Decision details

Development of an offer for children with disabilities

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Report of the Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, proposing the implementation of a new eligibility criteria and short break offer for children with disabilities.


(i)  To consider the responses to the consultation exercise on revisions to eligibility criteria and service offer for the short breaks service.

(ii)  To authorise the procurement of services and activities to support the proposed new Short Break offer.

(iii)  To approve the use of the grant process and criteria to award funding for services and activities to support the new Short Break offer.

(iv)  To delegate authority to the Director of Quality & Integration to carry out a procurement process for the provision of services as set out in this report to support the short break offer and, following consultation with the Service Director: Legal & Governance to enter into contracts in accordance with the Contract Procedure Rules.

(v)  To delegate authority to the Director of Quality & Integration following consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care to decide on the final model of commissioned services to support the short breaks offer and all decision making in relation to this recommissioning.

(vi)  To authorise the Director of Quality and Integration to take all necessary actions to implement the proposals contained in this report.

(vii)  To note the response from the formal consultation to retain the names of the Jigsaw service and the Buzz Network.

Reasons for the decision:

1.  To improve outcomes for children and young people with disabilities by offering services based on need as the current eligibility criteria and short break offer are unfair, inequitable and not financially sustainable. 

2.  To use the best available approaches (procurement and grants) to secure sustainable yet flexible services against clear and simple eligibility criteria.

Alternative options considered:

1.  ‘Do nothing’ is not a viable option. To do nothing would maintain an inequitable and unfair system while also placing unacceptable financial pressures on the current budgets.

2.  There are approximately 6,785  children and young people with disabilities in the city. Maintaining the current unfair and inequitable eligibility criteria for the Buzz Network could see the existing demand continue to increase and rise significantly above the existing 1,250 service users already accessing services (including personal budgets).  This was considered but rejected as it does not ensure resources are allocated to ensure an appropriate level of support is provided according to the impact of the child or young person’s disability on their own and their family’s lives and it is financially untenable.

3.  In addition, if the current eligibility criteria were maintained it would not enable Children’s Social Care to fulfil its functions under Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014, the Care Act 2014 and the Children Act 1989 (S17) by providing children and young people with disabilities with a social care assessment and access to services according to need. 

4.  The option to recommission services consistent with the current arrangements (One to one, residential and playschemes) was considered and rejected as a number of concerns and challenges were raised by parents, commissioners and providers. These would not be addressed if this option was pursued. Their concerns and challenges included:

  One to one services struggling to meet demand and not always being able to provide the same staff member on a consistent basis to support the child or young person,

  The benefits of using a ‘framework’ approach were not realised as only one provider joined the ‘framework’ to provide overnight residential placements and

  Playschemes were limited to specialist playschemes which some parents felt were unsuitable for their children. 

Report author: Sandra Jerrim

Publication date: 20/03/2018

Date of decision: 20/03/2018

Decided at meeting: 20/03/2018 - Cabinet

Effective from: 29/03/2018

Accompanying Documents: