TACT is set to become the first fostering and adoption agency in England to take over a Local Authority’s fostering and adoption service.
Peterborough City Council has appointed TACT to run its new permanency service, which includes fostering and adoption services, in the first arrangement of its kind. The permanency service is due to launch in April 2017, with the partnership expected to deliver savings of £1m a year once fully established.
Lou Williams, service director for children’s services at Peterborough City Council, said: “Staff, foster carers and some of the young people under our care were fully involved in the development of the proposals from the outset, including the selection process. We had three good quality bids but overall TACT achieved the highest score during the process.”
Andy Elvin, TACT CEO said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with Peterborough City Council to manage the new permanency service. By undertaking this innovative partnership, Peterborough are giving the fostering and permanency services to an organisation that only concentrates on that”.
The new service will reduce reliance on high cost independent fostering placements as well as providing improved training and 24/7 support for foster carers. It’s also hoped that the new service will increase the number of Peterborough-based foster carers looking after teenagers as well as children and young people with more challenging care needs.
Sam Smith, lead member for children’s services at Peterborough Council, said: “We believe that this new partnership will enable us to recruit and retain more local foster carers through an improved support network that Tact will deliver. This will lead to more local longer-term foster placements for Peterborough children and young people.”
Andy Elvin said: “We have a very strong pipeline of carers coming through across the UK and that is also true of Peterborough and I think an exciting and innovative partnership like this will attract more people to come and look at fostering as something they would want to do.”
Staff working as part of the permanency service will be based at city council offices and overseen by a joint board that includes senior staff from the council and Tact. The partnership, which is to last 10 years, will also provide an opportunity for Peterborough CC to develop new services for children and young people, including support for those returning home from care.
Listen to TACT CEO Andy Elvin talk about the partnership on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: