Laura Sharman 22 October 2021

Study raises concern over availability and price of children’s care

Study raises concern over availability and price of children’s care image

Local authorities are being forced to put children in unsuitable accommodation due to a shortage of suitable placements, a study has found.

The initial findings of a study by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on children’s social care shows a shortage of appropriate places, with many being too far away or requiring siblings to be separated.

The report also found private providers are often being paid too much money for placements due to this shortage.

Figures show the largest providers made an average operating profit margin of 23% in 2020, while fostering agencies made 19% on average.

'We are concerned this is a failing system, with children not being placed in the right homes while providers are being allowed to charge high prices and make big profits,' said Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA.

'Vulnerable children rely on these services, but too many are being placed in accommodation that does not meet their needs. And despite many placements not being suitable, local authorities, funded by taxpayers, are paying more than they should to provide them. The levels of debt we have seen being carried by private equity-owned firms is also a real concern due to the effect a firm in financial distress could have on the children in their care.'

The CMA in considering the creation of larger-scale national or regional bodies to help local authorities secure appropriate placements at lower prices or by taking over responsibility for placing children.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Independent non-executive members of proposed NHS Integrated Care Boards

NHS
Competitive
Do you have the vision to shape the future of health and care for people in your area? Nationwide
Recuriter: NHS

Lead Community Protection Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£37722 - £40869 per annum + value award of £2,472 per annum
2 x Lead Community Protection OfficersCommunity Protection Team(PO3 plus an incremental value award of £2,472 per annum) Permanent Our Community Prote England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

School Organisation Project Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£41,952- £48,663
We’re giving a platform to people inside and outside our community. Because, we’re not just home to the UK’s fast-growing economy. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Service Manager (Referral and Assessment)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£60,426 to £74,202 per annum
Can you inspire, encourage, and develop excellent social work practice to make a real difference in the lives of children and young people? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Asset Management Team Administrator

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618 per annum
The role is what you make it, and the more you put in, the bigger the difference you can make to... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue