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The Efficacy and Sustainability of Consortia Commissioning of Looked After Children's Services

Report | July 2015

Over the past decade there has been a growth in consortia commissioning arrangements of placements for children in care, with local authorities increasingly working together to commission placements, particularly for children in foster care and residential child care.

The Department for Education asked us to review these arrangements in order to understand what has and hasn’t worked. The review sought to:

  • Identify the consortia commissioning arrangements which exist
  • Explore how well consortia work and whether they could work more effectively to help improve outcomes for looked after children
  • Identify examples of good practice

The research focused on consortia commissioning arrangements for residential child care and foster care provided by independent agencies. It did not cover not in-house provision by local authorities or consortia commissioning of residential and day special education or supported and other types of accommodation for looked after children who are 16+ years, or care leavers.

The research was undertaken between March and June 2015 and comprised analysis of all consortia to map current arrangements, a series of interviews with key national and local stakeholders, a survey of provider organisations and a detailed evaluation of a sample of commissioning arrangements.

The report offers recommendations and considerations for the sector.

This report was produced by the Institute for Public Care and funded by the Department for Education. The views that are expressed in this work are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department for Education.