1.“How many looked after children under 18 was the authority responsible for at financial year end, 2018/19? 750
2. How many of these were accommodated in residential facilities within the authority? 65
3. How many of these were accommodated in residential facilities outside the authority? 67
The figures provided in response to questions 1-3 above relate to the data as submitted in the Children Looked After (CLA) return in July 2019. This information will be published on the Department For Education website in due course.
The figures are for those children still in care on the 31/03/19. We have defined “Residential” to include the following placement types: – H5 – Semi-independent living accommodation not subject to the children’s homes regulations (specific staff employed to give support), K1 – Secure Unit, K2 – Childrens Home, R1 – residential Care home (not children home – including some kind of personal care or nursing), S2 – Residential Special School, R3 – Residential Family centre and R5 – Young offenders Institution.
4. What was the average weekly cost of accommodating these children outside the authority?
The Council can confirm that it holds the average weekly cost of accommodating children inside and outside of the authority but considers this information to be exempt under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 – ‘Commercial Interests’. We believe that releasing this information would not be in the public’s best interests as it would negatively affect our ability as a purchaser of these services to achieve best value for money through negotiation with providers, which is frequently required.
Average costs supplied would be higher than some of the prices that we pay for services within a high cost, competitive market, and may lead to the increase of costs associated with these services. Release of this information would therefore be likely to prejudice the Council’s commercial interests.
All ‘spending over £500’ is, however, publicly available on the Devon County Council website should you wish to review this. This contains details of specific payments made to providers.
5. What was the average weekly cost of accommodating these children inside the authority?
Please see response to question 4 above.
6. What was the total annual spend on accommodating looked after children in residential facilities, inside and outside the authority? The total children’s social care annual net spend on residential placements in 2018/19 was £13,106,000.
Further information is available on the Budgets page of our website.
The cost of the following placement types are excluded from the above figure so as to give a representative reflection of the cost of residential provision:
* residential respite placements,
* in-house residential placements
* placements that fall under the DfE heading H5 – Semi-independent living accommodation not subject to the children’s homes regulations (specific staff employed to give support).
In the interests of providing a reflective average, please feel free to highlight or exclude any cases where, for exceptional medical reasons, the average weekly costs are significantly above your norm.”