Issue details

20/00124 - Provision of therapeutic practitioners for Kent's post adoption support service

Proposed decision:


Authorise KCC to directly employ therapeutic practitioners to operate as part of the multi-disciplinary team that provides post-adoption support services.


Agree to a contingency arrangement for a short extension of the current contract of up to three months to ensure a smooth transition to inhouse provision


Delegate decisions about the establishment of the new service to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education, or other Officer as instructed by the Corporate Director in liaison with the Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services



Reason(s) for decision:


Currently, KCC commissions the Thomas Coram Foundation (known as Coram) to employ and provide clinical supervision for five practitioners who provide family systemic therapy, theraplay, clinical psychology and occupational therapy that forms part of Kent’s post-adoption support offer for adoptive families in Kent. KCC now has the capability and opportunity to bring the therapeutic element of the service inhouse when the current contract expires in March 2021.




Kent’s adoption services are now part of Adoption Partnership South East, the Regional Adoption Agency for Kent, Medway and Bexley. This means that the therapeutic input will need to be flexible enough to respond to changing needs and potentially to expand the scope of provision to cover Medway and Bexley as and when there is a need and funding is available.


Options (other options considered but discarded):


The main alternative to bringing the service inhouse is to retender the contract before it expires it March. This option would not offer the same level of flexibility to adapt and respond to changing the requirements of Adoption Partnership South East evolve over the next few years. Bringing the therapeutic service inhouse will also mean that KCC will no longer need to pay a management fee to an external provider to manage the service on our behalf.


Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 15/12/2020

Decision due: Not before 13th Jan 2021 by Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
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 Integrated Children's Services

Lead director: Sarah Hammond

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: Christy Holden, Head of Strategic Commissioning, Children and Young People’s Services Phone number: 03000 415356.

Financial implications: The annual cost of the therapeutic practitioner part of the post-adoption support service is £310,000 per annum. In recent years, this cost has been mostly covered by external income from the government’s Adoption Support Fund (ASF). The net annual cost of the service is included in the KCC budget for 2021/22. Analysis of the costs regarding both options reveals that overall there is no difference between either option in the budget required, so the decision on who employs the practitioners is cost neutral. Directly employing the therapeutic practitioners does mean that a management fee will not paid to an external provider, however this saving will used to offset the higher salary and pension contribution costs.

Legal implications: If implemented as proposed, the employment of existing therapeutic practitioners would transfer from Coram to KCC, as required under TUPE legislation. The TUPE transfer process would be managed by KCC’s HR department. A further legal implication is that it may be necessary to extend the current contract for a short period of up to three months if unforeseen circumstances mean that more time is needed to ensure a smooth transition process.

Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) screening has been completed and has concluded that the proposed decision does not present any adverse equality impact.


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