Issue details

21/00053 - SEN Therapies Commissioning Strategy

Proposed decision –

 

Implement A Qualified Provider List to fulfil the Council’s responsibilities for SEN Therapies provision – which will meet the needs identified in a child’s Education Health and Care Plan and where there is an identified gap in health provision.

 

         Decision required because total value of contracts will exceed threshold for a Key Decision.

 

         Background – KCC currently commission a range of therapy services to meet the needs identified in a child’s Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and where there is an identified gap in health provision.  Services are currently purchased from multiple different providers, ranging from special schools to individual therapists.

 

         There are currently three distinct arrangements in place, Preferred Provider List, Non-preferred providers and personalised funding arrangements.

 

         Services are currently purchased from over 47 providers, ranging from special schools to individual therapists.  The types of therapies purchased include speech and language, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), hydrotherapy, play therapy and Occupational Therapy (OT).

 

Options                  

 

1. Do Nothing.

 

         The services continue to be delivered via the current spot purchasing                   arrangements - no additional staff resources would be required or disruption to delivery of current service levels. However, this option does not comply with the Public Contract Regulations 2015. Therefore, the current arrangements limit KCC’s ability to shape and control the market to ensure the right capacity and provision is available. KCC has limited influence over the outcomes of the service and limited contract management tools to improve supplier poor-performance.

                    

2. Establish a Dynamic Purchasing System

 

         Implementing a DPS would have limited disruption to status quo and delivery of current services. The DPS would allow new entrants into the market with providers being required to pass a minimum capability standard can be split into lots to accommodate different specialism, or location.

 

         There is however, currently a complex supply market, with a mixture of larger suppliers, NHS providers, charities, and sole traders. The market is also delicate in that there are scarcity of provision and supply in particular with Occupational Therapy services and is essential that care is taken to prevent destabilising the current market that we have. These differing categories of suppliers could result in a variable appetite for a formal tender process, possibly impacting continuity of supply.

                    

3. Establish a Qualified Provider List

 

         The Proposed decision to establish a Qualified Provider List would enable KCC to stabilise this market and allow better planning for future demand for services.  This option is also preferrable for smaller providers.

 

         Currently there is a preferred provider list and qualities framework to ensure best outcomes for children and young people, however moving to a QPL, will in addition provide some stability and sustainability to this market and provide a compliant contractual basis to work more closely with providers when planning future requirements.

 

Risks

 

           The risk if we do not take a decision are discussed in Option 1, this option does comply with the Public Contract Regulations 2015. Therefore, the current arrangements limit KCC’s ability to shape and control the market to ensure the right capacity and provision is available. KCC has limited influence over the outcomes of the service and limited contract management tools to improve supplier poor-performance.

Decision type: Key

Decision status: For Determination

Notice of proposed decision first published: 15/06/2021

Decision due: Not before 14th Jul 2021 by Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services

Contact: Sarah Challiss, Commissioning Officer Tel: 03000 415356 Email: sarah.challiss@kent.gov.uk.

Financial implications: - The SEN spend for SEN Therapies in 2019-20/2020-21 is summarised below: - Personalised Therapy for Named Child (Spot Purchased) Year Spend 2019-2020 £381,707k 2020-2021 £428,917k - This falls under the Special Educational Needs & Psychology Services key service line within Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Division budget, line 65 in the 2021/22 KCC Budget.

Legal implications: - The SEND Code of Practice states: - Health or social care provision which educates or trains a child or young person must be treated as special educational provision and included in Section F of the EHC plan. (9.73 of the SEND Code of Practice 2015) - Speech and language therapy and other therapy provision can be regarded as either education or health provision, or both. However, since communication is so fundamental in education, addressing speech and language impairment should normally be recorded as special educational provision unless there are exceptional reasons for not doing so. (9.76 of the SEND Code of Practice 2015) - In cases where health care provision is to be treated as special educational provision, ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the provision is made rests with the local authority (unless the child’s parent has made suitable arrangements). (9.76 of the SEND Code of Practice 2015) - Invicta Law have been engaged to provide relevant advice regarding the e

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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