Issue details

Single Source Tender for Kent’s eight Commissioned Children’s Centres

The proposed decision is to :

1. Continue existing arrangements for a year through a Single tender Action or other form of Agreement to allow time for development of the 0-11 strategy.

Kent County Council currently commissions seven organisations to deliver eight Children’s Centres in Kent. Arrangements with these current providers take a variety of forms including contracts, grant agreements and service level agreements. All contracts have been extended on a rolling basis for a minimum of the last two financial years. Existing arrangements are due to end on 31st March 2014.

The Kent Children’s Centres programme is currently undergoing a Future Service Options review. The public consultation ended on 4th October and a decision on the future of the service is expected in December 2013 with an implementation from April 2014.

In order to fully consider the implications of Facing the Challenge, the whole Council Transformation Plan, the development of a 0-11 children’s strategy and Kent’s approach to wider scale commissioning, it is recommended that a single tender action is taken to maintain service delivery from current service providers for one year from 1st April 2014 – 31st March 2015.

Renewing the contract through a single source would provide the flexibility for the Council to consider the full portfolio of Children’s Centres as part of the wider Transformation programme and fully assess the implications of the integrated 0-11 strategy, ensuring Children’s Centre services were embedded within this.

The next year will be one of significant change management for services which may incur costs. Procuring for one year contract is likely to deter many providers. Tendering now would also limit the potential for savings by reducing the scope for making economies of scale as the Centres are spread geographically across the county and may not attract bids from the widest range of providers.

The current seven Children’s Centre providers are trusted, locally established, community integrated providers of services for 0-5 years olds and their families. Renewing their current contracts through a single source would ensure continuity of provision for children and their families through what will be a wider period of transition for services and Children’s Centres in particular.

Of the eight Children’s Centres that are currently commissioned, five of the buildings are owned by the service providers. If these providers were not successful through a competitive procurement process, the Children’s Centre accommodation may have to change. Renewing the contract through a single source would ensure continuity of provision from the same location.

It would also offer the opportunity for officers to negotiate savings and pilot a revised service specification for the current eight Children’s Centres and ensure centres were focused in line with the revised Ofsted framework, statutory guidance and ensure there is a strong concentration on outreach and supporting the most vulnerable families.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: Canterbury City North East; Dover North; Folkestone South; Hythe; Margate & Cliftonville; Sevenoaks Central; Sevenoaks West; Sheerness;

Notice of proposed decision first published: 04/11/2013

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - View reasons

Department: Social Care, Health & Wellbeing

Contact: Karen Mills, Commissioning Manager Tel 01622 694531 Email: Tel: 01622 694531.


Local Members:
Canterbury - Michael Northey , John Simmonds , Nicholas Bond , Brian MacDowall , Alan Marsh , Mark Dance ,Mike Harrison
Swale - Tom Gates ,Lee Burgess , Roger Truelove, Adrian Crowther
Shepway - David Baker , Frank McKenna , Susan Carey , Matthew Whybrow
Dover - Mike Eddy,Eileen Rowbotham , Pam Brivio , Gordon Cowan
Sevenoaks - Richard Parry , David Brazier
Thanet - Roger Latchford , Alan Terry , Zita Wiltshire , Jeff Elenor

Financial implications: Lead officer: Karen Mills , FSC, Strategic Commissioning ( Children’s ) 01622 694531 Lead Director: Andrew Ireland Director Families and Social Care

Legal implications: 13/00078