Skip to main content

Children’s Services workshop - find new ways to manage supply effectively

This workshop draws on recent national market reviews with commissioners to explore challenges and approaches that local authorities can use to manage supply and demand for residential and foster care services

27th April 11am-1pm

This event is aimed at senior officers in local authorities with responsibility for placements and commissioning children’s services.


Ever since the financial crash of 2008, local authority leaders have been trying to protect their children’s services budgets as demand and so-called ‘overspends’ have been rising. The Coronavirus pandemic has seen further growth in demand on the system and with this comes a more acute pressure to re-examine the way in which children’s care services are provided.

This workshop draws on recent national market reviews by Andrew Rome of Revolution Consulting, and IPC’s work with commissioners across the UK to explore current challenges and practical approaches that local authorities can use to manage supply and build a more effective response to demand for residential and foster care services.


Local authorities now provide only 55% of all fostering or residential placements for children in care in England, and spending by local authorities on the 45% of placements that are commissioned from the independent sector now exceeds £2bn per annum. Increasingly placements are purchased in an open spot market where price increases by independent providers are unconstrained. We are seeing:

  • More dominant large-scale national providers driving further consolidation
  • Involvement of private equity and stock market investors bringing models of increased levels of debt and financial gearing risk.
  • Higher profit levels than previously and above average returns for investors and owners
  • The rapid recent growth in use of unregulated provision (although DfE has announced this sector will be subject to specific regulation in future)

There is now an opportunity to re-think the way in which the sector works together to meet the needs of children in care, and to redesign the commercial interfaces to produce a more balanced and sustainable state.

The workshop agenda

The programme will provide the opportunity for participants to explore these issues in detail, consider how they vary across the UK, and consider approaches that they might implement in their local area to address them.

  • This event is available free and with priority booking to IPC Academic Partnership Network members and please invite education colleagues who may be interested in this topic area. Email
  • Non-member places are available at £50+VAT please register on Eventbrite
  • If you would like further information about the benefits of the IPC Academic Partnership which includes 5 free days consultancy then please view the IPC web page and find out what we do or email our team at

The workshop will be highly interactive, and run by:

  • Andrew Rome of Revolution Consulting. Andrew has advised DfE and LGA on children’s services markets for many years. He undertakes an annual provider survey for the Independent Children’s Homes Association and a review of the financial arrangements underpinning the 20 largest providers in the UK for the LGA.
  • Professor Keith Moultrie of IPC. Keith has led IPCs work on children’s services commissioning for many years. He has worked with DfE, DH, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and TUSLA in the Republic of Ireland on commissioning for children and families. He recently led a review of commissioning approaches in 10 different countries, and is currently working with Social Care Wales on a national model for children’s services.