Bridgend Council has approved the extended contract of an independent care organisation which provides support to its child safeguarding services.
The contract, which is set to cost the authority just under £100,000 over the next year, was initially given to the Innovate Children and Young People’s Service (CYPS) on a six-month basis in March 2022.
This was given to provide managed support to the council’s information advice and assistance team, and help with “unprecedented levels of need and demand experienced by the service”.
A six-month extension was awarded until March 2023 by the cabinet, with the report raising issues with the “significant recruitment challenges” the council is now facing.
Officer reccomendations to extend the care contract for another 12 months have now been approved by members in attendance at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, February 7, along with a suspension of the council’s re-tender process to award the contract without competition.
While the report highlighted potential issues with this suspension, it also described the limited supply of experienced children’s social workers available at the moment, and felt a current change in the contract could leave the service at risk.
The report read: “Any change in supplier would mean a significant risk of a gap in service provision which would mean the council could not meet statutory duties and regulators would need to be immediately advised this is the case.”
The annual costs quoted by the provider for the managed service element are £97,538 per annum, and would come from repurposing existing directorate earmarked reserves, as well as consideration of use of the Welsh Government Social Care Workforce Grant.