Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To seek approval for the purchase of 4 new
children's homes; two for children with disabilities
Consideration was given to a report of the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education / Director of Children’s Services that sought approval to enter into negotiations to purchase new homes to accommodate children who were cared for by the local authority.
Reason for decision
Cabinet on the 1st October 2019 approved a 5 year strategy for children’s social care. The Strategy involved a Greater Manchester wide innovation programme to deliver improvements across the wider area through three strands. The ACT: Achieving Change Together programme for vulnerable adolescents; the “No Wrong Door” edge of care programme to reduce the number of children in residential care; and the Strengthening Families pre-birth service for mothers who have previously had children removed.
Cabinet on 14th February 2023 noted, that following the Covid-19 pandemic, there had been a significant increase in the number of children coming into care. Whilst significant additional measures were being undertaken to address these pressures, there was a significant, current and pressing need to address the lack of sufficient in-borough placements to meet the needs of our cared for children in Rochdale.
Cabinet on 22nd November 2022 approved the Capital Programme to be distributed for consultation, the full programme was then approved at Budget Setting Council on 22nd February 2023. The programme included a capital spend allocation of £1.4m for residential children’s homes.
Each of the two homes would provide places for up to three children, with live in carers. Together the new houses would provide up to six additional places for cared for children within a home style environment in the borough. This had the potential to reduce the cost of external placements by £466k annually with the caveat that the council had a duty to find the most appropriate setting for each child.
The alternative to investing the capital sums into providing two council run children’s homes was to continue to depend on extremely expensive external residential care provision. This option was not recommended as it would lead to an increase in the children’s social care financial deficit position.
Report author: Fay Davies
Publication date: 29/11/2023
Date of decision: 28/11/2023
Decided at meeting: 28/11/2023 - Cabinet
Effective from: 07/12/2023