Agenda item

Planned Respite Service for Working Age Adults with a Learning Disability and Autism - key decision

Report of the Corporate Director for People


Claire Labdon-West, Commissioning Manager, presented the report, which seeks permission to run a competitive call-off from the Nottingham City Council Residential and Nursing Accreditation, for a planned respite service for working age adults with a learning disability and autism. Councillor Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health, spoke in support of the recommendations.


The following points were highlighted and responses provided to members’ questions:


a)  As specified in the Care Act 2014, the Council has a statutory duty to provide a respite service. Planned respite is vital in ensuring the well-being and resilience of carers, and avoiding crisis and placement breakdown, which can have significant cost implications;


b)  Following the withdrawal of the long-term respite base in 2016, colleagues worked hard to secure planned respite accommodation but have only been able to secure emergency accommodation. This process proved labour-intensive and expensive;


c)  In 2022, the block purchase of four respite accommodation units was secured for one year, enabling 30 eligible carer households on the edge of crisis to access planned respite;


d)  Six months into the one-year contract, provision and overall user feedback was assessed and confirmed as appropriate and successful, with the exception of eight families with specific access needs, for whom the accommodation was not suitable;


e)  The units have achieved a 90% occupation rate, so to ensure the best possible value for money and efficiency, it is proposed that any future unoccupied periods are offered to the County Council to help support their eligible citizens with planned respite, the cost of which will be recharged;


f)  The provider is responsible for liaising with carers to book the respite, and even providing transport to and from the site. In addition, the provider has taken responsibility for all repairs and even supported crisis management. Respite users have given very positive feedback and are keen for this level of service to be retained;


g)  Broader best value will be tested to ensure the service can achieve the best price, and other models of respite provision will be examined, including those which are wholly accessible to all families;


h)  Committing to a block booking of accommodation was a risk, but cost effective and has proved beneficial for all parties, and so it is recommended that the arrangement is replicated for a further two years with continuing monthly monitoring.


Members welcomed the success of the provision, including the best value and efficiency approach, including offering vacant capacity to the County Council.




1)  to approve the spend of up to £980,620.16 on a planned respite service for citizens with an assessed need under the Care Act 2014 over a contract period of two years;


2)  to delegate authority to the:


(a)  Director of Commissioning and Partnerships to approve the outcome of a competitive call-off under the accreditation contract for residential and nursing care;


(b)   Head of Personalisation, Quality and Contracting to sign the contract relating to this service.


Reasons for recommendations


o  Nottingham City Council has a statutory duty to provide planned respite for carers who have eligible needs, as required under the Care Act 2014. The intention is to ensure that there is capacity to meet the demand for respite;


o  Planned respite provision will support carer resilience enabling citizens to remain at home and reducing the need for long term accommodation based support such as residential care or supported living. Placement breakdown often creates an emergency situation and can result in high cost placements which can be out of area depending on availability;


o  A recent review of this provision has concluded that this service has been successful in delivering Best Value for citizens and has support from citizens and their families as well as colleagues within Adult Social Care who have been able to access this service.


o  The competitive call off process will build on the success of the current service to ensure that Nottingham City Council is maximising Best Value in terms of both the offer to citizens and the cost of the service. Providers will be asked to respond to the service requirements and scoring will be based on responses which focus on a combination of both quality and the cost of the offer.


Other options considered


o  Do nothing and continue to utilise placements called off on an individual basis from the residential accreditation. This was rejected as it has been established that this approach is not able to meet the needs of citizens and guarantee the capacity required for Nottingham City Council to meet its statutory duties.


o  Carry out a full tender process to incorporate providers outside of the residential and nursing accreditation contract. In order to deliver the service within the required timescale, the provider would need to be established with suitable accommodation and have the relevant CQC registrations. Respite provision is within the contract and this is the mechanism for bringing the service into the market within the required timescale.


o  Expand the internal provision of respite as an extension to Barkla Close. This option was being pursued prior to 2020 and a potential property was identified. The property was not a viable option and there is not an option to develop a property which would deliver immediate capacity. This option will be explored during the 2-year contract period of the service proposed in this report.


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