Children’s social care service to be outsourced as North Somerset Council bids to save even more money

PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 February 2017

The service affected works with families in North Somerset.

The service affected works with families in North Somerset.


A North Somerset Council service which supports some of the district’s most vulnerable families is set to be outsourced, as the cash-strapped authority looks for more ways to save money.

The council’s family group conferencing (FGC) service has supported families in the area for more than 13 years. A family group conference allows family members to plan and make decisions on behalf of a child who is deemed to be at risk, along with help and advice from social workers.

Around 75 per cent of the country’s local authorities commission FGCs for vulnerable children in their area, and North Somerset received 38 referrals to the service during the 2015/16 financial year.

However, the council says the service’s projected overspend during the next financial year is likely to be about £76,000 – meaning outsourcing is ‘necessary’ in order to reduce this amount.

The new outsourced contract is likely to be worth £300,000 for three years if it goes ahead, and interested organisations are now being asked to submit their bids directly to the council.

A council spokesman said: “The action was necessary to address as a contribution to the in-year recovery of the adult care overspend, and to ensure all providers within our supporting people department had reached a five per cent reduction against (their) contract, as included as part of the council’s budget last year.”

A council report into the decision said outsourcing the service to an external provider would help to bring down the cost of employing staff and training new FGC co-ordinators – factors which it said were responsible for this year’s high projected overspend. It also claimed it would be asking social care providers for ideas on how to get the most value for money from the service.

The report said: “Outsourcing the service should support the council to deliver the service within the specified budget.

“In turn, this could mean (providing) a larger service to more families than we are currently able to offer. By being able to offer more FGCs we are able to support more families, which in turn can lead to less demand on social services.

“By seeking a three-year contract we are able to support the winning provider to develop and embed the service and provide a level of consistency. In addition, by being able to enter into a competitive tender, we will be able to seek solutions from the market on how to offer a quality service for the best value.”

More from Weston Mercury

The English National Ballet will bring its Swan Lake performance to the West Country – and the Mercury is giving readers a chance to win tickets to see the show.

Read more

An East Brent play park will receive a five-figure upgrade to improve facilities for children in the village.

Read more

The collected 30 something’s were partying like it was 2002 at Bristol’s SWX on Friday as post punk rockers A returned to Bristol to play the whole of their seminal album Hi-Fi Serious.

Read more

More than £200,000 has been spent by North Somerset Council on redundancy payments in 18 months.

Read more

The plan to join up a walking and cycling route from Brean to Clevedon has moved a step closer.

Read more

Venture into the wizarding world with the latest remake of one of J K Rowling’s books.

Read more

A woman who has vowed to complete 40 outdoor swims in her 40th year is just three challenges away from hitting her target.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:37

Homemade crafts and items were sold in aid of one of Weston’s best-loved sites.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

A determined Weston woman has completed a gruelling seven-month swimming challenge to raise money for Weston Hospicecare in memory of her partner’s mum.

Read more
Weston Hospicecare Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 16:00

The fun and fervour of this year’s carnival may only just have begun to die down, but 50 years ago attention focussed on bringing the event back to Weston’s streets.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 4°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists