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Sure Start Hastings and St Leonards, National Childrens Home

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					                                                                                   Agenda Item

Report to:               Lead Member for Children and Young People; and Libraries

Date:                    22 April 2005

Title of Report:         Sure Start Hastings and St Leonards, National Children’s Home

By:                      Director of Children’s Services

Purpose of Report:       To seek approval from the Lead Member for the commissioning of
                         services from the National Children’s Home (NCH) on behalf of the Sure
                         Start Hastings and St Leonards Programme.


RECOMMENDATION - The Lead Member is requested to:

1. Approve the County Council (ESCC) entering into an agreement with NCH to manage the
   delivery of the Sure Start Children’s Centre’s programme to meet the targets and milestones
   described in the Hastings and St Leonards Delivery Plan subject to the proper transfer of the
   relevant property assets to ESCC; and

2. Grant a waiver under the Council’s Contract Standing Order 2.3 to allow the management
   arrangements outlined above
________________________________________________________________________________

1.      Financial Appraisal

1.1     The Council’s contribution to this programme is through:
           delivering the Accountable Body role
           commissioning and monitoring the programme delivery by NCH
           ensuring the delivery of existing Council services in the area meets its commitment in
           respect of agreed contribution to this programme.

1.2   The above will be delivered within existing Council budgets. The funding profile of the Sure Start
programme is for 10 years, from 2002. Funding for the programme will begin to taper in the sixth year.

2.      Supporting Information

2.1     The Hastings and St Leonards Sure Start programme, soon to become a Children’s Centre,
started in November 2002 as a ‘Round 5’ Sure Start Local Programme. NCH has been responsible as
the accountable body and directly manages the programme.
2.2     The programme delivers services to the greater part of the Castle, Gensing and Central St
Leonards wards in Hastings and St Leonards. These are the top three overall most deprived wards in
Hastings and St Leonards and in the top 6% in England and Wales. Large sections of these three
wards are in the top 10% of deprived wards nationally as regards income deprivation affecting children,
living environment deprivation, health and employment deprivation as well as crime domain. The
Programme will serve a total of 1,117 children from April 2005. Attached as Appendix 1 is information
about the current and projected recurrent budget for the programme, or “money plan”.
2.3      NCH has around 65 Sure Start Projects in the UK out of a project total of 562. Nationally and
locally the organisation has a long history of providing services to children, young people and families,
focusing on the most vulnerable. Separately from its current responsibility for the Sure Start programme
in Hastings and St Leonards, NCH has a long established contract to run family support centres in East
Sussex as part of the services provided by the Children and Families Division (formerly Social
Services).
The Government has established an expectation that by 1 April 2006 Children’s Services Authorities will
become the accountable body for all the Sure Start Children’s Centre programmes. NCH does not
oppose this policy and in fact has requested that the County Council take on the accountability for the
Hastings and St Leonards programme as soon as the proper transfer of the relevant property assets to
ESCC has been achieved. NCH wishes to continue to manage the programme, however, under a
contract with ESCC (see below).

2.4     Our assessment is that it is practical and appropriate for ESCC to take on the accountability
from April. We are familiar with the conditions of Sure Start capital and recurrent funding from our
experience with the other programmes for which we are already accountable. We will have the capacity
to manage the building programme. We believe that we will also be able to agree, and have the
capacity to manage, an appropriate contract with NCH for the delivery of services. There are risks
associated with the recurrent funding of the Centre, as there are with all the Children’s Centres. The
money plan at Appendix 1 includes assumptions about the “mainstreaming” of Sure Start services – a
requirement when all the money plans were drawn up. In practice the level of service which can be
provided through the Centre will depend directly on both the level of Government funding for Children’s
Centres and the extent to which we, and partners, are able to resource services ourselves. The
Department for Education and Skills (DfES) funding tapers, with 2010/2011 as the last year of revenue
funding. After this point the pick up of this cost will be by the partner agencies and/or a management
plan for reducing the shortfall. A risk management plan will need to be reported annually to the Lead
Member for Children and Young People; and Libraries to outline the management actions taken to
mitigate any problem. The continuation and/or the level of the contract with NCH will be dependent on
the level of revenue funding available.

2.5     Responsibility for managing a contract with NCH to deliver the Centre will fall to the new post of
Children’s Centre Manager to which the Children’s Services Department has recently recruited. There
would be a management charge payable to NCH of 10% of the cost of services which it delivers
directly, which would be in place of the costs to the Council of line managing the manager of the Centre
(which we would incur if we were directly to manage the Centre ourselves). If it were not possible to
agree a satisfactory contract with NCH we would be able to recruit our own Centre Manager; but in
practice there are many advantages of contracting with NCH, which has run the programme well to
date.

2.6    The proposal is that ESCC should have a contract with NCH for the delivery of the programme.
A draft contract is currently being considered by the ESCC Contracts Purchasing Unit and NCH
Contracts Department. It is expected that the contract would be signed by 31 May 2005.

3.     Conclusion and Reason for Recommendations

3.1     The Council’s Contract Procedure Rules require that an agreement of this value be subject to
open, competitive tendering. After consideration of the specific needs of this aspect of the programme,
however, the Partnership Board recommended that value for money can be demonstrated by inviting a
single tender from NCH, as a voluntary sector organisation offering a specialist service and having
managed the programme successfully for the last three years. In approving the service level agreement
with NCH, the Lead Member will therefore be granting a waiver to the Contract Standing Order 2.3.


DENISE STOKOE
Director of Children’s Services

Contact Officer:        Catherine White, Planning and Commissioning Manager, Tel: 01323 769433

Local Members:          Councillors Birch, Daniel, Kramer, Lock, Scott, Stevens, Waite and Webb

				
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