In March 2016, the government announced changes to the delivery of adoption services setting a very clear direction that all local authorities’ adoption services must be delivered on a regionalised basis by 2020.
The proposal is for a new Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) to be created through combining the adoption services for the three authorities of Kent, London Borough of Bexley and Medway. These agencies wish to build on the success of their existing services to improve performance in meeting the needs of children who require permanence through adoption, by bringing together the best practice from each authority within the RAA. It is proposed that Kent will be the lead authority and the host for the RAA.
Reports on the development of an RAA across Kent, Bexley and Medway have previously been presented to Children’s Social Care & Health Cabinet Committee on 6th September 2016 and to CYPE Cabinet Committee on 7th September 2017. CYPE Cabinet Committee was asked to ENDORSE in principle the proposal to enter into formal dialogue with Medway Council and the London Borough of Bexley with a view to establishing a Regional Adoption Agency.
A report is being presented to CYPE Cabinet Committee on 28th June 2019 which builds on the formal conversations that have been taking place between the 3 local authorities since September 2017 by moving the project into a detailed design phase with ultimate, final sign off on the model to take place in September 2019.
Proposed Decision to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education:
To develop a Regional Adoption Agency model in collaboration with London Borough of Bexley and Medway Council which will be established in line with the government programme.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;
Decision status: For Determination
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 24/06/2019
Decision due: Not before 23rd Jul 2019 by Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance with statutory requirements
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education
Lead director: Sarah Hammond
Department: Education & Young People's Services
Contact: Caroline Smith, Assistant Director, Corporate Parenting, Integrated Children's Services Tel: 03000 415091 Email: email@example.com Tel: 03000 415091.
The strategic and service leads for adoption across the region have been engaged through monthly executive boards.
The project manager and service leads have begun early consultation work with adoption staff to gain feedback and input into the emerging model.
Formal consultation with adoption staff, through a joint change management procedure, is currently planned to take place as soon as possible after the formal decisions are made in each of the local authorities.
This matter was discussed at the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee meeting on 28th June 2019.
Financial implications: The overall model of delivery will cost no more than the current cost of services collectively across the region. Each local authority will be asked to contribute no more than its current budget for delivering adoption services. Kent County Council’s 2018-19 Adoption budget was £2,905,500 and further financial modelling work is being undertaken to analyse current budgets and, therefore, this figure may change slightly in the final Cabinet Committee report; however, the principal of no spend above current, agreed budgets will still apply. The RAA will aim to move from current spend to an activity led spending model by year 4 of implementation. The full business case will set out the phased approach to moving from current spend to activity led spend.
Legal implications: The Cabinet Committee report sets out the detailed legal implications associated with both hosting the RAA model and becoming a partner within the new regional arrangement. These will include but not be limited to: Implications of the TUPE transfer / or secondment of staff into Kent County Council, Indemnities and liabilities, Assets, Hosting implications and costs of hosting, Various other implications associated with entering into a formal partnership agreement.
Equalities implications: The Cabinet Committee report includes an Equalities Impact Assessment.