The purpose of this report is threefold, firstly to seek authorisation for Gloucestershire County Council (the Council) to continue to participate in the current collaborative framework led by Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES) for the provision of independent fostering services to participating Local Authorities. It is the intention of Bath and North East Somerset to extend the contract on behalf of participating Local Authorities for a period of 1 year from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2022.
(Participating Local Authorities are: Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire Councils).
This framework will allow the participating authorities to secure sufficient independent foster placements for children and young people in care.
The current flexible Framework Agreement took effect on 1st April 2017 for a term of four years until 31st March 2021. It replaced a previously existing framework that had been in place since 2012. Due to COVID19 and ongoing pandemic restrictions/challenges it has not been possible for the lead Local Authority (BANES) to conduct a new tender exercise to replace or update the current Framework Agreement in a timely manner, hence the need to seek an extension.
Secondly the report seeks authorisation for a 1.5% uplift in fees for new placements on the Framework from 1 April 2021.
Thirdly the report seeks authorisation for Childrens Services to join Fostering Frameworks in other regions specifically to meet our sufficiency needs in cultural matching for children and young people in care and for Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) placements for those at risk of custody where these needs cannot be met either by in-house or current Framework Agreement provision. At present no other Fostering Frameworks have been found that are available to join as they all name specific Local Authorities as participants. However as these reach renewal stage in coming years there is an opportunity to investigate and join these Frameworks with a view to increasing cultural matching and PACE opportunities within the financial security of a Framework arrangement.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure > £500,000 and 2 Divisions affected;
Decision status: For Determination
Notice of proposed decision first published: 17/11/2020
Decision due: 16 Dec 2020 by Cabinet
Lead member: Cllr Richard Boyles, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Children's Safeguarding and Early Years
Contact: Chris Spencer, Director of Children's Services Email: email@example.com.
Planned Dates: From January 2021 discussions will take place with sub-regional partners to initiate the 12 month extension and to specify and plan the tender opportunity from 1 April 2022. Discussions will also take effect with other legally compliant regional and sub-regional Frameworks to bolster capacity and choice.