Charity terminates landmark contract to run Peterborough’s fostering and adoption services 7 years early

A charity which agreed a landmark contract to run Peterborough’s fostering and adoption services has terminated the contract more than seven years early.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 2:28 pm

The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT) signed up to a 10 year partnership worth more than £126 million with Peterborough City Council in 2016, with the arrangement beginning in April 2017.

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Child care

The pioneering arrangement was talked up by the council as an exciting opportunity which would deliver savings of £1 million a year and result in better support for carers.

However, it has now been revealed by magazine Children & Young People Now that TACT ended the deal last October after it made a loss of £923,000 in 2018/19, following on from a deficit of £2.27 million the year before.

The revelation has only come to light after TACT recently published its 2018/19 Annual Report.

The charity had previously given notice to end the contact in early March 2021, the report adds, before it decided in October to bring the decision forward.

Moreover, the report states that in November 2018 the council took back control of some of the services it had previously outsourced to the charity.

The Peterborough Telegraph has previously revealed the financial pressures on the TACT arrangement, with the council agreeing to pay the charity an extra £3.9 million back in July 2018 due to a rise in children needing care.

The council had also paid out an additional £647,000 in the previous financial year due to the rising care place demand.

The TACT partnership saw the charity take control of the council’s Permanency Service which includes fostering and adoption.

In a joint statement, the council and TACT said: “We can confirm that the partnership between TACT and Peterborough City Council has come to an end and that the Permanency Service has transferred back to the council.

“This follows a decision by TACT to serve notice of their intention to end the contract to deliver the Permanency Service in Peterborough in 2019.”

A council spokesperson added: “We are grateful to TACT for the contribution they made to the operation of the Permanency Service. We will maintain the best practice developed by TACT in relation to the support and training provided to all of our carers so that vulnerable children continue to experience the best quality care and support.”

TACT’s CEO Andy Elvin said: “It has been a privilege to work with our excellent staff, foster, adoptive and Kinship carers in Peterborough and all of our fantastic children.”

Asked why it had not publicised the end of the contract, a council spokesperson declined to add to the statement.

When the TACT contract was announced the council’s service director for children and safeguarding Lou Williams told the PT: “I really do think this is a very good opportunity for children, young people and the council. It’s a unique and very innovative approach.

“TACT has many years of experience recruiting foster carers. That’s very much their core business and it’s not ours.

“They are also able to bring the infrastructure around 24/7 support which is really critical for carers.”

Council staff working in fostering and adoption transferred over to TACT as part of the arrangement, but they have now transferred back.