Agenda item

Short Breaks Provision in Lincolnshire

(To receive a report by Carl Miller, Commercial and Procurement Manager – People Services, which invites the Committee to consider a report on the re-procurement of the Short Breaks and Emergency Placements Service for people with learning disabilities, which is due to be considered by the Executive Councillor for Adult Care, Health and Children's Services between 4 – 5 July 2019)


A report was received which invited the Committee to consider the re-procurement of the Short-Breaks and Emergency Placements Service for people with Learning Disabilities which was due to be considered by the Executive Councillor for Adult Care, Health and Children's Services between 4 and 5 July 2019.


Members were guided through the report and were provided with the opportunity to ask questions to the officers present in relation to the information contained within the report and some of the points raised during discussion included the following:

·         One member commented that they knew what a vital role Cedar House in Spalding played for people who stayed there and for their families.

·         Members were advised that there had been a good level of interest from providers, and it was thought that there would be more providers who would come forward once the contract went out to tender.

·         One member commented that they were fully supportive of this provision continuing, and were reassured by the staffing ratio's proposed.  Gratitude for the work that the officers did was expressed and it was commented that the Council should be proud that they offered this service.

·         In terms of 'Alternatives Considered' it was queried what consideration had been given to examine whether there were benefits to bringing the service in-house.  Members were advised that contracted services were performing well, and so there had been a focus on a continuation of these contracted services.  It was highlighted that one of the responsibilities of the executive director had been to make £40m in savings, and these savings had in part been made by outsourcing.  It was unlikely that the authority would be able to run these services at the same cost as the providers.  If there was any scheme which would be better value to be run in-house, it would be brought to members.

·         Members were advised that there were currently no regulated care services provided in-house.  It was highlighted that for the Council to provide regulated services, there would be a need to review the skills base of the directorate.

·         It was commented that this model did provide the authority with flexibility, and the authority was commissioning services for its own assets.

·         It was suggested that there should be a comparison on costs for providing the service in house.

·         Queries were raised regarding the presentation of the finance information, as members could not determine whether it was value for money.

·         It was clarified that the contract cost of £4,609,925 was the total cost of the contract over 5 years, based on the combined spend for 2018-19 for Cedar House and Swallow Lodge of £921,985.  It was hoped to manage the 1:1 costs by specifying the staffing.  A request was made for a financial schedule for this proposal to be made available, and this be included in future reports to the Committee.

·         It was queried what evidence the providers had given the authority that they had incurred additional expenditure, and members were informed that this would be based on the assessments made by council officers.  All additional spend would need to be evidenced and substantiated.

·         The strategy was to support people and it needed to be acknowledged that it would not be possible to identify every cost, particularly in relation to 1:1 costs.

·         It was queried whether the costs could be compared to what other councils provide, to provide some benchmarking information.




1.    That the Adults and Community Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee support the recommendation to the Executive Councillor as set out in the report.

2.    That the following comments to be passed to the Executive Councillor:


            On 3 July 2019, the Adults and Community Wellbeing Scrutiny          Committee supported the three recommendations in the report to the       Executive Councillor.  The Committee recorded its strong support for     the re-procurement of this important service, which was vital for carers         across the county.  Several members of the Committee were aware of     the excellent physical environments in Swallow Lodge (North         Hykeham) and Cedar House (Spalding); and the high quality services             provided currently, including the expertise in dealing with the various           levels of need of service users.    


            The Committee explored whether an in-house option for this service            had been considered as part of the 'Alternatives Considered' section of   the report.  This discussion took place within the overall context of the             Council's commissioning policy and the importance of securing value         for money so that the existing high quality Short Breaks service    continued.  The Committee concluded by stressing the importance of     value for money in the procurement process and noted that certain   future procurement reviews might include a comparison with in-house        option, in particular where there was evidence of the independent          sector not being able to provide value for money.    


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