Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 23 February, 2015
Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools
Providing staff accommodation for the Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Regional Adoption Collaborative
Purpose of the Report
1. This report seeks Cabinet approval to enter into an accommodation arrangement with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council for it to provide the office accommodation for staff and meeting facilities for the Collaborative.
1. That authority is granted to the Director of Resources to agree terms for sharing office accommodation at Ty Pennant, Pontypridd on behalf of the Collaborative.
2. That authority is granted to the Head of Legal Services to enter into the agreement on behalf of the Collaborative.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. & 2. To regularise occupation of office accommodation at Ty Pennant in Pontypridd by the Collaborative.
2. On 28th November 2014, Cabinet approved the business case, service delivery model and implementation plan for the Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Regional Adoption Collaborative. The recommendations of this report were resolved by the Cabinets in Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil during December 2014, to allow for development of the Regional Adoption Collaborative. The Vale of Glamorgan Council is acting as host authority for the Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Regional Adoption Collaborative.
3. The anticipated implementation date for the Collaborative is 1st March 2015, although this is dependent on the appointment of the Regional Adoption Manager. Interviews have taken place and the recruitment processes are underway.
Relevant Issues and Options
4. The provisionally agreed business case attached at Appendix I sets out the results of the detailed work undertaken by the Councils in developing proposals for the Regional Collaborative.
5. The current model of delivering adoption services across the four local authority areas involved in this Regional Collaborative will change from four generic teams to services being provided by three co-located, specialist teams. This specialist focus is intended to improve service delivery and outcomes, particularly in respect of recruiting and assessing adopters and increasing placement opportunities for children requiring adoptive placements. It will ensure also that, through the creation of a specialist team specifically for adoption support services, this function will be afforded the same priority as other service areas.
6. To facilitate delivery of the agreed service delivery model, it is considered necessary for all staff to be based at one central location. Currently, they occupy premises within their own authority’s buildings and geographical boundaries.
7. The Collaborative has considered various options for accommodating the service, making site visits and negotiating terms and conditions. The recommendation of the Regional Adoptive Collaborative Steering Group is that, on balance, the accommodation at Pontypridd is the most favourable option in terms of location and service delivery. The proposed terms and conditions for occupying the office accommodation have been subject to discussions between Estates /Legal Officers of the respective Authorities in order to ensure that the information is thoroughly analysed and best value achieved.
8. Proceeding with accommodation in Ty Pennant would mean using resources already available, as this building is currently occupied by Rhondda Cynon Taf on a lease arrangement. From a service and staffing perspective, the location is seen to be the most equitable in terms of the geographical footprint of the Collaborative. Some staff will need to change their place of work and, for some, it may mean additional travelling. However, as part of the arrangements underpinning the new service delivery model, there will be greater emphasis on agile working, which should assist in minimising the need for additional travel. Consultation with the recognised Trade Unions and staff regarding this change is ongoing.
9. Ideally, to allow the new service to review their accommodation requirements as the service develops, the Collaborative would wish to occupy accommodation on flexible terms. Therefore, in addition to locating a site which is considered to be well positioned; flexibility in terms of the accommodation sharing arrangement will be sought.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
10. Existing budgets and expenditure within each local authority have been reviewed and an indicative budget for the first year of operation has been established.
11. Based on 198m2, the identified accommodation for the Collaborative at Ty Pennant, Pontypridd will cost £34,000 per annum. All costs associated with occupying this accommodation such as utility bills (gas, water, electricity and refuse collection) and NNDR is included within this rental charge. The Collaborative will also have access to meeting room space in the building by bookable arrangement. The rental cost has been built into the Business Plan.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
12. Working on a regional basis will provide opportunities for increased specialisation and more efficient management of the overall adoption workload. The regional manager will be responsible for ensuring that more flexible working practices by staff offset the need for some of them to travel further from home to work and to visit families. The position will be monitored throughout the first year and then reviewed.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
13. It will be necessary to agree and enter into an appropriate form of accommodation-sharing agreement.
14. Work has started to review and revise existing policies and procedures, to incorporate the impact of delivering adoption services at a local, regional and national level.
Crime and Disorder Implications
15. There are no specific crime and disorder implications associated with this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
16. In considering this matter, the decision-maker must have regard to the Council’s duties under the Equality Act 2010. Pursuant to these legal duties, Councils must, in making decisions, have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination; advance equality of opportunity and; foster good relations on the basis of protected characteristics.
17. The equalities implications are set out in the Equality Impact Assessment appended to the Cabinet report approved on 28th November, 2014. It is envisaged that the Collaborative will better promote equal opportunity for prospective adopters and those requiring support services by ensuring consistency of response and approach. The Collaborative will also increase placement opportunity and choice for children requiring adoptive placements.
18. Children and young people are engaged and supported to take full advantage of life opportunities in their community and beyond - Corporate Plan Outcome 2013/17.
19. The provision of a quality Adoption Service meets the outcomes expressed in the Social Services Directorate Service
20. To provide children and young people with a clearly planned journey through care and to achieve permanence wherever appropriate to do so is a key principle underpinning the Council's Children and Young People Services Commissioning Strategy 2013/18.
Policy Framework and Budget
21. This is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
22. The contents of the business case have been subject to consultation with staff and recognised trade unions. In accordance with each local authority’s collective agreements, consultation with their respective trade unions has started and is expected to continue throughout the project. There has also been staff consultation and engagement and this is also expected to continue throughout the project.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
23. Social Care and Health
Cabinet report 28th November, 2014: Establishing the Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Regional Adoption Collaborative
Rachel Evans, Head of Children and Young People Services
Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Regional Adoption Collaborative Steering Group
Principal Lawyer, Legal Services
Group Estates Officer
Philip Evans, Director of Social Services