034_CYP_250521 SR Research

A review of recent research evidence related to children’s care commissioning for C&YPNow

Today sees the publication of Revolution Consulting’s latest update report investigating the profitability and risk levels amongst the largest independent providers of children’s social care services.


This research is commissioned by the Local Government Association, and updates information first provided in this format in February 2020.

Much has changed in the intervening year, not least as a result of the wide and dramatic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. The full impact on local authority finances and on those of their providers, including those studied in this report, will become increasingly apparent during the further disclosures and financial reporting during the coming year. Further updates to this work are therefore planned during 2021.

The announcement in January 2021 of the commencement of the long-awaited Care Review includes clear indication that one area of focus for the work will be on the impact of increasing demand, high and rising prices and the perceived unresponsiveness of some parts of the market (sic). Questions to be addressed include asking who is best to provide value for money and sustainable services, and also where accountability should lie. The role of independent sector services, how they are commissioned, and by whom, therefore seems to fit squarely in the crosshairs of the review.

The importance of the availability of high-quality information about the sector in the coming year cannot therefore be understated. In addition, there is an imperative that the information is properly understood and interpreted. Some of the information available requires technical knowledge from those with qualified accountancy backgrounds to aid understanding for all readers. It also benefits from first-hand insights gained through direct experience within the sector and a continuing dialogue with those directly involved all around the sector.

Revolution Consulting is therefore offering a series of on-line seminars in the coming weeks.

These will include an overview of the materials covered in the published reports and will also include the opportunity to explore the implications of the findings with fellow councillors, directors, commissioners, policy makers, providers and other interested parties.

“Hear insights from the information in the study directly from the author”

If you are interested in securing a place to attend one of these events, and to receive further information about them please contact us via www.revolution-consulting.org or via email contact@revolution-consulting.org

Please identify your organisation and your role so that we can provide you with the appropriate seminar details.

A number of free places are available, and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

In her April 2020 inaugural address, Jenny Coles, the new President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, discusses the possibility of “huge spikes in demand across the children’s social care spectrum” as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

If this forecast turns out to be true it will have a huge impact on a children’s services sector already in financial crisis before the virus struck. By November 2019 local authorities in England reported overspending their children’s services budgets for 2018/19 to the tune of £800m (Local Government Chronicle [LGC], 2019), with even higher spending anticipated for 2019/2020.

With the Treasury having to take unprecedented steps to prevent economic collapse since March 2020 the situation post-Coronavirus will be anything but normal. There may be little or no capacity for additional funding for local authorities and further forms of austerity cannot be ruled out.

Wholesale reappraisal of how all local authority services are funded and provided looks inevitable, with children’s social care and the way in which the services for the sector are commissioned and stewarded an essential ingredient needing redesign.

This discussion paper written by Andrew Rome, Director of Revolution Consulting, supported by IPC’s Director Keith Moultrie, considers how the historic commissioned interfaces with independent providers can be transformed to survive the aftermath of these unprecedented challenges. Supply management childrens services post crisis

For more information contact Keith Moultrie, Director of the Institute of Public Care, ipc@brookes.ac.ukor Andrew Rome, Director, Revolution Consulting contact@revolution-consulting.org

This is confirmation that in the report “Profit making and Risk in Independent Children’s Social Care Placements” (published today 27 February 2020) the results shown for Aldebury Holdings are the aggregated results for the whole group of companies including Blue Sky, Nexus and other acquired business. The collection of the different operations is also known in the sector as BSN Social Care.


Andrew Rome 27 Feb 2020

LGA have today published research carried out by Revolution Consulting in December and January.

The report covers a complex and detailed analysis, raising a number of issues and areas for further consideration and policy development.

Media coverage can only begin to highlight some of the issues.

Calm, considered and intelligent strategic responses are what the children at the heart of this need from the adults who hold responsibilities for stewardship of the sector.



Link to C&YP Now coverage of Revolution Consulting report for ICHA




This is the sixth annual insight into the children’s homes sector based on a comprehensive survey of a representative sample of provider organisations who are members of the Independent Children’s Homes Association.

ICHA Jan 2020 survey final 12 Feb 2020


Municipal Journal article by Leonie Cowen and Andrew Rome

click here


C&YPNow have published this article related to the NCERCC/Revolution Consulting report on pricing:



The National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care (NCERCC) and Revolution Consulting have published a report providing new insight and reference for anyone involved in children’s social care.


This third report, continuing the research carried out over a six-year period into prices paid by local authorities for independent sector children’s homes places , is  based on three extensive Freedom of Information disclosures by local authorities in England. In this report prices of local authority homes are also included. 9535 placement costs were included.

The headline results show:

  • The average price paid for a children’s homes place in the private and voluntary sector in the year to 31 March 2019 was £3,970 per week.
  • The range and profile of prices paid demonstrates an underlying complexity of needs and services.
  • Prices have increased on average by around 6% per annum since 2013, with some evidence of an acceleration in more recent years.
  • Local Authority homes priced on an equivalent basis to the independent sector cost 20% more than independent sector places at £4,750 per week.
  • The results are consistent with the findings of the Personal Social Services Research Unit’s annual unit cost calculations based on local authority returns to the Department for Education .

Stanley and Rome commented:

The work shows the importance of research and evidence underpinning all discussions and policy.

Along with forthcoming publications from local government and from provider organisations in relation to profitability and costs this report provides expert research material for the impending independent government care review.

The finding that local authority homes are more expensive is a vital piece of information in the discussion of the future funding of children’s homes. Increasing independent sector prices confirm the view of various preceding studies that local authority commissioning and procurement practices have had a limited impact.

Those involved in strategies for the care of children must engage with the complexity of the situation; simplification of the issues will not suffice.