A) Commence formal procurement activity to tender for a Domestic Abuse Support Service in Safe Accommodation for Children and Young People affected by Domestic Abuse,
B) Delegate authority to the Corporate Director CYPE to take relevant actions to facilitate the required procurement activity
C) Delegate authority to the Corporate Director CYPE to award the contract and take relevant actions, including but not limited to finalising the terms of and entering into required contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary to implement the decision.
Part Four of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 brings the statutory duty for local authorities to provide support for all victims and their children residing in all types of Safe Accommodation, which includes refuges, Sanctuary Schemes, move-on, and dispersed accommodation.
Domestic Abuse support for children and young people residing in Safe Accommodation in Kent is fragmented, inconsistent, and difficult to find. Many young people in Safe Accommodation rely on community services provided by voluntary and community sector organisations, which are often grant funded and inconsistent across the county.
The majority of cases that Integrated Children’s Services (ICS) interact with are linked to either present or historic Domestic Abuse, therefore ICS currently spend a significant amount of time and resources working with children and families who have been affected by Domestic Abuse. This proposed service, whilst may not reduce caseload numbers, could alleviate some pressure on KCC’s Children’s Social Care services that are supporting victims of domestic abuse and also ensure more children have access to support.
The current Domestic Abuse (DA) provision commissioned by KCC, with multi-agency funding, is managed through the Kent Integrated Domestic Abuse Services (KIDAS) contract, which is managed by the Vulnerable Adults Commissioning Team. This contract provides support for adult victims and survivors (16+) both within the community and refuges.
There is currently no KCC commissioned Domestic Abuse support offer that specifically targets children and young people residing in safe accommodation.
Historically, Local Children’s Partnerships Groups have set Domestic Abuse as a priority within their districts and grant funded organisations and projects accordingly.
A significant amount of activity has taken place to understand how a service can be effective for the children and young people who will be using it, whilst adhering to the requirements of the funding.
A proposed service model was co-produced with statutory partners through a series of workshops. Commissioners then conducted market engagement via Kent business Portal to obtain feedback which was incorporated into the service model.
Young people’s feedback was obtained through a workshop and subsequently incorporated into the service specification to ensure the service design was capturing the voice of the child.
The proposed service model has been approved through all appropriate Directorate governance routes and KCC Domestic Abuse governance routes.
The Council is seeking the provision of high-quality specialist Domestic Abuse support for children and victims residing in all types of Safe Accommodation. This Support Service will ensure KCC meets its statutory duty set out in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
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: 10/01/2023
Decision due: Not before 9th Feb 2023 by Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
Lead director: Stuart Collins
Department: Education & Young People's Services
Contact: Christy Holden, Head of Strategic Commissioning, Children and Young People’s Services Telephone number: 03000 415356.
The Children, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee considered the decision on 17 January 2023.
Financial implications: New Burdens Funding was received by Kent County Council for the delivery of additional duties in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. A maximum annual contract value applies to this contract of £760,446 and will be funded in full by the New Burdens Funding. The proposed contract length is two years (24 months) giving a contract value of £1.52m. The contract will have the potential to be extended for one plus one year (12+12 months). Should the two (12+12 months) extensions be granted, the value of the total contract would amount to £3.04m. The cost of staffing resource to the Local Authority to procure this service is fully funded through the New Burdens Funding. This is primarily tendering, evaluating, and awarding a contract and finalising mobilisation plans. This process will be managed by a Commissioner and Project Officer.
Legal implications: The Local Authority has a statutory obligation to meet the duty set out in Part Four of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 to provide support for all victims in safe accommodation. Under Section three of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, children are seen as victims in their own right if they have experienced, witnessed, or heard Domestic Abuse. This duty is currently not being met through KCC commissioned services. A Safe Accommodation Support Service for children and young people will allow KCC to meet the statutory duty set out in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
Equalities implications: An Equalities Impact Assessment has been completed and identified no high negative impacts on any of the recognised protected categories. Whilst, by its nature, the service will exclude those who do not fulfil the eligibility criterion of residing in ‘Safe Accommodation’ (as defined by the 2021 DA Act), the choice of these restrictions is justified due to funding restrictions, and any other protected groups are not affected.