Issue details

Award of a contract for the provision of 24-hour wraparound support for short-term/emergency supported accommodation for children looked after

The Council has a statutory duty to provide placements for all children looked after (CLA) that are appropriate to meet each individual’s specific needs. Due to the level and complexity of their needs and the lack of availability of appropriate care and support elsewhere, during the last 6 months of 2020 it has been necessary to accommodate 4 young people in solo placements. This followed exhaustive placement searches nationwide, including registered children’s homes and foster care agencies, which resulted in no offers and a number of failed placements.


These solo placements were established at short notice and, due to the timescales involved and the safety of the children concerned, a competitive tender process was unable to take place. The 24-hour care packages needed for each of these 4 children are staffed by Bespoke Guardians Ltd, a specialist staffing agency and the only provider able to respond to each placement. Approval to contract with Bespoke Guardians for this service was retrospectively sought, and approval given, via a standing orders waiver for a single tender.


The need for this type of specialist 24-hour care package for young people is anticipated to continue. Although the services have already been put in place due to urgency a contract is required to deliver these services for a 12-month period whilst options for the longer term are considered. The total cost of the services provided by Bespoke Guardians over this period is estimated at £1.8m.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure > £500,000;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Divisions affected: (All Divisions);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 01/12/2020

Decision due: February 2021 by Executive Director Children, Young People and Learning

Lead member: Lucy Butler, Executive Director Children, Young People and Learning

Lead director: Lucy Butler

Contact: Thomas Strivens, Programme Manager Email: Tel: 033 022 22082.

Consultation process

Representations concerning this proposed decision can be made to the Executive Director Children, Young People and Learning, via the officer contact, by the beginning of the month in which the decision is due to be taken

Democratic Services Contact: Wendy Saunders Tel: 033 022 22553

Background3: Best Start in Life


Background papers

  • None