Flexible Agreement for the provision of Fostering Agency Placements

Lancashire County Council (the Council) are leading on the procurement of an open Flexible Agreement for the Provision of Fostering Agency Placements.

Blackburn with Darwen Council, Blackpool Council, Cumbria County Council and Lancashire County Council (BBLC) have a statutory duty to provide a sufficiency of foster care placements for Children Looked After (CLA) that they hold responsibility for.

Since 2019 BBCL have been collaborating as part of a Department of Education funded project to improve the sufficiency of foster care placements across the authorities. The first part of this project involved the development of a feasibility study, identifying methods the four authorities could utilise to increase their sufficiency. A key recommendation from this feasibility study was the development of a sub-regional independent foster care agreement between the four Contracting Bodies. By working together, the four Contracting Bodies have developed the Flexible Agreement which this procurement intends to establish, with the aim to influence the behaviour of these agencies in order to prioritise the Children from the four Contracting Bodies within the combined authorities’ geographical footprint.

The Flexible Agreement will be a list of approved Independent Foster Care Providers.

It is intended that the Flexible Agreement will remain effect for 9 years, Service Contracts can be awarded as call-off contracts as detailed within the Invitation to Participate (ITP).

This procurement procedure is considered to be subject to the Light Touch Regime under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

Applicants can apply to join the Flexible Agreement, if Applicants satisfy the required criteria. The Flexible Agreement will be open for new Applications during the initial Application phase. Once the initial Application deadline has passed (see ITP for dates), Applicants can apply to join every three years throughout the term. Following an evaluation process, applicants will receive an outcome notification.  Successful Applicants will be required to sign a Flexible Agreement and will be appointed as a provider.

Lancashire County Council's Flexible Agreement may be used by Contracting Authorities listed below and identified in the contract notice and any successor council as defined in The Local Government (Structural Changes) (Transfer of Functions, Property, Rights and Liabilities) Regulations 2008 to the Contracting Authorities.

  • Cumbria County Council
  • Blackpool Council
  • Blackburn with Darwen Council

The Flexible Agreement will be split into the following Lots:

  • Lot 1 Standard Foster Care. The provision of foster care placements for children and young people aged 0-4, 5-10, 11-15, 16+ and Parent and Child placements
  • Lot 2 Enhanced Foster Care. The provision of foster care placements and support services for children and young people with enhanced needs
  • Lot 3 Step Down into Foster Care. The provision of foster care placements and support services for children and young people who are placed within Residential Care or on a trajectory to be placed within Residential Care.

Applicants must be successful in Lot 1 to be eligible for Lot 2 and/or Lot 3.

The Flexible Agreement is now open for Applications and is anticipated to be open until the initial Application Return Deadline (See the Council's eTendering portal iSupplier and ITP for date).

How to Apply

To participate and join the Flexible Agreement, please read all documents listed below. Applicants must complete all the required documents (as stated in the ITP) and must be returned via the iSupplier portal: www.lancashire.gov.uk/isupplier under RFQ 15314114.

You must also check the iSupplier portal on a regular basis for 'online discussions', this will provide a log of any clarification questions raised by Applicant and the Council's responses.

All aspects (documents/attachments/responses) of the application can and must be submitted via the iSupplier portal. The Council will not accept email or hard copy/paper applications in relation to this process and you must submit your application electronically via the iSupplier portal.

All instructions on how to apply to join the Flexible Agreement, evaluation criteria terms and conditions and documents to be returned can be downloaded from the list of documents below. Please also check the iSupplier portal on a regular basis.

You can access the iSupplier Portal and access other useful information in relation to the iSupplier portal via the ISupplier Protal page on the LCC website:

iSupplier portal support - Lancashire County Council

Please see the Quick Guides page on the LCC website:

Quick guides - Lancashire County Council

Including the 'registration guide' for those who are not yet registered on isupplier and the 'Contracts and sourcing quick guides' for guidance on submitting your application.

If you require support when using iSupplier Portal the contact details are on the 'Isupplier contact' page of the LCC website:

iSupplier contact - Lancashire County Council

Further information and documentation:

Invitation to Participate Documents

 

Total Contract Value:

Estimated total value up to £375,000,000 - £415,000,000

The estimated contract value for the Flexible Agreement allows for cost increases during the term.

 

The estimated contract value for placements made by Lancashire County Council is £150,000,000 - £160,000,000 depending on demand.

The estimated contract value for placements made by Cumbria County Council is £86,000,000 – £96,000,000 depending on demand.

The estimated contract value for placements made by Blackpool Council is £108,000,000 - £118,000,000 depending on demand.

The estimated contract value for placements made by Blackburn with Darwen Council is £31,000,000 - £41,000,000 depending on demand.

 

Is this suitable for SME (Small & Medium Enterprises)? Yes

Is this suitable for VCSE (Voluntary Community & Social Enterprise)? Yes

Contract Type: Services

Procedure Type: Light Touch Regime under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015

Main site or location of works, main place of delivery or main place of performance: Lancashire, Cumbria, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool.

Tender Documents are available until: 04/05/2031

Contact Name: Kirsty Harrison

Contact Email address: kirsty.harrison@lancashire.gov.uk

Contact Telephone Number: 01772 538079

Awarding Authority: Lancashire County Council

Other information:

The Council requires Applicants to be registered with Ofsted or Care Inspectorate for regulated activity. Nominated locations put forward must not be rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted or 'weak' or 'unsatisfactory' by Care Inspectorate.
See invitation to participate for full requirements, particularly in regard to requirements concerning: insurance, financial ratios, consortia requirements, mandatory and discretionary exclusion criteria, references, past performance/experience, registered households, and quality and price criteria.

Provider information days

Any future supplier information days that the Authority will be hosting, including details on how to book onto them, will be advertised here as and when they are arranged.