a) AWARD the contract, to the successful bidder identified as part of the procurement process for the provision of the Property Security element of the countywide SAFER Scheme for a maximum of four years (initial two-year contract, 1 December 2023 to 30 November 2025, with two, one-year optional extension periods, subject to robust contract monitoring, from 1 December 2025 – 30 November 2026 and 1 December 2026 – 30 November 2027)
b) DELEGATE authority to the Corporate Director Adult Social Care and Health, after consultation with the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health and the Corporate Director for Finance, to agree the relevant contract extensions as required; and
c) DELEGATE authority to the Corporate Director Adult Social Care and Health to take other 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.
Kent County Council (KCC) has a statutory responsibility under the Domestic Abuse (DA) Act 2021 to assess need, publish a strategy and commission Safe Accommodation support services to survivors of domestic abuse. Since 2021, the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has awarded a total of £12.6m new grant funding to the council to support implementation of these duties until 2025. Under the DA Act the definition of ‘safe accommodation’ includes refuges, Sanctuary Schemes, move-on, and dispersed accommodation.
The countywide assessment of need for support within ‘safe accommodation’ identified a gap in provision and found that there is not a geographically equitable Sanctuary Scheme offer across the county. A Sanctuary Scheme is a property where security or target hardening measures have been installed, enabling survivors to remain in their own homes safely if they chose to do so. It also incorporates an element of specialist domestic abuse support to the individuals residing there. It supports Priority 4 of KCC’s Strategic Statement 2022-2026 – New Models of Care and Support - in protecting the most vulnerable children and families from harm.
Kent’s proposed Sanctuary Access for Eligible Residents (SAFER) Scheme has been co-designed through extensive engagement with a range of stakeholders from Adult Social Care and Health, Children and Young People, Kent Community Safety Partnership, District, Borough and City councils, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent Fire and Rescue, Integrated Care Board, other Local Authorities with similar successful schemes, the market and those who have experienced domestic abuse, ensuring that the service is shaped by people with the right expertise and experience.
The countywide SAFER Scheme will be split into three service elements.
Following completion of the procurement process it is proposed to award the contract to the successful bidder, for the provision of the Property Security element of the countywide SAFER Scheme for a maximum of four years (initial two-year contract, with two, one-year optional extension periods, subject to robust contract monitoring).
Options Considered & Disregarded: As part of the procurement process the following options were considered and disregarded.
Option 1 - Do nothing. The Needs Assessment has shown that there is not a consistent offer of sanctuary across the county, resulting in an in equitable offer of support to survivors and their children. Doing nothing will not address this identified gap in services and therefore the council will not be meeting its statutory duties.
Option 2 – Delegate funding and responsibility for delivery of Property Security measures to district and boroughs across Kent and commission support for adult survivors residing in properties where measures have been applied. It is recognised that this would likely result in multiple procurements and the opportunity for efficiencies through collaborative commissioning would be lost. There would be 12 separate sanctuary offers across the county with separate referral routes, making pathways unclear for survivors and referrers.
Option 3 – Procure a Sanctuary Scheme (Property Security measures and support for adult survivors) for areas where there is not currently a provision in place only. (Canterbury, Gravesham, Thanet, Dover, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells) It is recognised that this would likely result in 7 separate sanctuary offers across the county with separate referral routes, making pathways unclear for survivors and referrers. All offers would need to ensure a clear pathway for the provision of support for adults and new support service for children (due to be procured in April 2023) It is viewed that option 3 would be challenging to implement and deliver geographic equitability and the opportunity to achieve full efficiencies through collaborative commissioning would be lost.
A procurement exercise has been undertaken to identify suitable suppliers for the Property Security element in line with decision 23/00022. This decision seeks to award the contract to the successful bidder identified as part of the procurement process. It is proposed that the contract award will be October 2023, with a mobilisation period between October and November 2023 and full service go-live from 1 December 2023
The contract will be for a maximum of four years, 1 December 2023 to 30 November 2025 (initial two-year contract) with two, one-year optional extension periods, subject to robust contract monitoring from 1 December 2025 – 30 November 2026 and 1 December 2026 – 30 November 2027.
The table below outlines the costs to KCC for the initial two years and extension options of the Property Security element of the SAFER Scheme, with the total contract value being £1,600,000.
KCC Domestic Abuse Act funding
Initial two-year contract term
Two, one-year optional extension periods
Total (Initial two-year contract term PLUS Two, one-year optional extension periods)
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 09/08/2023
Anticipated restriction: Part exempt - View reasons
Decision due: Not before 7th Sep 2023 by Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health
Reason: To allow the required 28 day notice period under Executive Decision arrangements
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health
Lead director: Richard Smith
Department: Social Care, Health & Wellbeing
Contact: Simon Mitchell, Senior Commissioner Tel: 03000 417156 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proposed decision was discussed at the Adult Social Care Cabinet Committee on 13 September 2023 and the recommendations were endorsed.
Financial implications: The contract will start on 1 December 2023 and end on 30 November 2025 (initial two-year contract) with two, one-year optional extension periods, subject to robust contract monitoring (from 1 December 2025 – 30 November 2026 and 1 December 2026 – 30 November 2027) and will be funded in full by the councils Domestic Abuse Act Grant allocation. The table below outlines the costs to KCC for the initial two years and extension options and can be met within the councils approved budget. KCC Domestic Abuse Act funding Initial two-year contract term £800,000 Two, one-year optional extension periods £800,000 Total (Initial two-year contract term PLUS Two, one-year optional extension periods) £1,600,000
Legal implications: The change in legislation in 2021, means that the council now has statutory duties to provide support to those residing in ‘safe accommodation’. The Kent SAFER Scheme including the Property Security element will ensure the council meets its new duties under the DA Act. A procurement exercise was undertaken to identify suitable suppliers in accordance with PCR 2015 Regulations. The Strategic Commissioning Division used the standard Terms and Conditions of contract. There will need to be resource allocated at the end point contract award for contracts to be signed and sealed.
Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) has been completed, given that the SAFER Scheme is proposed to be a countywide service available to all survivors of domestic abuse, the EQIA did not identify any potential adverse effects of the proposal. This is a live document and will be developed further as the once the new service has been procured.