) partnership contract that is due to expire 31st March 2025 (for a period of 12 months to 31st March 2026), to support the work across the Public Health Transformation programme.

 

Reason for the decision

 

Public Health are undertaking a comprehensive review of Public Health funded services as part of a transformation programme. The programme of work is complex and some of the contracts expire at the same time because they form part of a partnership with MTW (Maidstone and  Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust). The services delivered by MTW are highly specialised and there is a limited market of alternative providers.

 

The proposal is to extend the KCHFT partnership so that the transformation work can continue, in a way that does not de-stabilise, service delivery, workforce and minimises the impact to staff, residents and providers. It also allows time for interdependencies and joint commissioning to be fully considered.

 

 

Background

 

The purpose of the Public Health Transformation programme is to improve future services, with the following aims: -

1)    Delivering best value and to spend the Public Grant in a way that delivers the biggest impact.

2)    Improving services for Kent residents, targeting people who need services the most, with services being informed by evidence, joined up and aligned internally and with other related services.

3)    Ensuring that services are fit for the future, sustainable and responsive to need
This includes managing changes in demand, ensuring provider capacity and capability, being insights led, responding to societal changing trends and utilising new technology. Focusing on prevention, reducing health inequalities.

 

Services that are in-scope are funded through the ring-fenced Public Health grant (and do not draw on KCC core funding). 

The transformation programme brings many opportunities for example, changing suppliers (on some services this may produce a saving), consideration of bringing services in house, aligning commissioning with external organisations, changing delivery model and delivering potential savings by operating services differently.

 

MTW entered into a Co-Operation Agreement with Kent County Council on 3rd May 2019 and this agreement expires on 31st March 2025.

 

MTW provide KCC with West Kent sexual health services, HIV services and online sexual health testing across the county.

The MTW partnership was put in place in 2019 and has supported the delivery of a number of shared objectives such as; influencing public health systems, reducing health inequalities, delivering innovation and improving efficiency. The partnership has enabled the successful management of significant challenges including financial pressures. It has supported stability for the workforce, in turn delivering high quality services across Kent.

 

The transformation programme is complex, with many interdependencies such as ICB recommissioning, Family Hubs funding, OHID grants, as well as cross-cutting themes that are common across services, such as workforce training, quality and property.


Significant care is needed maintain statutory services delivered to Kent residents, to ensure that the workforce is not destabilised and to manage internal and external staffing resources associated with the contractual partnership changes.

 

The recommendation is to put in place a twelve-month extension for the partnership.

 

The benefits of taking this approach are that the work will progress where it is possible to progress quickly, but where there are details still to be worked through, due time and consideration are given.

This approach will also ensure that Public Health and Integrated Commissioning teams have the capacity to deliver the large-scale transformation and that due diligence is taken in relation to the new Healthcare procurement legislation (see legal section). 

 

A partnership extension would help to:

  • Minimise risk of destabilising the workforce; these are specialist roles and as the end of the contract approaches staff may choose to move organisation. The change of service model and/or supplier needs to be carefully managed.
  • Maximise interdependencies – this is a complex programme with many interdependencies and sufficient time is needed to explore and consider these in full. For example, HIV commissioning which is currently part of this service but funded by NHSE (NHS England) and due to transfer to the ICB (NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board).
  • Allow time to balance resources of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning staff in KCC across a number of recommissioning programmes.
  • Develop comprehensive business cases for alternative and financially costed service models.
  • Develop understanding and application of new procurement legislation by taking a stagged approach across the transformation.
  • Build further insights (both service user insights and insights with underserved communities who do not currently access services, but may benefit from accessing services)
  • Build engagement with existing providers and other providers in the market and help to shape commissioning models.

 

Performance and quality of the services delivered by MTW are currently good, with the provider meeting set targets (targets that are regularly reviewed).

 

Sexual Health services provide good return on investment (ROI), with LARC (Long Acting Reversible Contraception) providing £13:£1 ROI and Online STI services delivering a £2.5:£1 ROI. [1]

 

During the extension year, all parties will remain committed to delivering efficiencies and financial savings, in line with current terms to ensure best value. KCC will continue to closely monitor expenditure alongside quality and performance. 

 

The proposed twelve-month MTW partnership extension will include contract break clauses.

 

Any service changes / updates required prior to the next partnership agreement decision would need to be managed via new decisions.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

The alternative options, considered but disregarded include: -

 

Option 1 - Re-procuring services and putting in place new contracts for 1st April 2025. This option has been dis-regarded because there would be little time and officer capacity to ensure services offer the best value and will not allow time to explore alternative service delivery models. With the extension, the service and the workforce will, as a result, not be de-stabilised and service quality will not be compromised.

Option 2 – Contracting outside of the partnership This option is not considered suitable in the short-term as the partnership offers Kent, high quality, stable services within a financial envelop that offers value for money, operating within a partnership. The risk of discontinuing these services in the partnership, at this time, could have an adverse impact on the provider, their workforces and quality.

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supporting KCC’s Strategy

Securing Kent’s Future

This approach aligns with Securing Kent’s Future and the council’s Best Value statutory responsibility.

Public Health services are preventative services with evidence of good Return on Investment. The services also ensure that we support reductions in demand into other KCC services and across the health system.

Extending the two (MTW and KCHFT) current partnerships for twelve months, ensures that transformation can take place in a way that minimises potential risks (and associated costs) and takes advantage of future service options that will provide the best value for Kent and its residents.  It supports the following objectives: -

 

Objective 4 – Further transforming the operating model of the Council

 

The transformation programme offers the opportunity to review Public Health services and to ensure services are efficient, offer best value and are sustainable.

 

Framing Kent’s Future
The Transformation Programme aligns with KCC’s ‘Framing Kent’s Future’ and in particular: -

 

Levelling up Kent – Public Health services will remain focused on reducing health inequalities across the county and where needed most.

New models of Care and Support – the Public Health transformation programme will review existing services and ensure they are efficient and sustainable.

 

The transformation programme also supports the NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board.

Procurement legislation

Integrated Commissioning have sought internal and external legal advice on the matter of extending the partnership due to the new and untested nature of the new PSR procurement regulations. The advice received is detailed below.

On the basis that the main subject matter of the KCHFT agreement is healthcare services, and providing that the agreement was entered into pursuant to regulation 12(7) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR), the agreement falls to be treated as an agreement for healthcare services for the purposes of the Health Care Services (Provider Selection Regime) Regulations 2023 (“PSR”).

 

The PSR regulations provide a few grounds for making a contract modification without having to follow a new PSR procurement process.

 

Depending on the confirmation of the contract values involved, Regulation 13(1)(d) of the PSR provides a ground to rely upon for the agreement to be extended provided that the terms of the extension would not render the contract materially different in character and the cumulative change in the lifetime value of the contract since it was entered into or concluded would be less than 25% of the lifetime value of the original contract when it was entered into or concluded.

 

It should be noted that if relying upon this ground, the Council must submit a notice of the modification for publication on the UK e-notification service in relation to the agreement, within 30 days of the modification as the extension is worth more than £500,000.

 



[1] Kent Public Health Observatory 2023, based on national evidence.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Vicky Tovey

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024


01/05/2024 - 24/00036 - KCHFT (Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust) (twelve-month) partnership extension

Proposed decision

The proposed decision is to extend the current KCHFT (Kent Community Health Foundation Trust) partnership contract that is due to expire 31st March 2025 (for a period of 12 months to 31st March 2026), to support the work across the Public Health Transformation programme.

Reason for the decision

 

Public Health are undertaking a comprehensive review of Public Health funded services as part of a transformation programme. The programme of work is complex and many of the contracts expire at the same time. This is because they form part of a partnership with Kent Community Health Foundation Trust (KCHFT).

 

The proposal is to extend the KCHFT partnership so that the transformation work can continue, in a way that does not de-stabilise, service delivery, workforce and minimises the impact to staff, residents and providers. It also allows time for interdependencies and joint commissioning to be fully considered.

Background

 

The purpose of the Public Health Transformation programme is to improve future services, with the following aims: 

-       Delivering best value and to spend the Public Health Grant in a way that delivers the biggest impact.

-       Improving services for Kent residents, targeting people who need services the most, with services being informed by evidence, joined up and aligned internally and with other related services.

-       Ensuring that services are fit for the future, sustainable and responsive to need. This includes managing changes in demand, ensuring provider capacity and capability, being insights led, responding to societal changing trends and utilising new technology. Focusing on prevention, reducing health inequalities.

 

The programme is reviewing twenty-one Public Health funded service areas simultaneously to help explore options for integration, efficiency and maximising impact. Many of the services in the review expire at the same time as they form part of an overarching partnership contract with Kent Community Health Foundation Trust. This includes many mandated services such as health visiting and sexual health. The partnership was put in place in March 2017[1] and has supported the delivery of a number of shared objectives such as; influencing public health systems, reducing health inequalities, delivering innovation and improving efficiency.

Performance and quality of service delivery during the partnership has been very good, with KCHFT consistently meeting set targets (targets that are regularly reviewed). Many of the services delivered by KCHFT are specialised services.

 

The recommendation is to put in place a twelve-month extension for the partnership to support the delivery of the transformation programme.

 

A partnership extension would help to:

  • Minimise risk of destabilising the workforce; these are specialist roles and as the end of the contract approaches staff may choose to move organisation. The change of service model and/or supplier needs to be carefully managed.
  • Maximise interdependencies – this is a complex programme with many interdependencies and sufficient time is needed to explore and consider these in full. For example, HIV commissioning which is currently part of this service but funded by NHSE (NHS England) and due to transfer to the ICB (NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board).
  • Allow time to balance resources of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning staff in KCC across a number of recommissioning programmes.
  • Develop comprehensive business cases for alternative and financially costed service models.
  • Develop understanding and application of new procurement legislation by taking a stagged approach across the transformation.
  • Build further insights (both service user insights and insights with underserved communities who do not currently access services, but may benefit from accessing services)
  • Build engagement with existing providers and other providers in the market and help to shape commissioning models.

 

The partnership extension would help ensure service stability, whilst fully exploring alternative service delivery options and putting new contracts in place. During the transformation work, some services would not use the full twelve-month extension. New, staggered contract start dates would be put in place for services. Some services (substance misuse) are likely to start new contracts in January 2025, because there is little change in delivery and greater clarity on model. Other services may start new contracts later in the year, because they want to align with external commissioning opportunities or because there are opportunities to deliver the services differently by competitive procurement or insourcing.

Any substantive service change or updates required prior to the next partnership agreement decision would be managed via fresh decisions. 

 

The proposed twelve-month partnership extension would include contract break clauses.

 

All parties will remain committed to delivering efficiencies and financial savings in the extension year in line with current terms to ensure best value. KCC will closely monitor expenditure alongside performance. 

 

It is important during the Public Health Transformation programme review, not to de-stabilise the existing supplier, KCHFT. KCHFT delivers a number of services for both KCC and the Kent and Medway ICB (Integrated Care Board), therefore it is important for KCC and the wider health system to ensure this supplier and any potential change, is managed carefully in order to not disrupt KCC’s services and also services provided by KCHFT for the ICB. There is an extremely limited choice of alternative providers in the market.

 

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

The alternative options, considered but disregarded include: -

 

1)    Option 1 - Re-procuring services and putting in place new contracts for 1st April 2025. This option has been dis-regarded because there would be little time and officer capacity to ensure services offer the best value and will not allow time to explore alternative service delivery models. With the extension, the service and the workforce will, as a result, not be de-stabilised and service quality will not be compromised.

2)    Option 2 – Contracting outside of the partnership This option is not considered suitable in the short-term as the partnership offers Kent, high quality, stable services within a financial envelop that offers value for money, operating within a partnership. The risk of discontinuing these services in the partnership, at this time, could have an adverse impact on the provider, their workforces and quality.

 

 

Supporting KCC’s Strategy

Securing Kent’s Future

This approach aligns with Securing Kent’s Future and the council’s Best Value Statutory responsibility.

Public Health services are preventative services with evidence of good Return on Investment and can help. reduce demand into other KCC services and across the health system.

Extending the two current partnerships for twelve months, ensures that transformation can take place in a way that minimises potential risks (and associated costs) and takes advantage of future service options that will provide the best value for Kent and its residents.  It supports the following objectives: -

 

Objective 4 – Further transforming the operating model of the Council

 

The transformation programme offers the opportunity to review Public Health services and to ensure services are efficient, offer best value and are sustainable.

 

 

Framing Kent’s Future
The Transformation Programme aligns with KCC’s ‘Framing Kent’s Future’ and in particular: -

 

Levelling up Kent – Public Health services will remain focused on reducing health inequalities across the county and where needed most.

New models of Care and Support – the Public Health transformation programme will review existing services and ensure they are efficient and sustainable.

 

The transformation programme also supports the NHS Kent and Medway  Integrated Care Board.

 

Procurement legislation

Integrated Commissioning have sought internal and external legal advice on the matter of extending the partnership due to the new and untested nature of the new PSR procurement regulations. The advice received is detailed below.

On the basis that the main subject matter of the KCHFT agreement is healthcare services, and providing that the agreement was entered into pursuant to regulation 12(7) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR), the agreement falls to be treated as an agreement for healthcare services for the purposes of the Health Care Services (Provider Selection Regime) Regulations 2023 (“PSR”).

 

The PSR regulations provide a few grounds for making a contract modification without having to follow a new PSR procurement process. Depending on the confirmation of the contract values involved, Regulation 13(1)(d) of the PSR provides a ground to rely upon for the agreement to be extended provided that the terms of the extension would not render the contract materially different in character and the cumulative change in the lifetime value of the contract since it was entered into or concluded would be less than 25% of the lifetime value of the original contract when it was entered into or concluded.

 

It should be noted that if relying upon this ground, the Council must submit a notice of the modification for publication on the UK e-notification service in relation to the agreement, within 30 days of the modification as the extension is worth more than £500,000.

 

 



Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Decision due date: Not before 30/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Vicky Tovey

Notice of decision: 01/05/2024


23/04/2024 - 24/00027 - Specialist Nursery Intervention Service Level Agreement Extension

Proposed decision

 

That the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services, approve the  extension of the existing Service Level Agreements for Specialist Nursery Intervention for one year from 1 September 2024 to 31 August 2025.

 

Reason for the decision

 

This decision brings forward an element of the Early Years Review, presented to CYPE Cabinet Committee in January 2024, specifically the decision to extend the existing Specialist Nursery Intervention Service Level Agreements for one year.

 

A proposal to implement a refreshed model of Specialist Nursery Intervention (SNI) is currently out for consultation as part of the Early Years Education in Kent public consultation. The consultation will close on 5 May 2024 and the findings, along with recommendations for a refreshed model of support for early years education in Kent will be presented to Children, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee in July 2024.

 

The current Specialist Nursery Intervention Service Level Agreements (SLA) expire 31 August 2024. An extension of the existing SLAs for one academic year (from 1 September 2024 to 31 August 2025) is required toensure continuity of support and minimise disruption to children, their families and the settings that support them while any potential change to the model, determined by the outcomes of theagreed following the public consultation, can be implemented for 1 September 2025.

 

The decision is being brought forward to ensure that special schools currently providing the service have sufficient time to consider and agree the extension.

 

Background

 

The Specialist Nursery Intervention focuses on the identification and assessment of young children, aged five years and below, with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND).  The current specialist nursery intervention service is commissioned from 11 special schools across the county through a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that expires 31 August 2024.

 

Children can access the service through four different pathways. The predominant pathway will see children attending the specialist nursery setting on average for nine hours a week for two terms, whilst also attending their existing mainstream setting. This equates to three, three-hour sessions a week (or average nine hours in total per week). This can be extended if required.  There are three intakes a year. If children are referred and accepted, they will typically have to wait until the start of the next term to attend. 

 

The proposal outlined in the consultation is that the Specialist Nursery Intervention will continue to work with individual children but will provide support directly to children in their mainstream settings without the need for the child to attend a special school setting, as is (predominantly) the current model. This will support children to develop skills within their mainstream setting and build confidence within that setting to support them. Specialist nursery places will still be available for children to go to who need specialist support for a prolonged time, but the process for agreeing these placements will change and will be determined by a multi-agency team who work with and understand the needs of the child.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

 

Two further options were considered in relation to the proposal to extend the current SLAs for one academic year.

 

These were:

·   Do not extend the SLAs

·   Submit the proposal to extend the SLAs in July 2024 alongside the outcomes of the public consultation.

 

The option to not extend the SLAs was considered and ruled out for the following reasons:

·    negative impact on children and their families of ending the service. 

·   the need to have a service in place as an interim measure while a refreshed model is implemented, supporting continuity of support for children and their families.

·    ending the SLAs a year before a potential new model is implemented would result in loss of staff and the associated skills, knowledge and experience.

·   ending the SLAs would mean that if a refreshed model is agreed a new process would need to be undertaken to identify new providers, who would then need to recruit staff and mobilise the new service – creating a delay in implementation of any refreshed model.

 

The option to submit the proposal to extend the SLAs in July 2024 alongside the outcomes of the public consultation was considered and ruled out. The two primary reasons for this are:

  • referrals for a new intake of children into the service for term one of 2024-2025 academic year begin end May 2024. Delaying the decision to extend the SLA until July would impede this process creating uncertainty for children, their families and the nurseries themselves.
  • The governing bodies of schools holding the SLA will need sufficient time to consider and agree signing the extension. Headteachers of these schools have told us that the time between when a decision taken in July could be implemented and when the school term ends, does not leave enough time for this process to be completed. 

 

How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026

 

The proposal to implement a refreshed model of Specialist Nursery Intervention will support Framing Kent’s Future Priorities 1 and 4 as outlined below:

 

  • Priority 1: Levelling Up Kent and our commitment to maintain KCC’s strategic role in supporting schools in Kent to deliver accessible, high quality education provision for all families, specifically: maintain improvement support services for all Kent schools, including maintained schools and academies, to maintain Kent’s high-quality education system.
  • Priority 4: New Models of Care and Support and our commitment to support the most vulnerable children and families in our county, ensuring our social work practice supports manageable caseloads, reflective learning, joined up safeguarding and effective corporate parenting arrangements, specifically by respond to national policy changes on SEND provision, work with SEND families to rapidly improve the service provided to SEND children and work with mainstream schools so more can accept and meet the needs of children with SEND, increasing choice and proximity of school places.

 

While both above priorities only reference schools directly, it is reasonable to extend the application of these principles to the earliest years of children’s education provided through early years settings and childminders.

 

These actions will support Securing Kent’s Future by:

·         Supporting Objective 1 in bringing the 2023-2024 budget back into balance through cost avoidance achieved by supporting more children in mainstream schools from the outset of their statutory education and avoiding the use of non-maintained independent special school placements. 

·         Further transforming the operating model of the Council (Objective 4) by making processes less time-consuming and bureaucratic we can free up our resource to focus on working directly with children and the providers that support them. A greater focus on understanding and demonstrating impact will enable more effective decision making about how and where to focus the use of resources.

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 22/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Christy Holden

Notice of decision: 23/04/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


23/04/2024 - 24/00026 - The Locality Model for Special Educational Needs Inclusion

Proposed decision

 

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills to approve the adoption and implementation of the Locality Model for Special Educational Needs Inclusion in Kent

 

Reason for the decision

 

-      Adopting the Locality Model for Special Education Needs (SEN) Inclusion would be a step forwards in Kent County Council’s (KCC) commitment to delivering the priorities of the Countywide Approach to Inclusive Education (CATIE) Strategy. The CATIE Strategy is one of KCC’s responsibilities to implement the Designated Schools Grant management plan, as outlined in the Department for Education’s (DfE) Safety Valve Agreement with Kent.

 

-      Implementing the Locality Model will support increased inclusion in mainstream schools for children and young people with SEN. The Locality Model will be the framework that ensures KCC can deliver the most effective and appropriate High Needs Funding (HNF) allocations to local areas in Kent. The Locality Model will align with a new Kent SEN continuum being developed to span mainstream, specialist resource, and special school provisions, ensuring system-wide cohesion.

 

Background

 

-      In May 2023, at KCC’s Children Young People and Education (CYPE) Cabinet Committee, the CATIE was set out as KCC’s strategy for 2023-28. The CATIE established KCC’s collective ambitions for children, young people, and their families in Kent. Professionals working together in a collaborative, sustainable system to ensure equity of education, meaning children feel they belong, are respected, and valued as individuals, and are fully supported to achieve their best.    

 

-      The CATIE, signposted within the DfE’s Safety Valve Agreement with Kent, states it will “develop a school/area-led approach to […] SEN support services (Locality Based Resources), to better respond to the needs of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)”.

 

-      CATIE’s Priority Two aims to develop community working and implement structures that support children and young people with SEND in Kent to have their needs met within their own locality, wherever possible.

 

-      As part of KCC’s work towards delivering on CATIE priorities a Locality Model has been developed, with the aim of improving the outcomes for children and young people with SEND in Kent. This proposal went out to public consultation between November 2023 and January 2024.

 

Options (other options considered but discounted)

 

-     The process for developing the Locality Model was iterative and alternative options were considered within the development process, to ensure the direction proposed is the right one for Kent. The group involved in developing and defining our options consisted of KCC staff from education, finance, and SEN, alongside leaders of education from KCC mainstream primary and secondary schools (selective and non-selective), single and multi-Academy Trusts, special schools, and free schools.

 

-     Three main options were considered:

1)    to maintain the current system

2)    to implement a Tariff system

3)    to implement a Locality Model

 

-       Option one was discounted as an impracticable solution; it is not currently performing well in Kent, there iscurrent inconsistency in mainstream SEN inclusion and provision, along with a lack of effective monitoring systems and accountability. Ofsted have stated, poor standards are achieved, and progress made, by too many pupils with SEN under the current system.

 

-       Option two could have been viable but was discounted due to its identified limitations. A tariff system[1] for mainstream would provide clear and transparent arrangements with a prescriptive allocation of resources but tends to be used in conjunction with individual funding allocations for children with EHCPs, rather than for wider operations and funding of SEN Support Services. The elements of inflexibility it would bring were also considered too restrictive for SEN support services, and unsupportive of innovative use of resources for mainstream if used on its own.

 

-       Option three was viewed as the best path for KCC to explore and define further with partners. Research finds that more consistent and effective support in mainstream schools lead to positive outcomes for children and young people. Local authorities who make substantial use of peer moderation and mainstream collaboration have found that doing so improves consistency and is a useful source of advice and support. The Locality Model is designed to improve the quality of the mainstream education offer in Kent, through early and accurate identification of need, high quality teaching of a knowledge-rich curriculum, and timely access to specialist health and care support, and via alternative provision placements where they are needed.

 

-     Proposals for the Locality Model were agreed following intensive collaboration with schools, settings, and other key stakeholders, and then put out to consultation with parent/carers, young people, all professional stakeholders, and all members of the public.

 

-  Following consultation, subsequent analysis of feedback, and defining KCC’s response to consultation feedback, the Locality Model will be   presented to the CYPE Cabinet Committee.

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future andFraming Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026

 

-      The Locality Model directly aligns with KCC’s strategic vison for children, young people, and families, as set out in ‘Framing Kent’s Future’. Priority 1: Levelling up Kent explains that: ‘We will maintain improvement support services for all Kent schools, including maintained schools and academies, to maintain Kent’s high-quality education system’. The Locality Model will implement structures that will increase the inclusion of children and young people with SEN in mainstream schools, so they can be educated with, and are able to access the same opportunities to education as their peers wherever possible. The aim is children and young people with SEN in Kent receive early and timely support. That greater numbers of children and young people are able to have their needs met within mainstream settings, or should they need specialist provision, that wherever possible they can access this locally, close to where they live.

 

-      Under the Locality Model structure, available resources will be discussed by groups of schools and other SEN, education, or healthcare professionals in the local area, to determine where resource and HNF allocations would be best directed. The final decision to allocate HNF will remain with KCC, but by discussions occurring locally KCC aim to make better use of resources. This activity is expected to support KCC with its Safety Valve aims to achieve financial sustainability in the longer term. This would align with priorities set out in Securing Kent’s Future, the next step on from Framing Kent’s Future, agreed at Cabinet in October 2023.

 

Financial Implications

 

-      Kent currently spends approximately £45m on specific high needs allocations to schools per annum. Approximately 40% of this are for SEN support services for individual children and the remainder to children with an EHCP. This is funded from the High Needs Block of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), a specific ring-fenced education grant from the Department of Education. The council is one of a number of local authorities which are part of the DfE Safety Valve Programme to support those councils with the highest overspends on SEN services to achieve a financially sustainable longer term position. The Kent’s Safety Valve agreement with the DfE states:

 

“The authority agrees to implement the DSG[2] management plan that it has set out. This includes action to:

 

3.1. Implement a countywide approach to ‘Inclusion Education’, to further build capacity in mainstream schools to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), thus increasing the proportion of children successfully supported in mainstream education and reducing dependence on specialist provision

 

3.7. Ensure there is sufficient and consistent capacity across the county to support children with severe and complex needs in their local area where possible

 

3.8. Develop a school/area-led approach to commissioning of SEN support services (Locality Based Resources), to better respond to the needs of children and young people with SEND”

(page 2 and 3  DfE DSG ‘Safety Valve’ Agreement: Kent)

 

-      Kent must implement a sustainable approach to HNF to meet the DfE Safety Valve agreement and to ensure financial sustainability in this area moving forwards; the Locality Model will build the robust governance and monitoring processes required to implement the necessary new approach.

 

 



 

[2] Dedicated Schools Grant

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 22/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Roger Silk

Notice of decision: 23/04/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


23/04/2024 - 24/00025 - Expansion of Northfleet Technology College, Colyer Rd, Northfleet, Gravesend, DA11 8BG

Proposed decision:

 

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is asked to:

 

  1. APPROVE the expansion of Northfleet Technology College from a PAN of 165 to a PAN of 189.

 

  1. AGREE to allocate the funding from the CYPE Capital Budget that will be required to complete the project.

 

  1. DELEGATE authority to the Director of Infrastructure to, in consultation with the Director of Education, enter into any necessary contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement this decision; and

 

  1. AGREE for the Director of Infrastructure to be the nominated Authority Representative within the relevant agreements, with authority to enter variations as envisaged under the contracts.

 

 

Reason for the decision

 

This proposal to expand Northfleet Technology College has been developed because the Kent Commissioning Plan 2024/28 indicates that there will be a shortfall in year 7 places in the Gravesham and Longfield Non-Selective planning group.

 

Northfleet Technology College, a member of the Northfleet Schools Co-Operative Trust, is a boys secondary school.  Following an inspection that took place in October 2022, Ofsted deems Northfleet Technology College to be a ‘GOOD’ school, in all areas.

 

Following initial discussions, Northfleet Technology College agreed to offer 189 places on a temporary basis in 2023. This agreement has been repeated for September 2024. This proposal seeks to make the expansion permanent and so the senior management and governors of Northfleet Technology College have agreed to consult on this proposal to permanently expand the school and enlarge the secondary provision within the school by the addition of 25 places per school year.

           

If no further action is taken in the longer term, Kent County Council will find it extremely difficult to provide sufficient secondary school places in the Gravesham and Longfield Non-Selective planning group.

 

 

Background

 

Gravesham Borough’s population is increasing with more families moving into the area and as a result, Kent County Council needs to add additional secondary school places to manage the increase in demand. One strategy for providing additional school places is to expand existing successful and popular schools.

 

The Northfleet Technology College does not have sufficient accommodation to offer the requisite additional places, so as a temporary measure, four mobile teaching rooms will be placed on the site.  This will be a revenue expense.

 

KCC will design and construct a new standalone block to be ready for the September 2026 intake.  This will need to be funded from the CYPE Capital Budget.

 

 

Securing Kent’s Future

 

The 'Securing Kent's Future' strategy outlines the measures that KCC intend to take to ensure that Kent remains financially stable, now and long into the future.  It describes the statutory priorities, one of which being the statutory duty to ensure sufficient school places are available to any child or young person who requires one.  This duty applies to Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision, as well as mainstream settings.

 

This proposal is necessary for KCC to continue to deliver the statutory duty, in a cost-effective way, in line with the guidelines described in the Securing Kent's Future strategy. It will help to maintain KCC’s strategic role in supporting schools in Kent to deliver accessible, high quality education provision for all families.

 

The County Council’s Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent 2024-28 is a five-year rolling plan which is updated annually.  It sets out KCC’s future plans as Strategic Commissioner of Education Provision across all types and phases of education in Kent. A copy of the latest plan can be viewed from this link:

 

https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/schools/education-provision/education-provision-plan

 

 

Financial Implications

 

Capital

 

Progression of the scheme will be dependent on the outcome of detailed feasibility and design work – these will inform the full overall cost of the project.

 

The cost of the new standalone block will be borne by the CYPE Capital Budget.  Currently the estimated cost for the whole scheme is £8.3m.  This sum has been included within the Basic Need Capital Programme that was recently agreed by Council. KCC Project Managers will be undertaking continuous checks to keep build costs as close as possible to this estimate.

 

Northfleet Technology College is a Public Finance Initiative (PFI) school. The PFI Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) have been on board from the start of the project and a change notice is in place for the Deed of Variation (DoV). The works will result in part of the land being removed from the PFI red line. Forecast legal costs for the DoV will be included within the total project cost for the main capital works.

 

An allowance of up to £2,500 may be payable to the school, to outfit each new teaching room with appropriate ICT equipment, such as touch screens or projection equipment.  This will be met from the overall Capital allocation for this project.

 

Should the scheme not proceed through to completion, any costs incurred at the time of cessation would become abortive costs and are likely to be recharged to Revenue. This would be reported through the regular financial monitoring reports to Cabinet.

 

Revenue

 

The initial phase involves the installation of four mobile teaching rooms at a cost of £311,168.  This will be a Revenue expense, funded from the Mobiles and Temporary Accommodation Budget included within the Education Revenue Budget.

 

As the scheme progresses, £6,000 per newly created learning space, would be provided towards the cost of furniture and equipment, such as tables, desks, chairs, cabinets and learning resources.

 

The school would also receive funding for the additional pupils that it admits in line with the funding allocated to schools through KCC’s Schools Funding Formula.

 

Both the £6,000 per classroom, and the additional pupil funding will be met from the Growth Funding provision held within the dedicated school's grant.

 

 

Human

 

The school will appoint additional staff as required; utilising revenue funding allocated through the Schools Funding Formula for these additional pupils.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 22/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Ian Watts

Notice of decision: 23/04/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


23/04/2024 - 24/00024 - Expansion of Leigh Academy, Green Street Green Rd, Dartford DA1 1RB

Proposed decision:

 

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills to:

 

  1. APPROVE the expansion of Leigh Academy by 2FE,

 

  1. AGREE to allocate £425,000, subject to a binding funding agreement, from the CYPE Capital Budget to the Leigh Academy Trust (LAT), to:
    1. enable design work for the essential internal and external works
    2. enable LAT to undertake essential internal modification works, during 2024.

 

  1. AGREE to allocate £975,000 from the CYPE Capital Budget, to enable KCC to undertake feasibility checks, design, plan, cost and tender for the project to construct a new standalone block, from June 2024

 

  1. DELEGATE authority to the Director of Infrastructure to, in consultation with the Director of Education, enter into any necessary contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement this decision; and

 

  1. AGREE for the Director of Infrastructure to be the nominated Authority Representative within the relevant agreements, with authority to enter variations as envisaged under the contracts.

 

 

 

Reason for the decision

 

This proposal to expand Leigh Academy has been developed because the Kent Commissioning Plan 2024/28 indicates that there will be a shortfall in year 7 places in the Dartford and Swanley non-selective planning group.

 

To support KCC to mitigate against this shortfall, Leigh Academy agreed to increase its PAN from 240 to offer 270 places for September 2023, September 2024 and September 2025.

 

Following further discussions, Leigh Academy agreed to offer 300 places from 2026, subject to a physical expansion. This proposal seeks to facilitate the expansion by building a standalone block, and to enable various internal and external works.  The Trust, senior leadership team and governors of Leigh Academy agreed to consult on this proposal to permanently expand the school and enlarge the secondary provision within the school by the addition of 60 places per school year.

 

Leigh Academy, part of the Leigh Academy Trust (LAT), is a co-ed secondary school.  Following an inspection that took place in April 2023, Ofsted deems Leigh Academy to be a ‘GOOD’ school.

 

 

A decision is required now to allow internal modifications to Leigh existing building to be undertaken, which will allow the school to continue to admit an increased cohort from September 2024 and to begin work on external areas of the site.  The funding will also allow KCC to enter into a contract to undertake the requisite feasibility studies and design work for the main scheme to produce a new standalone block on site.  A separate decision will be taken by the Cabinet Member in due course to agree the overall funding of the scheme.  The estimated costs are explained below.

 

If no further action is taken in the longer term, Kent County Council will find it extremely difficult to provide sufficient secondary school places in the Dartford and Swanley non-selective planning group.

 

Background

 

Dartford Borough’s population is increasing with more families moving into the area and as a result, Kent County Council needs to add additional secondary school places to manage the increase in demand. One strategy for providing additional school places is to expand existing successful and popular schools.

 

The 2FE expansion is to be facilitated by internal alterations to the existing main school building, along with construction of a new teaching block at the front of the site to provide the level of accommodation required in accordance with BB103.  The existing tennis courts will be relocated to facilitate the construction of the new standalone block.  These internal and external works will be undertaken by LAT and the funding for the works will be passported to LAT from the CYPE Capital Budget, subject to a binding funding agreement being signed.  KCC will directly deliver the standalone block and related Highways mitigations, should they be required.

 

In order to accommodate the ongoing 2FE expansion, Leigh Academy have committed to an increased PAN in September 2024 (in line with September 2023), however this increased PAN requires an initial phase of internal alteration works to be undertaken to facilitate an increase in pupil numbers.

 

Any works undertaken by the Academy are to be overseen by the appointed KCC Consultant team.

 

Securing Kent’s Future

 

The 'Securing Kent's Future' strategy outlines the measures that KCC intend to take to ensure that Kent remains financially stable, now and long into the future.  It describes the statutory priorities, one of which being the statutory duty to ensure sufficient school places are available to any child or young person who requires one.  This duty applies to Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision, as well as mainstream settings.

 

This proposal is necessary for KCC to continue to deliver the statutory duty, in a cost-effective way, in line with the guidelines described in the Securing Kent's Future strategy. It will help to maintain KCC’s strategic role in supporting schools in Kent to deliver accessible, high quality education provision for all families.

 

The County Council’s Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent 2024-28 is a five-year rolling plan which is updated annually.  It sets out KCC’s future plans as Strategic Commissioner of Education Provision across all types and phases of education in Kent. A copy of the latest plan can be viewed from this link:

 

https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/schools/education-provision/education-provision-plan

 

 

Financial Implications

 

Capital

 

The total cost of the expansion is estimated to be £10.5m, including both KCC and LAT spend which is to be allocated from the CYPE Capital Budget.   This sum has been included within the Basic Need Capital Programme that was recently agreed by Council. KCC will investigate whether other funding sources can be accessed, such as Community Infrastructure Levy, once full costs are known.

 

An allowance of up to £2,500 may be payable to the school, to outfit each new teaching room with appropriate ICT equipment, such as touch screens or projection equipment.  This will be met from the overall Capital allocation for this project.

 

Should the scheme not proceed through to completion, any costs incurred at the time of cessation would become abortive costs and are likely to be recharged to Revenue. This would be reported through the regular financial monitoring reports to Cabinet.

 

Revenue

 

The school would also receive funding for the additional pupils that it admits in line with the funding allocated to schools through KCC’s Schools Funding Formula.

 

As the scheme progresses, £6,000 per newly created learning space, would be provided towards the cost of furniture and equipment, such as tables, desks, chairs, cabinets and learning resources.

 

Both of these revenue allocations will be met from the Growth Funding provision held within the dedicated school's grant.

 

Human

 

The school will appoint additional staff as required; utilising revenue funding allocated through the Schools Funding Formula for these additional pupils.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 22/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Ian Watts

Notice of decision: 23/04/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


09/04/2024 - 24/00023 - School Term Dates 2025/26, 2026/27 2027/28.

Proposed decision:

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is asked to determine the School Year dates for community and voluntary controlled schools, by the local authority (LA)

 

Further Information:

 

Schools are required by statute to provide schooling for 190 days. Teaching

staff are required by their terms and conditions to complete 195 days

including 5 development days.

 

Term dates and holidays, in England, are set:

        for community and voluntary controlled schools, by the local authority (LA)

        for foundation, voluntary aided schools, academies and free schools by the governing body.

 

The government’s policies to promote academies and free schools will mean that increasingly school governing bodies will be determining the school term dates for their schools.

 

The proposed calendar will be considered by Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee and following this the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills will take the final decision. Following the consultation and approval, the agreed school term dates calendar for 2025-8 will be published.

 

Setting school term dates has a relationship to one of the priorities in Delivering Vision and Priorities for Improvement 2018 – 2021.  The priority states KCC will ‘ensure that the maximum number of children and young people of statutory school age are enabled to attend education provision on a full-time basis.’

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 08/05/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Ian Watts

Notice of decision: 09/04/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


04/03/2024 - 24/00008 - Special Educational Needs - Therapy Contracts

Proposed decision:

 

A) Retrospectively contract with the East Kent Hospitals Trust and the Kent Community Health Foundation Trust for 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 for the provision of SEN Therapies

 

B) Contract with the East Kent Hospitals Trust and the Kent Community Health Foundation Trust for 1 April 2024 to 31 August 2025 for the provision of SEN Therapies

 

C) Agree to the review of the Kent and Medway Communication and Assistive Technology service and to incorporate into the wider recommissioning of SEN Therapies

 

D) Agree for the exploration of joint commissioning with the NHS for the wider provision of SEN Therapies to include in the re-procurement of NHS Community Services

 

E) Delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills and the Corporate Director of Finance, to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, entering into and finalising the terms of relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision

 

 

Reason for the decision

 

To continue with annual contracts, issued by NHS Providers, for the current Special Educational Needs (SEN) Therapy services. The future commissioning intentions are to align with the NHS Kent and Medway timeline to re-procure their Community Services, and specifically jointly commission an Integrated Therapy Contract for 1 September 2025.

 

The current annual contract values are £752,905 with East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) and £1,526,586 with Kent Community Health Foundation Trust (KCHFT).

 

This requires agreeing a retrospective contract for the financial year 2023/2024 and a future contract for 17 months from1 April 2024 to 31 August 2025.

 

Decision is also sought to review and bring the Kent and Medway Communication and Assistive Technology service into the new jointly commissioned Integrated Therapy Contract, under the NHS Kent and Medway Community Services re-procurement. 

 

Background

 

The 2015 Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice, sets out that Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Assistive Technology should be jointly commissioned.

 

KCC is working towards a jointly commissioned Integrated Therapy Service, which will include the Kent and Medway Communication and Assistive Technology Service (KMCAT), to maximise the use of finite resources from local authorities, schools, colleges and the NHS improving outcomes for 0–25-year-olds with SEND and their parents/carers.

 

The joint aim is to establish a new jointly commissioned service by September 2025, to fall in line with NHS Kent and Medway’s broader recommissioning of a unified Community Service Offer.

 

Significant transformational activity is underway with the NHS providers who are working in partnership with KCC and NHS Kent and Meway to develop new ways of working.   Implementing a more proactive and preventative tiered approach to the provision of therapy support, that will maximise use of finite resources and ensure a more coherent county-wide offer.

 

Securing Kent’s Future – Budget Recovery Strategy

 

KCC has agreed with the Providers that there will be no increase to the contract price for 2023/2024, however, the Providers have stated that this position will not be sustainable for 2024/2025, and therefore negotiations continue. 

The contract values for 2024/2025 will be agreed alongside Finance colleagues and the Director for Education.

The longer-term joint commissioning project will meet the ambitions of Framing Kent’s Future as follows:

 

Priority 4: New models of care and support demand for our social care services has out stripped funding year on year. Our commitment is to seize the opportunity of integrating our planning, commissioning and decision making in adult, children’s and public health services through being a partner in the Kent and Medway Integrated Care System at place and system level.

 

It meets the aims of Securing Kent’s Future by holding Best Value at the centre of all joint commissioning opportunities.

 

Financial Implications

These contracts are for the provision of Therapy staff and are only a proportion of the overall Therapy services purchased by the Council. A high-level reconciliation has been undertaken to be able to justify the level of spend in commensurate with the level of service provided, given that vacancies have been held to compensate for the lack of inflationary uplift. 

KCC has been in negotiation with the Providers for this year’s fee increase and have agreed in 2023/2024 there will be no fee increase, this has meant the providers have held frozen vacancies.

Both Providers have stated that continuing without a fee increase into the new financial year 2024/2025 will not be sustainable, and therefore negotiations continue. 

The current contract values are £725,905 for EKHUFT and £1,526,586 for KCHFT, contract values for 2024/2025 will be agreed alongside Finance colleagues and the Director for Education.

This contract is funded from the Dedicated Schools Grant: High Needs Block, an annual grant provided by the Department of Education.

 

 

Legal Implications  

 

The procurement strategy is to align existing Therapy services required by KCC, with the service commissioned by the NHS Kent and Medway and to jointly commission the service, with the NHS Kent and Medway as the Lead Commissioner and KCC as a Joint Commissioner. 

 

As a Joint Commissioner, it is expected that KCC will be a full partner of the contract with the provider(s) and will have the ability to participate in performance contract management and monitoring, with NHS Kent and Medway.  This will strengthen existing contract performance monitoring and management, given the scale and value of the proposed contract.

 

The Provider Selection Regime (PRS) came in to force on 1 January 2024. PSR is a set of rules for procuring health care services, by NHS England, Integrated Care Board, NHS Trusts, NHS Foundation Trusts and Local Authorities.

 

There are three Provider Selection processes:

  • Direct Award processes (A, B, and C). These involve awarding contracts to providers when there is limited or no reason to seek to change from the existing provider; or to assess providers against one another, because:
    • the existing provider is the only provider that can deliver the health care services (direct award process A)
    • patients have a choice of providers and the number of providers is not restricted by the relevant authority (direct award process B)
    • the existing provider is satisfying its existing contract, will likely satisfy the new contract to a sufficient standard, and the proposed contracting arrangements are not changing considerably (direct award process C).
  • Most Suitable Provider
  • Competitive Process

 

For the 2023/2024 contract, the Public Contract Regulations (PCR) 2015 would have applied, however as PSR is now in force, this is the regulation that covers the provision of Therapy services, and it is therefore recommended that the route followed to sign these contracts is under Direct Award (C).

 

For any other meaningful commissioning using this Regime would require developing specifications, detailed outcome frameworks and key performance indicators, quality assurance mechanisms and contract management schedule.  This would also not allow for the necessary coproduction with Children, Young People, and their Families/Carers, as required by the SEND Code of Practice and our commitment to the SEND Co-production Charter.

 

Equalities implications

 

A full Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA) will be completed as part of the Joint Commissioning Strategy, to help us to consider the potential impact of a proposal, and how to make things as fair as possible for anyone who is likely to be affected. The level of detail required for an EqIA depends on how complex the proposal is, and to what extent people are likely to be affected by it.  We believe this will have far reaching implications and therefore full EqIA will be required.

DPIA (if relevant)

A DPIA checklist will be completed in due course as part of the commissioning plan to ensure KCC and partners ability identify and minimise the data protection risks within this commissioned activity. As this is a major project which requires the processing of personal data, the DPIA Assessment will therefore:

  • describe the nature, scope, context and purposes of the processing;
  • assess necessity, proportionality and compliance measures;
  • identify and assess risks to individuals; and
  • identify any additional measures to mitigate those risks.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision due date: Not before 02/04/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Christy Holden

Notice of decision: 04/03/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


23/01/2024 - 24/00007 - KCC Subsidy for the Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry Service Review

Proposed decision:

Subject to the outcome of public consultation to withdraw KCC subsidy for the support of the Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry service.  

 

Reason for the decision:

If taken, the decision will likely lead to the withdrawal of a service that has a high social value for users. 

 

Background:

There is a long history of a passenger boat service operating on the River Thames between Gravesend in Kent and Tilbury in Thurrock.  Since 2000, the service has operated with financial support from Kent County Council (KCC) and Thurrock Council.

 

The service operates 6 days per week offering a sailing every 30 minutes and over 100,000 passenger journeys are made on the ferry each year by users which include commuters from both Kent and Thurrock and school children attending schools in Gravesend.

  

The cost of running the service has increased due to fuel, staffing and other costs and this has increased the subsidy required to support the contract. At the same time, the pressure on Local Government finances has increased and the costs of supporting the ferry have become more difficult to sustain. 

 

In October 2023, Thurrock Council advised KCC that they could not afford an increase to the contract cost and may struggle to commit to funding for the service in the longer term. KCC have supported the continuation of the service in the immediate term and are currently meeting the cost of the subsidy in full, without a contribution from Thurrock.   However, KCC is not sure that we can cover all the costs in the longer term and the funding that we can make available would not be enough to support the service without Thurrock’s contribution.

 

This means there is a doubt about the future of the service beyond the current contract which expires at the end of March 2024. 

 

Options (other options considered but discarded):

 

To maintain subsidy but only at current (Kent only) levels.   

 

To have ceased the contract with immediate effect in light of the loss of funding from Thurrock.

 

To let contract expire in March 2024 without public consultation on impacts

 

 

How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026: (https://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/strategies-and-policies/corporate-policies/our-council-strategy)

 

Under priority 2: Infrastructure for communities there is a stated commitment is to ensure residents have access to viable and attractive travel options that allow them to make safe, efficient and more sustainable journeys throughout Kent.

 

However due to the current financial pressures, in line with the budget recovery strategy; Securing Kent’s Future, the level of investment need to support the ferry service has to be proportionate to ensure other supported bus services can continue to operate.

 

How the proposed decision supports Securing Kent’s Future: Securing Kents Future - Budget Recovery Strategy.pdf

 

Under objective 2: Delivering savings from identified opportunity areas to set a sustainable 2024/25 budget and MTFP allcontracts that are expiring within the next 12 months are required to be reviewed to ensure they meet Best Value.

 

Under objective 3: Policy choices and scope of Council’s ambitions all discretionary spending is to be reviewed.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision due date: Not before 21/02/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Stephen Pay

Notice of decision: 23/01/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open


13/03/2023 - 23/00030 - Implementation of an independent Construction Consultancy Services Framework to support the implementation and delivery of the Capital Works Programmes

Proposed decision:

The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to agree to the implementation of a new Independent Consultancy Services Framework to support the delivery of the Capital Works Programmes over a 6-year (4-year+1+1) contract period to include the following disciplines:

              Lot 1 – Multi-discipline (client delegated duties)

              Lot 2 – Project Manager (including client delegated Quantity Surveying duties)

              Lot 3 – Supervisor

              Lot 4 – Technical Advisor

              Lot 5 – Construction Design and Management Advisor

 

Reason for the decision

The Kent County Council had previously appointed consultants on a project-by-project basis via the Property Services Consultancy Framework, to provide professional consultancy services to support construction projects. However, the Framework expired in June 2020 and procurement of such services has since been conducted on a project-by-project basis, tendered or direct award procurements in-line with Spending the Council’s Money Policy and Public Contract Regulations.

 

The current method of procuring consultancy services is time consuming and resource intensive and requires a more efficient approach. In addition, a new professional consultancy services framework that aligns to the new construction partnership framework (already in place) and proposed minor work construction partnership framework (subject to procurement).

 

Options

There are 3 options to consider for the ongoing procurement of consultancy services:

              Insource of consultancy provision.

              Continuing with current arrangement of tendering/direct award for each requirement

              Establishing a new Construction Consultancy Framework.

 

Option 3, to establishing a new Construction Consultancy Framework is the preferred option, as this would provide a pre-qualified framework of consultants to efficiently support the projects procured via the new Construction and proposed Minor Works Partnership Frameworks on behalf of Kent County Council. It is likely that the Frameworks will work on a rotational basis so that all suppliers get equal allocation of works (performance and project dependant).  In addition to this the facility to undertake mini tenders will be included.

 

It is envisaged that the new Independent Construction Consultancy Services Frameworks will commence by October 2023.

 

How the proposed decision supports the Interim Strategic Plan

The proposed decision will support the objectives of Strategic Delivery Plan 2020 – 2023 by:

              Supporting the delivery of the Council’s Infrastructure Capital Delivery Programme

              Supporting the delivery of the Kent Commissioning Plan for Education Provision 2020-2024, including the Basic Need programme

              Supporting the KCC Corporate Estate maintenance programme.

              Supporting the KCC Education Estate maintenance programme.

Decision Maker: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services

Decision due date: Not before 11/04/2023

Lead officer: James Sanderson

Notice of decision: 13/03/2023

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - view reasons


29/10/2021 - 21/00096 - Contract for Post Mortem Facilities for the North West Kent Coroner area

Proposed Decision:

To award a 12 month extension to the contract for the provision of post mortem (PM) facilities to Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust.

 

Background

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 places a duty on Coroners to investigate deaths that are referred to them if they have reason to think that:

  • The death was violent or unnatural;
  • The cause of death is unknown; or
  • The deceased died while in prison, police custody or another form of state detention eg where a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard Order (DoLS) is in place

In some cases the Coroner will order a PM to establish the cause of death and in such cases the deceased is taken to one of 5 NHS mortuaries across Kent and Medway located at Margate, Ashford, Dartford, Tunbridge Wells and Gillingham.

On behalf of the Senior Coroners, KCC ensures there is adequate storage capacity for coroner’s bodies and that the oroners have access to PM facilities.  KCC does not have its own public mortuary facility, and so like many other coroner areas across England and Wales it has no choice but to use local NHS hospitals which have the necessary facilities for this purpose; there are no private sector providers of PM facilities anywhere in England and Wales.

The contract with Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust expired on the 30th September 2021 and it has been necessary to put a contract extension in place to secure this critical service until such time as the proposed Digital Autopsy facility at Aylesford opens for business, currently estimated for August/September 2022. The Trust is agreeable to extend the contract for 12 months as this will guarantee that all their fixed and variable costs are met, which is an understandable approach.  It has therefore been agreed that the contract will be extended from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022 and if need be, can be terminated early by KCC serving six months’ notice.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision due date: 29/11/2021

Notice of decision: 29/10/2021

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - view reasons

Explanation of anticipated restriction:
The report will include commercially sensitive information.


14/10/2021 - 21/00089 - Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30: 2021 Review - Public Consultation

Proposed decision

Following a review of the 2016 Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan, to approve and publish for public consultation (Regulation 18) proposed changes to the Kent Mineral and Waste Local Plan 2013-30 (the 2021 Review).

 

Background

The County Council has a statutory responsibility to plan for future minerals supply and waste management within Kent as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework 2021 (NPPF) and the National Planning Policy for Waste 2014 (NPPW). This responsibility is realised through the preparation of a Local Plan, in line with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (The Regulations).

 

The Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30 (KMWLP) was adopted by Full Council in July 2016 and subject to an early partial review of a limited number of policies in 2020 represents the planning policy framework for minerals and waste development in Kent. The KMWLP contains a number of policies relating to strategic planning for minerals supply and waste management capacity, as well as Development Management policies against which planning applications for these types of development should be assessed. The Plan also includes a number of policies related to the safeguarding of mineral resources and waste management facilities. 

 

The Regulations require Local Planning Authorities to review their Local Plans every 5 years.  This is to ensure that the policies remain relevant, conform to national policy and guidance and satisfactorily address the needs of the local community. Policies must be both legally compliant and sound, and in order to be considered sound they should meet the tests of being positively prepared, justified, effective and compliant with national policy. The Plan was partially reviewed in 2020 in the KMWLP Early Partial Review 2020. 

 

In accordance with plan making requirements set out in the Regulations, the Council has undertaken a 5 year review of the 2016 adopted KMWLP and identified a number of policies as outdated or no longer meeting the tests of soundness. This assessment is set out in detail in the Review of the Kent Minerals & Waste Local Plan 2021. The identified changes needed to the 2016 Kent Mineral and Waste Local Plan form the basis for the next plan making cycle.

 

Revisions are proposed to the Local Plan to principally reflect changes in national policy and guidance since 2016. These include amongst others changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, government policy and guidance on the achievement of a circular economy and those concerned with climate change and protection and enhancement of the natural environment. Revised draft policy and supporting text has been prepared. To satisfy the requirements of the Plan Making Regulations, consultation is now required on the proposed revisions to the adopted Plan so as to inform and influence future local plan work and the version that the Council will ultimately submit for examination to the Planning Inspectorate.

How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Setting the Course’: Kent County Council’s Interim Strategic Statement (December 2020)

The Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan delivers the Council’s adopted Mineral and Waste planning strategy and policies and is important in the determination of planning applications in Kent. A local plan is in accordance with national planning policy and guidance and provides a local perspective.  It supports the County Council’s corporate policies contained within the Council’s Setting the Course – Kent County Council’s Interim Strategic Plan 2020, which sets the Council’s priorities until 2022.

 

Kent’s mineral and waste planning policies support and facilitate sustainable growth in Kent’s economy. In addition, they support the protection and creation of a high-quality environment, with accessible local services that reflect the needs of the community. The proposed revised policy will reflect recent changes to the environmental agenda including mitigation and adaptation to climate change and Kent’s Climate Change Statement and measures to support covid recovery.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Environment

Decision due date: Not before 12/11/2021 Affects two or more Electoral Divisions

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of decision: 14/10/2021

Anticipated restriction: Open


09/09/2021 - 21/00076 - Provision of Community Support Services for Disabled Children and Young People - Outcome of Procurement Process

Proposed decision –

 

Contracts to be awarded to successful providers for the provision of Community Support Services (Care and Support in the Home) for Disabled Children and Young People following a recent procurement exercise linked to the Adults Care and Support in the Home contract.

 

Delegate decisions on the implementation to the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education, or other Officer, in consultation with the Corporate Director of Adult Social Care and Health as appropriate.

 

Further information –

 

Decision 20/00102 - Community Support Services for Disabled Children & Young People was taken on 19 March 2020 and allowed officers to follow a competitive procurement process for children’s community support services within the Adults ‘Care and Support in the Home’ contract. 

 

Following the competitive procurement process a further decision is required to award the contracts to the successful providers. 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services

Decision due date: Not before 08/10/2021

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Christy Holden

Notice of decision: 09/09/2021

Anticipated restriction: Open


09/09/2021 - 21/00079 - Contracts for Post Mortem Facilities for the Mid Kent & Medway, North East Kent and Central & South East Kent coroner areas

Proposed Decision

 

To award 12 month extensions to the contracts for the provision of post mortem (PM) facilities to East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust and Medway NHS Trust.

 

Further Information

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 places a duty on Coroners to investigate deaths that are referred to them if they have reason to think that:

  • The death was violent or unnatural;
  • The cause of death is unknown; or
  • The deceased died while in prison, police custody or another form of state detention eg where a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard Order (DoLS) is in place

In some cases the Coroner will order a PM to establish the cause of death and in such cases the deceased is taken to one of 5 NHS mortuaries across Kent and Medway located at Margate, Ashford, Dartford, Tunbridge Wells and Gillingham.

On behalf of the Senior Coroner, KCC ensures there is adequate storage capacity for Coroner’s bodies and that the Coroner has access to PM facilities.  KCC does not have its own public mortuary facility and so like many other coroner areas across England and Wales it has no choice but to use local NHS hospitals which have the necessary facilities for this purpose; there are  no private sector providers of PM facilities anywhere in England and Wales.

The contracts with these two NHS Trusts expire on the 30th September 2021 and it is necessary to put in place contract extensions to secure this critical service until such time as the proposed Digital Autopsy facility at Aylesford opens for business, currently estimated for July 2022. Discussions have been held with each of the Trusts and whilst they are happy to extend the contracts they have insisted this must be for 12 months to guarantee that all their fixed and variable costs are met, which is an understandable approach.  It has therefore been agreed that the contracts will be extended from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022 and if need be, can be terminated early by KCC serving six months notice.  

 

Financial Implications

 

The contract with East Kent NHS Trust is a fixed fee regardless of activity levels and is paid in 12 equal installments.  At the point where the DA facility opens, all deceased that would normally have undergone an invasive PM will be scanned, so dependent on if and when notice is served to end the contract extension, KCC could potentially be liable for both DA scanning charges and the monthly charge for PM’s even though no PM’s will be taking place in the East Kent area.  To mitigate this scenario, the move over to DA will be phased with deaths in the East Kent area not being scanned until the contract extension comes to an end.  Based on 2020 activity levels the estimated cost of the East Kent contract extension is within the budgeted revenue cost for 2021-22.

 

The contract with Medway NHS Trust is based on a cost per PM, so if there are no PM’s, there are no costs to KCC.  This means that at the point where the DA facility opens, KCC will only have to meet the scan charge.    Based on 2020 activity levels the estimated costs of the Medway contract extension is within the budgeted revenue cost for 2021-22. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision due date: Not before 08/10/2021

Division affected: (All Division);

Lead officer: Giles Adey

Notice of decision: 09/09/2021

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt

Explanation of anticipated restriction:
The report will include commercially sensitive information.


16/03/2020 - 20/00027 - Clean Up Kent and Public Realm Improvements

Proposed Decision:

 

a)            Approve a programme of works to deliver a range of projects to ‘clean up’ Kent and to improve the public realm  across Kent

 

b)            Approve the proposed funding allocations and project development arrangements required to support and deliver the programme; and

 

c)            Delegate authority to the Corporate Director for Growth Environment and Transport to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, entering into relevant contracts, legal arrangements or other arrangements, as necessary to implement this decision.

 

 

Background:

 

Kent’s Future, Our Priority’ will become Kent County Council’s new 5 Year Plan, to replace the previous strategic statement ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes (2015-2020)’. The Plan is structured around seven outcomes which reflect the key things that residents and businesses said were essential to a good quality of life in Kent. One of the seven outcomes is, A cleaner and greener Kent.’  

 

A key message from the recent public consultation was that residents care about the places they live in, they are proud of where they live, and want to protect these places by looking after the quality, maintenance and cleanliness of our physical environment, especially town centres, local streets, beaches, public rights of way and green spaces.

 

Options:

 

It was also clear from the public consultation that residents wantedthe County to be clear how it will deliver the plan. This detail is contained within the 5-Year Plan objectives including working with partners to improve the quality of Kent’s public realm.  It is intended that a range of physical improvements will be developed, in conjunction with local stakeholders to reflect different priorities  but will be targeted at cleaning up and improving the quality and appearance of the public realm.

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision due date: Not before 14/04/2020 In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days in accordance to statutory requirements

Lead officer: Simon Jones

Notice of decision: 16/03/2020

Anticipated restriction: Open


19/11/2019 - 19/00095 - Discovery Park: Growing Places Fund

Proposed Decision:

 

·         Kent County Council be the administration and funding decision authority for the £5.3m allocation from SELEP’s Growing Places Fund;

 

·         KCC draws down capital funds of £5.3m from the Growing Places Fund;

 

·         KCC makes available loan finance of up to £5.3m from the Growing Places Fund to support works at Discovery Park to build a spine road and associated infrastructure to enable the building of 500 new residential homes;

 

·         Authority be delegated to the Director of Economic Development to take appropriate actions, including but not limited to, entering into legal agreements as necessary to implement this decision.

   

Provided that:

 

1.    Kent County Council is able to agree a satisfactory loan agreement from Essex County Council as the accountable body for SELEP’s Growing Places Fund; and

 

2.    The receipt of a satisfactory application for loan finance for the works at Discovery Park subject to the rules of the Growing places Fund and the findings of an independent financial appraisal.

 

 

Background:

 

KCC shall invite applications for loan finance of up to £5.3m for infrastructure at Discovery Park. This £5.3m will be obtained from the Growing Places Fund (GPF), which is administered by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP). Applications will then be appraised and considered through the same process as that which is currently used to determine applications for loans from the Kent and Medway Business Fund (KMBF). This means that any application will be required to submit a full business plan, be subject to independent appraisal and be considered by the KMBF Investment Advisory board before a decision is made by KCC. The owners of the Discovery Park site are aware of this proposed process and we anticipate that an application will be forthcoming when the process is launched. In parallel with this process, KCC shall seek to enter into a loan agreement with Essex County Council (the Accountable Body for GPF). These terms have been discussed with Essex County Council and have received an in-principle agreement. However, they will need to be formalised when an agreement to lend to a borrower have been reached.  

 

Options (it is a legal requirement (2012 Executive Arrangements regulations) to outline other options considered)

 

The alternative would be for Kent County Council not to act as an agent for SELEP for the £5.3m Growing Places Fund loan. There is no evidence that this would be a more effective way of achieving the outcome of securing investment in Discovery Park, and there is a risk if the funding allocation is returned to SELEP that it is no longer ring-fenced for investment in Discovery Park or the wider Kent area.

 

 

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Economic Development

Decision due date: Not before 18/12/2019 In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance to statutory requirements

Lead officer: Martyn Riley

Notice of decision: 19/11/2019

Anticipated restriction: Open


20/09/2017 - 17/00094 - Disposal of Land East of Great Chart Primary School, Singleton

Approval to the Director of Infrastructure to progress with and enter into the necessary documentation to complete the disposal of the aforementioned property in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Corporate and Democratic Services. The Decision will seek legal agreements to be actioned to complete the sale of the relevant properties.

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Corporate and Democratic Services

Decision due date: Not before 18/10/2017 In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance with statutory requirements

Lead officer: Roderick Lemerle

Notice of decision: 20/09/2017

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - view reasons