Agenda Item No. 6











The proposals for establishing the Vale, Valleys & Cardiff Regional Adoption Collaborative were contained in the cabinet reports on 18 November, 2013 and 14 July, 2014.  The recommendations of these reports were resolved by the Cabinets in Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil to allow for the development of the Regional Adoption Collaborative. The Vale of Glamorgan Cabinet did not make the recommendation in relation to the appointment of the Regional Adoption Manager and made an in principle decision to the Vale of Glamorgan acting as host local authority.


The report set out the results of the detailed work undertaken by the Councils to date on developing proposals for the Regional Collaborative.  The business case which supported the implementation of the Regional Collaborative and contained the proposed service delivery model was attached at Appendix 4 to the report. 


The policy and legislative background in respect of the development of the Regional Collaboratives set a very clear agenda for change, as detailed in earlier reports considered by the Executive.  In the business case, Welsh Government’s expectations for the establishment and operation of all Regional Adoption Collaboratives in 2014 were considered in line with legislation which made provision for joint arrangements in relation to an Authority’s adoption service. 


The anticipated timescale had presented a challenge in terms of developing an agreed service delivery model across the four authorities that best delivered the aims of the Collaborative in delivering an integrated, comprehensive service which would promote service priorities and ensure performance measures were met.  A number of proposed service delivery models were considered as set out in the business case.


It was proposed that the current model of delivering adoption services across the four local authority areas involved in this Regional Collaborative would change from four generic teams to services being provided by three co-located specialist teams. It was envisaged that the specialist focus would improve service delivery and outcomes, particularly in respect of the recruitment and assessment of adopters and increase placement opportunities for children requiring adoptive placements.  It would also ensure that, through the creation of a specialist team specifically for adoption support services, the function would be afforded the same priority as other service areas.


Reorganising teams and amalgamating staff in one location may result initially in short term disruption to service delivery.  However, it was intended that staff would retain their own caseload upon transfer to the host authority until the reorganisation takes place.  We believe that the immediate impact upon service delivery would be outweighed by longer term benefits and efficiencies as a result of collaborative working.


The proposed service delivery model and staffing structure in respect of the Collaborative had formed part of the consultation process and was based upon a detailed analysis of the service needs over a period of three years and likely projected future service needs.  A summary of the relevant data was contained in the business case.  The Regional Collaborative would be enhanced by the creation of two new posts, the Regional Adoption Manager and Business Support Manager. The ability to recruit to these posts would be a key milestone in establishing the Collaborative and the proposed transfer of staff.  This was reflected elsewhere in other Collaboratives in Wales which had already established similar regional management arrangements.


In deciding the number and type of posts required (both at a managerial and practitioner level), the need to streamline the number of managerial posts within the new structure was considered.  It was recognised that practitioners working in adoption generally had more experience than newly qualified practitioners and so they needed less supervisory oversight.  The proposed structure did not retain the Senior Practitioner posts which currently existed in two authorities; however, only two of these individuals were 'in scope’ for transfer.  The rationale for this was outlined in detail in the business case but was derived from a lack of uniformity in the role across the four authorities and the potential for duplication with other roles within the structure.


The proposed structure of the business support staff reflected the anticipated workload to be generated by the Collaborative and having regard to economies of scale resulting from co-location.


The financial and budgetary implications of the new service along with the proposals for premises, IT requirements and governance arrangements were set out in the business case. 


The key milestones to be achieved in implementing the Collaborative, including the steps which had been achieved to date, were detailed in the business case.  The timescales proposed to ensure that the essential elements of the Collaborative were operational remained challenging.  The commitment to ongoing consultation with staff and recognised trade unions throughout this process would mitigate against some of the risks, along with robust joint working and decision making arrangements between the partner authorities.


At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Childrens Services highlighted that recommendation 6 of the report referred to, the Cabinet Member for Social Services however, this should have read Cabinet Member for Childrens Services.


This was a matter for Executive decision




(1)       T H A T the business case, service delivery model and implementation plan,  be approved and recommended to Council for approval subject to further consultation with the trade unions and staff, for establishing the Vale, Valleys, and Cardiff Regional Adoption Collaborative based on the model set out and described in Appendix 1 attached to the report, with governance arrangements based on a Joint Committee model.


(2)       T H A T the Vale of Glamorgan Council be approved as the host (employing) authority for the Vale, Valleys, and Cardiff Regional Adoption Collaborative.


(3)       T H A T the post(s) of the Regional Adoption Manager and Business Support Manager be established and advertised by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.


(4)       T H A T a further update report be brought to Cabinet following conclusion of the consultation with affected staff and trade unions detailing any substantial changes to the resource, employment, and legal implications set out in the report.


(5)       T H A T the views of the Scrutiny Committees and recognised trade unions be considered along with the Council’s duties under the Equality Act 2010 and the Equalities Impact Assessment attached at Appendix 2 to the report.


(6)       T H A T delegated authority be given to the Head of Legal Services in consultation with the Managing Director, the Director of Social Services and the Cabinet Member for Childrens Services to agree and finalise a Partnership Agreement covering the matters set out in the body of this report, and to authorise signature of the Partnership Agreement by the Head of Legal Services.


Reasons for decisions


(1)       To enable the Regional Collaborative to be established on an agreed basis in terms of cost, funding, income, savings, service level, structure and timing (of) and implementation of the Regional Collaborative to enable the creation of the shared service with appropriate governance mechanisms.


(2)       To enable the efficient and effective administration of the service in line with the Joint Committee governance model.


(3)       To enable the Regional Collaborative to be established in line with the timescales set out in this report and associated appendices and for the appointment of the Regional Adoption Manager and Business Support Manager to be undertaken.


(4)       To ensure that Cabinet continued to exercise effective oversight of this key function.


(5)       To consider the views of the Scrutiny Committees and recognised trade unions.


(6)       To enable completion of the final version of the Partnership Agreement.




Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet 28 NOVEMBER 2014