ChAr­ity to run fos­ter ser­vice

New £126 mil­lion con­tract is a na­tional first

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By Joel Lamy Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy 01733 588728

The fos­ter­ing and adop­tion ser­vice run by Pe­ter­bor­ough City Coun­cil will be taken over by a char­ity in a 10-year, £126 mil­lion con­tract. The coun­cil’s Con­ser­va­tiverun cab­i­net agreed on Mon­day­toap­pointTheA­do­les­cent andChil­dren’sTrust(TACT) to run the author­ity’s new Per­ma­nency Ser­vice, which in­cludes­fos­teringan­dadop­tion.

The Per­ma­nency Ser­vice starts from April 2017 and will be the first of its kind in the coun­try.

Coun­cil­lor Sam Smith, cab­i­net­mem­ber­forchil­dren’s ser­vices, called the move “an exciting op­por­tu­nity.”

She said: “We be­lieve that this new part­ner­ship will en­able us to re­cruit and re­tain more lo­cal fos­ter car­ers through an im­proved sup­port net­work that TACT will de­liver. This will lead to more lo­cal longer-termfos­ter­place­ments for Pe­ter­bor­ough chil­dren and young peo­ple.”

The part­ner­ship with TACT is ex­pected to de­liver sav­ings of £1 mil­lion a year once it is fully es­tab­lished.

Staff work­ing for the Per­ma­nen­cySer­vicewil­l­be­based at coun­cilof­fice­san­dover­seen bya­joint board in­clud­ing se­nior coun­cil of­fi­cers.

Cur­rent­coun­cil­staffwork­ing in fos­ter­ing and adop­tion will trans­fer to TACT.

Lou Wil­liams, the coun­cil’s ser­vice di­rec­tor for chil­dren and safe­guard­ing, said: “I re­ally do think this is a very goodoppor­tu­ni­ty­forchil­dren, young­peo­ple andthe­coun­cil. It’s a unique and very in­no­va­tive ap­proach.

“TACT has many years of ex­pe­ri­ence re­cruit­ing fos­ter car­ers. That’s very muchtheir core­busi­nes­san­dit’sno­tours.

“The­yare­also able to bring the in­fra­struc­ture around 24/7 sup­port which is re­ally critical for car­ers.

“The beauty of this is it’s a very strong re­cruit­ing model. It’s a char­ity and that’s very at­trac­tive for fos­ter car­ers.”

MrWil­liams­said staff who trans­fer over to TACT will not see the terms and con­di­tions of their con­tracts worsen.

AndyElvin, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cerofTACT, said: “Welook for­ward­to­launch­ingth­e­ser­vice next year and fur­ther im­provin­gout­comes­forchil­dren in Pe­ter­bor­ough.”

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