Issue details

23/00083 - Supported Accommodation Service 16 - 19 and transitional arrangements

Proposed decision


To approve the new Supported Accommodation Service (age 16 to 19) and additional transition arrangements for current 18+ Care Leavers up to the age of 21.


Reason for the decision


The new Supported Accommodation service has been designed to promote independence from age 19 onwards. The current service provides support up to age 21.


The decision confirms the procurement and commissioning arrangements put in place to progress and deliver on the plans outlined in Decision 22/00079, concluding the necessary Supported Accommodation Service review and recommissioning.




Ofsted have introduced regulations for current unregulated accommodation from 28 October 2023. Through 2021, the Children’s Commissioning Team undertook a full review of the Shared Accommodation Service and Young Persons Supported Accommodation and Floating Support Service, where the contracts now expire on 31 March 2024 (Decision - 22/00079 - Supported Accommodation ( The outcome of this work was to recommend that the services be aligned, categorised into levels of need, and expanded to reduce the reliance on semi-independent accommodation and have one clear accommodation pathway.


The proposed new services will comprise of the following:


·       High/medium Supported Accommodation with on-site staff, set number of units (90) for Children in care aged 16/17.

·       Low needs Supported Accommodation with outreach support staff, based on demand, for Children in care, Children in Need and UAS children transitioning from the Reception Centres aged 16/17.

·       18+ Accommodation only service, based on demand, for 18 year olds.


Recognising the current accommodation service supports young people until age 21, it is recommended that a 24-month contract be awarded to Clearsprings Ready Homes, the incumbent provider of the Shared Accommodation (16 to 21 years old) Service from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2026 for those young people over 18 in the legacy service.


Options (other options considered but discarded)


1.   Continue to accommodate young people aged 16-21 (All 18+ within the accommodation only model).

2.   Move people on at the age of 19 with no transitional period for over 19’s.

3.   Move young people on at the age of 19 with transitional contract for 12 months (to 31 March 25) to allow phased 19+ move on approach.

4.   Move young people on at the age of 18 with no transitional period for over 18’s.

5.   Move young people on at the age of 18 with transitional contract for 12-months (to 31 March 25) to allow phased 18+ move on approach.


How the proposed decision supports the Framing Kent's Future - Our Council Strategy 2022-2026


Priority 4: New models of care and support - To support the most vulnerable children and families in our county, ensuring our social work practice supports manageable caseloads, reflective learning, joined up safeguarding and effective corporate parenting.


Our commitment is to reshape our commissioning practice to ensure we build strategic partnerships with our providers, through earlier engagement, more consistent and proactive commissioning practice, and a stronger focus on co-designing services.


Financial Implications


The estimated value of the new Supported Accommodation service over the four years is for a maximum value of £44.5m but no guarantee is given as to the actual value of the contract. Including the 4 year extension period, the value of the contract is £89m.


Costs are offset with semi-independent, Children in Need rent contributions, Housing Benefit Reclaim, Council Tax and TV licences.


A Home Office grant will fund most of the Low Need Supported Accommodation service as well as the transitional contract as 90% of young people are UAS children. The remaining accommodation costs along with the High/Medium Need Supported Accommodation service is funded from the General Fund.


Additional funding to support the two year transition will be supported by £500k New Burdens funding from the DfE.


There is a saving identified of £700k in the 2023/2024 budget in pursuing a policy of independence for young people from the age of 19. The new contract will not directly deliver the savings, however the additional focus from the Care Leavers service to actively identify those who are ready to move on will achieve the savings, along with the receipt of housing benefit.


Assuming Clearsprings Ready Homes accept a new contract for 24-months at the same level and cost, this is 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”.


Data Protection Implications


Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA) for any recommissioned service will be developed and implemented following contract awards in 2023.




Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;

Decision status: For Determination

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 08/09/2023

Decision due: Not before 7th Oct 2023 by Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
Reason: o allow the required 28 day notice period under Executive Decision arrangements

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services

Lead director: Kevin Kasaven

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: Christy Holden, Head of Strategic Commissioning, Children and Young People’s Services.

Consultation process

Cabinet Committee consultation planned:  CYPE 12 September 2023


Which Divisions / Local Members are particularly affected: all


Have views been sought from local Members? 



Financial implications: Financial implications included as part of the description.

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 UAS children) in accordance with the Children's Act 1989. The Council must provide Care Leavers (including former UAS children) with support and financial support to assist in promoting their welfare, especially in relation to maintaining suitable accommodation and helping them access education, training, and employment. There is no statutory duty for Kent County Council to provide accommodation to Care Leavers above the age of 18. Spending the Council's Money requires procurement of this value to be competitive. Directly awarding the contract for accommodation for those aged 18-21 is considered a suitable route under Regulation 72(b) and (e) of the Public Contract Regulations 2015, given the current circumstances and new Legislation introduced for Supported Accommodation.

Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) was originally completed as part of the planned redesign and commissioning of the Supported Accommodation service and has been reviewed to reflect young people moving on at the age of 19, for those new service entrants. The majority of young people aged 18+ in the service are former UAS children that have aged through the Shared Accommodation service and the expectation is these individuals will be moved into their own home, supported by their Personal Advisor.