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Care Homes: Fees and Charges

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL2333, tabled on 18 August 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps, if any, they plan to take following reports that some private care providers are charging local authorities up to £10,000 a week to look after one child in care.

Answered on

31 August 2021

Local authorities are responsible for ensuring there are sufficient places to meet the needs of looked after children in their area, including commissioning places from private or voluntary sector providers as required. They are responsible for agreeing prices with providers accordingly.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a market study that will examine the lack of availability and increasing costs in children’s social care provision. The CMA is examining concerns around high prices paid by local authorities, specifically prices charged by providers and variation between prices paid for similar types of placements.

The government has also committed to undertaking a widescale review of children’s social care, taking a fundamental look at the needs, experiences and outcomes of the children it supports, and what is needed to make a real difference. The review will be bold, broad, and independently led, taking a fundamental look across children’s social care, with the aim of better supporting, protecting, and improving the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people. The review will be evidenced based and bring together a broad range of expertise.

The government will study the findings and recommendations of both reviews carefully when they report next year.