London Councils asks children’s homes to cut fees

Councils in London are asking foster care and children’s homes providers to slash their fees because of the recession, according to a letter seen by Community Care.

The letter is from Mark Brangwyn, head of community services, at London Councils. It is backed by the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services, the Government Office for London and Young London Matters.

The letter says: “There is considerable pressure on all public services as a consequence of the economic downturn. We ask all providers to show how they will deliver ‘efficiency’ savings.

“We propose a benchmark of -2% of 2009-10 to set fees for 2010-11. Our benchmark reflects reduction in some costs and projections that costs will continue to fall next year.”

The letter has been sent to all members of a pan-London consortium for providers of foster care, residential care and residential special schools. Each year London Councils and the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services set a benchmark for what fees should be.

A spokesman for the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services said: “Our aim is to combine efficiency with a continued drive for quality.”
He added that it was up to local authorities to make their own decision on whether to accept the recommended fee levels.

A London Councils spokeswoman said: “As part of the pressure on public services recommendations for efficiency savings within foster care services and residential special schools have been made. For example, by working together across London they can share expertise, which will provide savings with no compromise on the delivery of excellent services.”

The letter was sent on 29 September, but has only just come to light.

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