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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 30 November, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

Supporting People Payments

Purpose of the Report

  1. To obtain retrospective approval to make payments on three expired contracts to enable housing related support to continue to be provided to vulnerable clients until a new Approved Provider List is in place.

Recommendation

  1. THAT Cabinet temporarily waives the Contract Procedure Rules and extends the expired contracts with Llamau, Hafod Care and Atal y Fro and approves payments under these contracts up to the end of March 2016.

Reason for the Recommendation

  1. To ensure the stability of services provided to very vulnerable people in the Vale of Glamorgan and to comply with the Council's Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.

Background

  1. The Supporting People (SP) programme is the policy and funding framework for delivering housing related support to vulnerable people in different types of accommodation and across all tenures.
  2. The programme contributes to meeting the aims of 'Improving Lives and Communities - Homes in Wales' the National Housing Strategy and the ten year Homelessness Plan, with a strong emphasis on the prevention of homelessness. Its importance is also recognised in the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.
  3. At a local level the programme takes forward a number of strategic aims, reflecting Community Safety and Health, Social Care and Wellbeing objectives. It aims to deliver high quality and strategically planned housing-related support services that are cost effective, complement existing services and provide service users with the best possible outcomes.
  4. In order to ensure overall compliance with the Council's Contract Standing Orders, the Financial Regulations and other procurement requirements, in 2010 Cabinet approved the establishment of the first Approved Provider List (APL) for the provision of housing related support services funded by the Supporting People Programme Grant for a four year period (Cabinet Minute C859).

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Prior to the expiry of the APL in late 2014, the Supporting People Team gave consideration to the most efficient and effective way of undertaking a new procurement exercise to set up a new and updated list.
  2. Following an analysis of the resources and skills required to undertake this procurement exercise, an internal exercise was considered and discounted due to the resources available within the Supporting People Team and the Council's Procurement Team at that time.
  3. Discussions then took place over a number of months with neighbouring Authorities. Bridgend Council's Procurement Team was unable to assist, but the City of Cardiff Council confirmed their willingness and agreement to work in partnership with the Council's Supporting People Team to develop the APL.
  4. Unfortunately, due to the protracted discussions to explore all of the procurement options outlined above, three existing contracts expired during the period:

- Llamau on 28th February 2015 which covers services to young and vulnerable clients.

- Hafod Care on 30th April 2015 which covers services for clients with mental health issues, vulnerable families and clients with substance misuse issues.

- Atal y Fro on 30th May 2015 which covers services to women who have suffered from domestic violence.

  1. In accordance with Welsh Government guidance all of these services are regularly monitored by the Supporting People Team to ensure that they continue to provide value for money and a high quality service. If any service was found to be no longer required or not meeting the aims and objectives set down, it would have been decommissioned or reconfigured immediately.
  2. Furthermore, if the services under the expired contract were discontinued, it would have destabilised the very vulnerable service users and impeded their progress towards achieving independent living at a time when they required the assistance and support the most.
  3. It was therefore thought prudent to continue to make payments to the three support providers in order that the support could continue until such time as a new APL was in place and the services could be retendered.
  4. The procurement exercise being undertaken in partnership with the City of Cardiff Council began on 9th October 2015, with the invitation to be included published on the Sell2Wales website. The exercise will be concluded and the new APL in place by the end of December 2015. Following this date, expired contracts will be retendered in January 2016 and completed by 31st March 2016.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The Welsh Government provides grant funding for all of these services and the budget has been confirmed up until 31st March 2016; therefore there are no direct financial implications for the Council.
  2. It is expected that in 2016/17 the Supporting People Programme Grant from Welsh Government will be reduced following the Comprehensive Spending Review. The Supporting People Team is already in discussions with all support providers in order to agree a partnership approach to a reduction in value of existing and new contracts from 1st April 2016 in order to mitigate the impact of these cuts. A further report will be submitted to Cabinet before the start of the new financial year outlining the proposed reductions for approval.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no sustainability and climate change implications directly arising as a result of this report.
  2. The principles of sustainability and climate change will be considered as part of the procurement exercise, including employment and environmental considerations.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The existing contracts with Llamau, Hafod Care and Atal Y Fro have expired. In view of the amounts payable under these contracts, it is not possible to rely on any of the exemptions in the Contract Procedure Rules. Therefore, in order to comply with Council procedure and put an authority in place to approve payments, the Contract Procedure Rules will need to be temporarily waived to allow the contracts with these three organisations to provisionally continue for the reasons outlined in this report.
  2. Both existing and new contracts are in a standard format that have been drafted by Legal Services and are consistent with Welsh Government requirements for this type of funding.
  3. In relation to establishing a new APL, the procurement exercise being undertaken will ensure that the retendering of housing related support services complies with the Council's Contract Procedure Rules and EU procurement regulations. The outcome of this exercise will be reported separately.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. The continuation of good quality support services will protect and support very vulnerable clients who are likely to be more susceptible to experience crime and disorder difficulties if these projects were not in place.
  2. The continued provision of services to very vulnerable clients will have a beneficial impact upon reducing crime and disorder in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The continuation of these projects will do much to improve the quality of life of some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This report is consistent with the Corporate Objective of the Council regarding housing:

'Vale of Glamorgan residents have access to affordable, good quality sustainable housing and housing advice and support'.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This report is consistent with the Policy Framework and Budget and is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. These services are situated throughout the Vale of Glamorgan; therefore no individual ward member consultation has been undertaken.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

(i) Welsh Government Document - Supporting People Programme Grant (SPPG) Guidance (Wales) July 2012 (updated June 2013).

Contact Officer

Pam Toms, Housing Solutions & Supporting People Team Leader

Officers Consulted

Joan Davies, Principal Auditor

Lori Bigglestone, Accountant

Jos Ham, Senior Lawyer, Legal Services

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Environment and Housing