Agenda item

Care Leavers Offer and Supported Accommodation

Changes in national policy and legislation require the Council to reassess the existing services provided for those young people who are leaving the care of the Council. Published in July 2016 the ‘Keep on Caring – Supporting Young People from Care to Independence’ details the requirements of the Local Authority to support those young people leaving care.


The paper provides an assessment of the potential demand created by the new legislation and recommendations for taking the work forward on the development of a full and comprehensive Care Leavers Offer.


The Health and Wellbeing Board has previously requested that it be provided a report on accommodation provision for care leavers.




The Board was informed that changes in national policy and legislation required the Council to reassess services for care leavers. The Children and Social Work Act 2017 called for innovative and effective services to be developed for care leavers. This required the provision of a stronger offer and for work to take place with care leavers to co-design services. A draft Care Leavers Offer had been developed. Engagement work would now take place with young people to make it user friendly and accessible.


There were 370 care leavers in Medway. Details of needs of care leavers were included in the report. It had been nationally recognised that care leavers were a vulnerable group of young people who had poorer outcomes than their peers and struggled to make the transition to independent living.


It was noted that the age limit for provision of services to care leavers had increased to 25. It had previously been 21, unless the individual was in education or was disabled. Key outcomes of the offer would need to address how to support people to live independently and how to provide holistic support and ensure access to education and training, including apprenticeships. The offer would also look to provide care leavers with stability, security, improved access to health support and financial stability. There was a need to make the needs of care leavers themselves central to this offer and to ensure that the offer was updated to reflect this.


Existing methods used to provide accommodation were considered to be outdated and therefore the framework needed to be updated. This would include a robust consultation and engagement process. A re-procurement process was due to commence after March 5, subject to agreement at Cabinet. Specifications would be presented to a market engagement event.


A Board Member said that a number of Councils were offering council tax relief to care leavers and asked whether this could be considered in Medway. The Member also noted that a number of types of accommodation were in short supply locally and questioned whether sufficient accommodation would be built up until 2035, the period covered by the Local Plan


Officers advised that discretionary relief for care leavers’ council tax would be applied over the next 12 months on a case by case basis for relief to be provided where genuinely required. Consideration would then be given to whether this relief should be included in the council tax exemption scheme. Consideration was also been given to increasing the use of shared accommodation. Any such use would be based on individual need.


In response to a Board Member who asked what handover process was in place if a care leaver moved to another local authority area, officers advised that personal advisors would continue to support care leavers. Where this was not possible, the Council’s care leaving team would liaise with the care leaving team from another local authority. This was dependent on the care leaver keeping in touch and letting the Council know where they were moving to.




The Board:


i)    Noted the development of the Offer to Care Leavers and commented on ideas and initiatives that could contribute towards developing a robust and comprehensive Offer from all partners, as described in the report.


ii)    Noted the imminent re-procurement of the semi-independent Supported Accommodation service and upcoming engagement with the Market.


iii)  Noted and considered its contribution to the development of apprenticeships for young people who have or are in the process of leaving care.

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