SUB REGIONAL CHILDREN'S RESIDENTIAL ASSESSMENT CENTRE - PROJECT UPDATE
To consider a report by Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Lead Member for Education, Children’s Services and Public Engagement (copy enclosed) seeking Cabinet approval to sign off the Partnership Financial Deed to allow the contract for the construction of the Children’s Residential Assessment Unit to be awarded.
RESOLVED that Cabinet –
the sign off of the Partnership Financial Deed to allow the contract for the
construction of the Children’s Residential Assessment Unit development to be
that it has read, understood and taken account of the Well-being Impact
Assessment (Appendix 1 to the report) as part of its consideration.
Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Lead Member for Education, Children’s Services and Public
Engagement presented the report seeking Cabinet approval to sign off the
Partnership Financial Deed to allow the contract for the construction of the Children’s
Residential Assessment Unit (CRAU) to be awarded.
CRAU had been developed in partnership with Conwy County Borough Council (CCBC)
and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCU) to be located in Conwy with
CCBC as Lead Partner. The project would
provide 3 purpose built buildings including an assessment unit and residential
accommodation for up to 6 children and young people for a maximum length of 12
weeks. The build was to be fully funded
at a cost of £2,687,524 with Welsh Government ICF (Integrated Care Fund) and
ICF grant was available for financial years 2020/21 and 2021/22. Details of the tender had been provided and
the contract would be awarded subject to sign off of the Funding Deed by CCBC
and DCC. It was envisaged that construction
would commence in spring 2021 with completion expected in spring 2022.
Interim Head of Children’s Services reported on the careful development of the
model based on good practice to meet the needs of vulnerable children; it would
also meet the council’s and Welsh Government priorities, including keeping
children local which was proven to improve outcomes and in the long term reduce
costs. The centre would enable children
to be rehabilitated quicker by working directly with families and the children,
providing respite, and also having a psychological formulation. The team had already been established, making
a difference and diverting children away from long term care. There had been excellent support from all
partner agencies and also from members who formed part of the project board and
would continue to provide direction and oversight. A separate discussion was required around
ongoing costs and shared responsibilities for the centre going forward but there
was a real strength of partnership and commitment in that regard.
welcomed the positive report and hard work undertaken to bring the project to
fruition for the benefit of vulnerable children and their families locally.
following issues were raised during the ensuing debate –
Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill reiterated
that the report referred to the construction phase which was fully funded but
there would be future pressures in terms of the revenue element for delivering
the facility as highlighted in the report.
However in the medium to long term it would be a ‘spend to save’
initiative which would help to reduce the overspend in the service going
forward and he was fully supportive of the project. He added that the capital
element had been reviewed by the Strategic Investment Group and recommended to
Councillor Brian Jones referred to the risk
identified at section 10.4 of the report and cautioned that the acquisition of
a badger license from NRW may take some time and should be kept under close
review. Councillor Meirick Davies
suggested a time extension be sought from Welsh Government if necessary to
guard against any delay incurred as a result.
Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts was confident in the processes followed
by the council in relation to building projects with everyone working together
for the best possible outcomes on site.
The intention was to build the centre and for it to be operational as
soon as possible whilst following the necessary requirements and acting within
the Interim Head of Service responded to
questions raised by Councillor Bobby Feeley confirming that whilst there would
be some flexibility in terms of the 12 week limit the intention was to use the
centre as part of a toolkit for working therapeutically with families to enable
a feasible and safe return home as quickly as possible. Not all children would need a 12 week stay
and there may be a mix of home and respite at the centre but exceeding 12 weeks
would reduce the capacity for other children.
So whilst there was some flexibility the ultimate goal was for the child
to return home as quickly as possible.
The team at the centre may continue to work with families after the
child had returned home as part of the overall process
Councillor Mark Young referred to section
10.3 of the report and need to secure revenue funding for ongoing costs and how
that would be progressed. The Interim
Head of Service advised that no definite funding arrangements had been
confirmed and consideration would be given to both the potential for financial
contributions from partners and Welsh Government grant funding
Councillor Rhys Thomas sat on the Fostering
Panel and was very supportive of the scheme. He encouraged members to attend
the Corporate Parenting Forum to learn more about the excellent work undertaken
by Children’s Services.
RESOLVED that Cabinet –
(a) approve the sign off of
the Partnership Financial Deed to allow the contract for the construction of
the Children’s Residential Assessment Unit development to be awarded, and
(b) confirms that it has
read, understood and taken account of the Well-being Impact Assessment
(Appendix 1 to the report) as part of its consideration.
- CHILDREN'S RESIDENTIAL ASSESSMENT UNIT, item 6. PDF 135 KB
- CRAU Appendix 1 - Well - Being Impact Assessment, item 6. PDF 122 KB
- CRAU Appendix 2 - CARU Funding Agreement (execution version)(73916273_4), item 6. PDF 243 KB
- CRAU Appendix 3 - ML SIG Business Case v1 1, item 6. PDF 721 KB
- CRAU Appendix 4 - Partner and stakeholder Engagement CRAU development ENG, item 6. PDF 108 KB