a) DIRECTLY AWARD a new contract, under the same terms and conditions to Clearsprings Ready Homes from 1 November 2022 to 31 March 2023 for Shared Accommodation services.
b) DIRECTLY AWARD a new contract under the same terms and conditions to Look Ahead Care and Support, Sanctuary and YMCA from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023for the Young Person’s Supported Accommodation and Floating Support (YPSAFS) services.
c) Delegate authority for the Corporate Director Children, Young People and Education in consultation with the Cabinet Member to award a contract following a competitive tender process and implement the Decision.
The Young People Supported Accommodation and Floating Support (YPSAFS) and Shared Accommodation contracts are due to expire on 30 September 2022 and 31 October 2022, respectively. There is no provision in either contract to extend further.
Significant commissioning activity has taken place over the last year culminating in a business case and commissioning plan. At the beginning of December, as the reports were being prepared to recommission the services, Ofsted announced an introduction of a regulation regime for all accommodation for 16/17-year-olds that currently sits outside of regulation, of which include these services. The age range for the current provision is 16-21.
This has derailed the commissioning intentions, developed through engagement with young people, KCC staff and District and Borough Councils, and requires a full commissioning programme once the requirements of KCC and of potential providers are known.
Since the announcement in December 2021, the implementation date has already moved from April 2022 to April 2023, although the lead-in time will still be to the Autumn of 2023, with inspections commencing in April 2024. The nature of these contracts is based on relationships with landlords and establishing new short-term contracts where lease arrangements are in place would be complicated, costly and impact on the young people living in those properties.
In addition, there are changing demands for accommodation and support services. This is a result of population changes, increase in the number of adolescents entering care and an increase in the Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) population over previous years. Demand for all provisions has exceeded the anticipated forecast levels within the previous Sufficiency Strategy, which has put additional pressure on all services.
KCC has a statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of Kent Children in Care and ensure best value for money it spends on behalf of the Kent population. It also has a statutory responsibility to ensure there is sufficient safe accommodation for Children in Care.
The full range of options is now currently unclear as the level of detail from Ofsted needed is still in development. The one option that would allow services to continue to the point of known introduction of regulation would be to directly award contracts, under the same terms and conditions to the incumbent providers. This would allow time to run a compliant procurement understanding better the service requirements and specifying clearly the need.
The current challenges and re-commissioning risks have been identified
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: For Determination
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 16/02/2022
Decision due: Not before 17th Mar 2022 by Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
Reason: To allow 28 days after FED publication
Lead director: Sarah Hammond
Department: Education & Young People's Services
Contact: Christy Holden, Head of Strategic Commissioning, Children and Young People’s Services.
Financial implications: The annual value of these contracts is approximately £8.8million combined. The Shared Accommodation service element is largely funded from the Home Office grant and is the largest area of spend at £5.1m. The remainder of shared accommodation contract (£0.8m) along with the YPSAFS contract is funded from the General Fund. The YPSAFS contract is £2.4-£2.8m per year dependent on the number of children in care placed in the service. Assuming providers will accept a new contract for five/six months respectively at the same level of cost, this is already included in the revenue budget under the following budget lines: “Looked After Children- Care and Support”, “Children in Need – Care and Support”, “Care Leavers Service” and “Asylum”.
Legal implications: The Council has a statutory duty to provide suitable and safe accommodation that has the right level of support for Children in Care (including UASC) in accordance with the Children’s Act 1989. The Council must provide Care Leavers (including former UASC) with support and financial support to assist in promoting their welfare, especially in relation to maintaining suitable accommodation and helping them to access education, training, and employment. Spending the Council’s Money requires procurement to be competitive. Directly awarding the contract could be considered a suitable route under Regulation 72 of the Public Contract Regulations 2015.
Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) was completed as part of the planned redesign and recommissioning of the Shared Accommodation and YPSAFS service. Directly awarding contracts would pose no immediate change to the service for those young people and therefore the risk of any adverse impact is limited. A full EqIA will be completed as part of the new full commissioning activity. A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) for the new service will be implemented following contract award.