Issue details

23/00045 - Community Support Services for Children, Young People and Adults with Sensory Needs

Proposed decision: To:
a) commence formal procurement activity to establish a Framework of providers to deliver Community Support Services for Children, Young People and Adults with Sensory Needs, for a maximum period of four years; and

b) delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Adult Social Care and Health to award contracts and take relevant action, including, but not limited to, finalising the contractual terms, entering into a contract and other legal agreements, as necessary to implement the decision.

Reason for the decision:

Currently, one-to-one ongoing assistance for children, young people and adults with sensory needs who we support are spot purchased via Individual (‘Indi’) contracts when this is arranged on someone’s behalf by the council. This means that there are no clearly defined contract terms or specifications used to ensure consistent outcomes for people.

The aim of this commissioning is to support people across the lifespan pathway with sensory needs to live as safely and independently as possible by providing them with the assistance required as identified within their Care and Support Plan. All support is person-centred based on identified needs, but typically the type of support provided assists adults with maintaining and improving their independence by supporting people with activities such as managing finances, shopping, using public transport to attend appointments and social activities. The need for ‘specialist’ support to be commissioned is to ensure that a person’s individual communication needs are met by the support worker assisting them (e.g., British sign language).

The number of adults in Kent predicted to have serious impairments is predicted to rise in the future for all three types of sensory needs. This commissioning activity supports:

Framing Kent’s Future, the council strategy (2022-2026), in particular by ‘supporting vulnerable children and families and helping adults who draw on social care to lead the lives they want to live and improving the way we design and deliver our care and support services’.
Making a Difference Every Day, the strategy for Adult Social Care (2022-2027) which aims to ensure that ‘People experience flexible and creative ways of arranging support which enable a balance between choice for the person we support, quality and value’.
Kent’s Strategy for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (2021-2024), particularly the principle that Kent is a place where all children, young people with SEND and their families ‘benefit from working with skilled practitioners who understand their needs and how these can be best met’.

It is recommended that contracted purchasing arrangements are put in place via a Framework of providers for a maximum period of four years. Commissioning the service externally will establish innovation, choice and control for the people we support.

Other Options Considered and Rejected

Do nothing (continue to arrange individual packages of support on a spot purchase basis) – This option is likely to lead to a lack of consistency in service, with no minimum standards enforceable and is not compliant with the Public Sector Contract Regulations (2015).

Provide the service in-house – This would restrict the choice of people eligible for support, restrict flexibility in service delivery and not take advantage of existing specialist knowledge and skills available within the VCSE sector.

Vary an existing contract – This would only allow for a short-term solution as the contract that this service could potentially be added to is over half way through its contracted term (excluding potential extensions), and the lack of a competitive process would reduce the ability to demonstrate value for money.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 10/05/2023

Decision due: Not before 8th Jun 2023 by Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Lead director: Richard Smith

Department: Social Care, Health & Wellbeing

Contact: Anthony Kamps, Finance Business Partner 03000411290 Email: Tel: 01622 694965.


The proposed decision was discussed at the Adult Social Care Cabinet Committee meeting on 17 May 2023.

Financial implications: The estimated budget requirements for spend split by council Directorate are: Adult Social Care and Health: services: £229,000.00 per annum/ £916,000.00 over 4 years Children, Young People and Education: £30,000.00 per annum/ £120,000.00 over 4 years. TOTAL: £259,000.00 per annum/ £1,036,000.00 over 4 years.

Legal implications: Commissioners will ensure compliance with the Public Contract Regulations (2015) and Spending the Council's Money guidance in relation to the procurement undertaken.

Equalities implications: An initial Equality Impact Assessment has been conducted and has concluded that there should be no negative impact on people with protected characteristics. This will be reviewed and updated as necessary throughout the commissioning and contracting process. Data Protection implications: A Data Protection Impact Assessment will be required for this activity and is in development.