The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing presented a report, in order to seek authority to vary the current contracts in place with the three supported living services commissioned for people with a learning disability, by extending the existing terms for a further 12 months, in accordance with Contract Procedure Rule (CPR) 18.104.22.168.
She explained that in November 2019, Cabinet approved a two-stage procurement process for the re-commissioning of service providers to deliver supported living services for individuals with a learning disability living in Bridgend. The re-commissioning plan moved away from the current ‘county-wide’ contracts with 3 service providers, to a ‘locality’ based model whereby service providers can deliver person-centred, localised support for people that enables them to engage more fully in their local community and helps to better promote their journey towards independence.
Following the above, in March 2020 Cabinet approved the award of a framework agreement to successful bidders, and for the Council to begin to implement the Stage 2 procurement of local area service call-off tenders. People First Bridgend (PFB) were the independent body that would be involved in this process, the Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing added.
It was anticipated that all the local area service tenders would take place over a 12-month period, between April 2020 (when framework agreements commenced) and March 2021, when the current contracts expire.
The PFB consultation and engagement work commenced via face-to-face meetings with individuals in the service in March 2020, but due to the significant and unforeseen impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown restrictions, these had to cease shortly afterwards, in April.
With national and local lockdown restrictions limiting face-to-face consultation, there has been a reliance on virtual consultation methods instead of face-to-face engagement, which is severely impacting on the effectiveness of the engagement, and also the timescales needed to fully engage with each supported living scheme prior to tendering the local area service contracts, which was originally scheduled to be completed by March 2021.
It was proposed that the existing contracts in place with the three service providers be extended for a further 12 months therefore, to 31 March 2022, which is the length of time deemed necessary in order to carry out full and meaningful consultation, in accordance with the commissioning approach approved previously by Cabinet.
There was provision under CPR 22.214.171.124 to seek to modify an existing contract, under the criteria detailed in paragraph 4.2 of the report.
The need for modification had been brought about by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, circumstances which the Council could not have foreseen when entering into the original contracts. The overall nature of the contract will not be altered, and all other contractual terms remain unchanged, as the proposed variation is for a 12 month extension only. The proposed modification does not exceed 50% of the original contract value. The financial implications as shown in the report, detailed the value of the proposed modification.
The Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help fully supported the report, adding that this was a continuation of providing vital services to vulnerable adults. She was familiar with the Cartrefi contract and was very pleased to see continuity in terms of service delivery to the people who very much needed this, particularly in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
The Leader echoed the above, adding that he was pleased to see that the Council were committed to a full consultation and engagement exercise being undertaken with individuals that were supported by these schemes, as soon as circumstances allowed us to do so. It was vitally important he felt, that the support provided continued to be person centred with such support focusing on the specific needs and requirements of the individuals concerned, with the aim and objective also being, to improve and increase this support, where possible.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet authorised the modify of the existing contracts with Cartrefi (Lot 1), Mirus (Lot 2) and DRIVE Ltd (Lot 3) by extending the existing terms for a further 12 months to 31st March 2022, in accordance with the Council’s CPR 126.96.36.199.