West London Children’s Services Programme
WLA Social Care Efficiencies Unit
This unit was formed in 2009, with the initial aim of undertaking specific, collaborative procurements for adult social care. The work of the unit has evolved into what is now the WLA Social Care Efficiencies Programme and encompasses the collaborative commissioning and management of social care for Adults’ and Children’s services across the west London Boroughs.
A core component of the Adults’ and Children’s programmes of work, undertaken by the unit, will be leading commercial negotiations and contract development for the West London Boroughs as a single client. It is intended that by acting as a single, intelligent, client, the WL Boroughs can secure savings in excess of those they could secure individually.
West London Children’s Services Improvement & Efficiency Programme
Participating councils: Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster.
The budget for externally supplied children’s services for participating councils is £120million. In 2010 the councils agreed to establish the Children’s Services Efficiency Programme which was launched in October 2011. By acting as a sub-region, West London can obtain better terms and outcomes from the market. These nine councils together represent the largest purchasers of children’s services in the country.
The overall aims of the Programme are:
- Developing collaboration across West London to aid better planning and coordination of purchasing in children's service provision
- Enabling better visibility and understanding of the current supply market through better quality and use of expenditure and demand data.
- Saving money through better purchasing, through exploration and implementation of appropriate procurement approaches and supplier negotiations to maintain or improve quality and save on prices paid.
- Co-ordinating future demands for specialist provision, enabling greater choice and alternative provision.
The programme has two work streams addressing services for Looked After Children (LAC) and children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). During 2011/12 the Children’ programme developed its delivery arrangements, carried out a detailed data collection and analysis and undertook extensive consultation with the supplier market. In addition, negotiations were commenced in 2011/12 with suppliers in order to identify with them efficiency savings.
The SEN negotiation work stream has so far involved discussions and negotiations with 30 schools or groups of schools. So far discounts on fee levels valued at £448,000 in a full year and covering four schools and one group of schools have been agreed. In the LAC work stream negotiations with eleven major suppliers shared in common by councils were commenced and a number completed. The agreements with the suppliers provide the opportunity to councils for significant efficiency savings in 2012/13 should they chose to take advantage of them. The result of three completed negotiations show for two of them the full year savings could be in the order of £700,000 (and potentially more). A further negotiation with a supplier of assessment services could offer councils a 30% reduction on current costs. The cash impact will depend on the level of councils’ usage of the service.
Now that the programme of negotiations is in full delivery mode further efficiency opportunities will be secured in 2012/13 from both work streams.
Key achievements in the 2011/2012
- The Children’s programme was successfully launched to the market and commenced negotiations with suppliers which will deliver cashable savings to the West London councils in 2012/13.
- Secured key baseline data about purchasing, demand and plans from councils to underpin the design of the programme.
- Significant capacity building of council staff in West London by providing training in negotiation and commercial skills has been delivered.