Agenda item

Report to identify options to deliver registered residential children home provision in county for children and young people aged 11-18

To agree the option to commission a single Supplier, through a competitive tender exercise, to deliver two, two bedded children’s residential homes within Herefordshire to increase local sufficiency in line with Herefordshire Council’s Placement Sufficiency Strategy for Children and Young people.



The Cabinet member for Children and Young People introduced the report and highlighted that the sufficiency strategy 2023-2028 sets out the current challenge in delivering sufficiency of placement types within the County.  As part of this work the Council are building relationships with providers to facilitate greater availability in a local capacity, developing the fostering service and reducing the number of children in care.  Noted that in due course Cabinet will consider whether Herefordshire Council will re-enter the residential market. 


The report acknowledged that residential care will be required for a number of children at any point in time and will look to procure four beds across two sites for children aged 11 to 18 years old.  The report recognises that occupancy rates and matching is complex, which is why two by two bedroom units was considered the most viable option. 


Cabinet Members discussed the report and it was noted that:


Unassisted asylum seeking children go straight into Herefordshire Council’s care.

The time line for Herefordshire Council to prepare a report in respect of developing its own in house residential care facility is estimated at around 6 months.


With regards to increasing the scale of the provision proposed it was confirmed that this can be increased if the 80% capacity is being exceeded.   


It was confirmed that it is down to each Local Authority area and what sufficiency placement strategies are in place in respect of re-entering the residential care market.  Whilst there has been a Government report commissioned to review children’s social care, conducted by Josh McAllister published in May 2022, there has been no detail around the Government’s response to the recommendations.  However, a revised working together document is due to be published. 


Group leaders generally welcomed the report. It was noted that whilst it is an expensive provision it is a necessary one for young people in the County. Queried why the Council are not using existing placement locations.  It was raised whether the Council will be commissioning private providers and requested that consideration is given to the location in respect of providing stability of placements.


In response to the queries it was confirmed that the Council will be commissioning private providers. 


It was unanimously resolved that:


a)     Approve the commissioning of two, two bedroomed children`s residential homes within Herefordshire, through a procurement exercise up the maximum projected value of £1.3 million annually and £6.3million over a maximum of five years (3yrs with potential extension of 1 year + 1 year) which will provide local placements to four children aged 11-18);


b)     Delegate authority to the Corporate Director - Children and Young People to approve all tender documentation;


c)     Delegate authority to the Corporate Director – Children and Young People, in consultation with the Cabinet Member Children and Young People, to enter into a contract with the preferred Supplier following the tender exercise;


d)     Following Political Group Consultation, approve officers to undertake work to also consider the option to develop an in house provision to further increase local sufficiency for children’s placements. This will require sourcing accommodation via a capital bid, a report will come back to Cabinet at a later date.


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