Agenda item

Accommodation based support service for care leavers

To approve the commissioning of a service to provide vulnerable care leavers with support to develop their skills, resilience, opportunities for training and employment, engagement with relevant services and integration with their community to enable them to move towards independent living. This service will also help the young people to understand their rights and responsibilities as tenants and what to expect of Landlords.


The cabinet member children and families introduced the report, supported by the head of community commissioning and resources and the head of looked after children. It was noted that:

·         This would be a new service for young people with complex needs;

·         The properties to be used included some already owned by the council and an additional property that had been acquired, works to renovate the buildings were expected to be completed by Spring 2020 and the new service would be commissioned alongside these works;

·         The needs of young people needing this type of service were carried but included risk of exploitation and criminal behaviour;

·         There was growing demand for this type of service and in the past the council had placed young people outside the county, this had been at a cost and the quality of provision had been variable, this new service would be more cost effective and give the council greater control over quality;

·         It was hoped that many service users would transition to being fully independent but this would not always be the case, the service would work with partners in the NHS, probation service and universal services such as further and higher education providers with regards to appropriate ongoing support;

·         There had been substantial market engagement in advance of the procurement so the council could be confident that potential providers would come forward;

·         The buildings would offer a range of types of accommodation according to the needs of the individuals and would have an on site facility for staff to work with the young people;

·         Using council owned properties gave a measure of control and simplified operating arrangements, the council would lease the building to the service provider so they would be responsible for collecting rents and maintenance of the building;

·         It was noted that there was reluctance from social housing providers to take on young people in this cohort due to perceived risks such as non-payment of rents;

·         The proposal was welcomed as an example that arm’s length commissioning might not be the best option in all circumstances.


The chair of the children and young persons scrutiny committee reported that the committee had scrutinised the care to be provided within the building to understand the support being offered to care leavers. The committee had been assured that support would be 24/7 with a lot of one to one support and involving outside agencies as necessary. The committee felt that the service should be reviewed at a future point to ensure that the desired outcomes were being achieved, and had requested that a visit be arranged to the property before it was occupied.


Group leaders welcomed the proposed approach and agreed that the service should be reviewed at a future point to check it was meeting its stated aims. The decision to acquire the building for the service was lauded.   



It was agreed that:


(a) the commissioning of a service to provide support and accommodation management for vulnerable care leavers in council owned properties through an open procurement process be approved;

(b) the director for children and families be authorised to take all operational decisions necessary to implement the service including award of contract for the accommodation based service for a period of up to five years and with a maximum value of £2.5m.

Supporting documents: