Freedom of information response

Supervised Contact Service

Publication date: 
Monday 7 September 2020
Request: 

1. Brightway Contact Services would like to enquire if you currently have a preferred supplier list or Master Vendor contract in place for the provision of supervised or supported contacts for children in care? Or whether you have in house service?
2. If so please can you advise when does the contract come up for renewal? And what is the process for announcing/advertising and applying?
3. Would the in-house service ever be put out to tender?
4. What is the average hourly rate paid for supervised contact from these agencies?
5. What is the councils annual spend on outsourced agencies for supervised contact for 2018/2019 and 2019/2020?
6. What is the name of the procurement and placement officer responsible for this service?

Response: 

1. The contact service is provided in house via the Oaktree Resource Centre which is staffed to cover the contacts required. On occasions we have made use of agency staff to cover contacts but do not plan to do so in future. We have agreed suppliers for agency staff when needed

2. As above

3. Contracts for agency staff are managed via thurrock@matrix-scm.com 

4. No

5. Refusal S43 (please see below)

6. 

Year

Total agency spend on Contact Service

2019-20

£72,987

2018-19

£131,729

7. Contracts for agency staff are managed via thurrock@matrix-scm.com

With regards to Questions 5, the council are of the view that the release of the information in scope of your request would prejudice its own commercial interests and the commercial interests of the service provider. The reasons for this have been captured below under the public interest test section.

Public Interest Test:

The council have considered the public interest test in relation to section 43 (2) in releasing the information in scope of your request. The outcome of this is below.

  • Public interest in disclosure:
    • Accountability for spending of public money. Where a public authority is purchasing goods/services there is a public interest in ensuring value for money is achieved.
  • Public interest to maintain the exemption:
    • Releasing cost figures for a specific service may affect the company’s ability to commercially tender for the same service in the future.
    • Companies should be able to compete fairly on a level playing field. If the details of costs for services are publically available then this would put the current service provider at a commercial disadvantage should a competitor be made aware of the costs charged.
    • It will hinder the ongoing working relationship between the council and the current service provider.

Based on the above, it is the Council’s view that there is a stronger public interest to maintain the use of the exemption for section 43 (2).

You are free to use any information supplied to you for your own use, including non-commercial research purposes. However, any other type of re-use, for example, by publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright owner.

Where the copyright is owned by Thurrock Council, you must apply to the Council to re-use the information. Please email information.matters@thurrock.gov.uk if you wish to re-use the information you have been supplied. For information where the copyright is owned by another person or organisation, you must apply to the copyright owner to obtain their permission.

Request reference:
FOI 10178