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Hertfordshire County Council

The Children's Cross Regional Arrangements Group (CCRAG) is a partnership of local authorities working together to support the sourcing, contracting, monitoring and annual fee negotiations for children's placements and to improve the outcomes for all children and young people.

We are the host local authority for CCRAG. We work closely with local authority partners and service providers.

Benefits of partnership working (PDF 84kb) CCRAG response to COVID-19 – Quality Assurance

Key priorities

  • To improve overall quality standards and outcomes for young people.
  • To enable local authorities to work in partnership to reduce duplication of tasks and share information securely in one place.
  • Sharing of quality assurance monitoring and fee negotiations.
  • Providing quality up to date information on service providers.
  • Effective communication across the partnership.

The group does this by coordinating procedures that monitor the quality and cost of placements. Information is shared via the CCRAG database.

Key workstreams (PDF 320kb)

Local authority partners and key stakeholders 2020/21

  • Bedford Borough Council
  • Buckinghamshire County Council
  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Darlington Borough Council*
  • Durham County Council*
  • Essex County Council
  • Gateshead Council*
  • Hartlepool Borough Council*
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • London Borough of Hackney
  • London Borough of Newham
  • London Borough of Redbridge
  • London Borough of Waltham Forest
  • Luton Borough Council
  • Middlesbrough Council*
  • Milton Keynes Council
  • Newcastle City Council*
  • Norfolk County Council
  • North Tyneside Council*
  • Northumberland County Council*
  • North Somerset Council
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Peterborough City Council
  • Redcar & Cleveland Council*
  • Slough Children's Service Trust
  • South Gloucestershire Council
  • South Tyneside Council*
  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
  • Sunderland City Council*
  • Surrey County Council
  • Stockton on Tees Borough Council
  • Swindon Borough Council
  • Thurrock Council
  • West Sussex County Council

*NEPO Local Authorities are not currently sharing monitoring and fee negotiations but using the database to search for placements

Stakeholders (PDF 562kb)


We welcome enquiries from potential local authority partners.

Contact CCRAG to find out more about the benefits of joining the partnership


CCRAG's procedures

Read the CCRAG information sharing protocol for CCRAG's consistent, fair and transparent method of sharing information between CCRAG partners.

Fee increase procedures

CCRAG local authorities work together to monitor and negotiate increases in annual fees from independent and non-maintained special schools and residential children homes.

Whenever 2 or more CCRAG local authorities have placements with a provider, one of them is nominated as the link to conduct a fees consultation with the provider on behalf of the other local authorities. Email if you don't know your link local authority.

The CCRAG Partnership recognises the benefits that local authorities and providers achieve by working together in terms of efficiency, consistency and transparency.

All CCRAG local authorities want to work closely with service providers to ensure that our young people receive the best possible outcomes whilst in our care.

Our challenge as local authorities is to maintain this quality provision despite reducing budgets and an upward increase in demand. It is essential that as local authorities we ensure that “Every Penny Counts”. We are no longer in a position to be able to afford blanket uplifts and annual increases across the board. We have to buy smarter and scrutinise our spending to ensure that we are achieving best value.

With this is mind, and in line with national contracts, we're not expecting  providers who have continuing placements from CCRAG member local authorities to apply inflationary increases to their fees. 

We've listened to providers’ feedback and are aware that services find it frustrating to receive different paperwork to comply with local authorities’ or partnership requests.

We recognise that completing multiple forms can be very time consuming and detract resources from the fundamental services. So we've worked with the West Midlands Partnership to standardise our paperwork and align processes where appropriate.

The result of negotiations and decisions are shared across the CCRAG local authorities so they can make their own decisions regarding placement fees. Fee increases don’t have to be regionally approved and individual local authorities can pursue separate negotiations with individual providers if appropriate.

Provider uplift application form (XLSM 303Kb)

Fee increase procedures (PDF 181Kb) opening in new window

Freeopening in a new window

Quality assurance monitoring procedure

The CCRAG monitoring procedures allow 1 local authority to visit a provider to undertake monitoring and share their findings. This allows providers to focus on the young people in their care rather than having numerous monitoring visits from commissioners in addition to visits from Ofsted and regulation 44 visitors.

One of the statutory duties for local authority is to evidence the extent to which children’s services improve the wellbeing of children and relevant young people. Local authorities need to be confident that systems are in place to monitor their placements to ensure providers operate safe, effective and efficient services.

In this context local authority have joined together to develop and implement CCRAG Procedures for monitoring provision in Non-Maintained and Independent Special Schools (NMISS) and Children’s residential homes.

Allocated and sole placements – link local authorities

The CCRAG monitoring procedures (referred to as Quality Assurance Monitoring) involve the allocation of all NMISS and Children's Residential Homes used by 2 or more of the local authority across the participating regions, to a link local authority.

Each link local authority undertakes monitoring tasks (Quality Assurance Monitoring visits) with its allocated providers on behalf of the other local authorities using a standard form.

Where 2 or more partner local authorities have placements, visits will be allocated to the local authority who’s Head Office is closest to the placement address.  

Where 1 local authority in the CCRAG partnership has a sole placement with a provider, that provider will automatically be the link local authority but be under no obligation from CCRAG to carry out a monitoring visit. 

However, local authorities often undertake monitoring visits to their sole placements, and where this is the case that local authority is encouraged to use the partnership’s forms (Quality Assurance Monitoring Form) for the monitoring and submit this for inclusion on to the CCRAG Providers Database.

Sharing of this information is facilitated through a web based regional database known as the CCRAG providers database.  Local authorities are requested that where a provider has not registered on the providers database they take all necessary steps to encourage the provider to register their establishment.

Quality assurance monitoring procedure (PDF)

Provider quality assurance policies and procedures (PDF)

CCRAG research and development

CCRAG have been working with Dr Mark Kerr from the Centre for Outcomes of Care to make our work more outcome-focussed and evidence-based.

This work has been funded via CCRAG, in response to current pressures and challenges reported by providers, trade bodies and local authorities.

We're happy to share this work, in line with our commitment to achieve efficiencies for local authority and provider colleagues:

In the next quarter, we'll be looking at how we complete the CCRAG fee process by improving our intelligence and understanding of providers ultimately owned overseas. Recent events have highlighted a need for local authorities to monitor the financial stability of providers, which is more challenging with companies ultimately owned offshore.

If you'd like to join CCRAG, please contact us.

CCRAG subscription fees

The CCRAG Steering Group are committed to working in an open and transparent way, engaging with all stakeholders on an equal basis to create a partnership that improves outcomes for children and young people. We believe that by working together we can achieve more.  We look forward to continuing to build on these relationships and working in partnership in 2019.

Each CCRAG local authority partner currently pays an annual subscription fee of £4,000. This includes access to all information produced from April 2018, a minimum of 3 workshops a year, a newly revised monitoring process, and moving forwards an outcome-based fee process. 

There is a small Provider Subscription Fee (PDF 184Kb) Opening a new window to fund the cost of joint networking and development opportunities.

Provider access to the CCRAG database will remain free of charge.

CCRAG calendar of events


Providers database

Please regularly update your provider record, to ensure local authority placement teams have up to date information.

The CCRAG providers database holds information on all NMISS and children's residential home. When providers register on the CCRAG database they are asked to provide information on their services, current and planned vacancies, fees, inspection and monitoring reports. All this information can be accessed by CCRAG local authorities who are looking to purchase placements for children and young people.

Providers can publish any information about the services they offer that will assist local authorities to make placement decisions. CCRAG recommend uploading documents such as Inspection Reports, Local Area Risks Assessments, Young People’s Guides, and Statement of Purpose as a minimum.

Providers also have the option to upload copies of insurance documents to aid quality assurance checks. Providers can direct local authorities to their CCRAG page instead of sending out information separately.

The CCRAG providers database is an ideal tool for providers to support local authorities to make informed decisions on placements as well the opportunity for providers to advertise vacancies and the services they offer children and young people.

Benefits for providers

  • Registration and access is easy, free and password protected.
  • A simple and quick registration process.
  • CCRAG will match your service with the needs of placing local authorities.
  • Ability to update your vacancies at any time.
  • Real time information is available to CCRAG local authority placement teams.
  • A reduction in monitoring visits from CCRAG local authorities as one visit can be conducted and shared with partners via the portal.
  • Consistency of practice across all participating CCRAG local authorities that reduces bureaucracy for providers.


Contact us

The activities of CCRAG are co-ordinated by a team based in Children's Services on the children and young peoples commissioning team.

Email CCRAG if you have any questions about the partnership.

Children's Services
Children & Young People's Commissioning
Farnham House
Six Hills Way


The team

Martha Moroney – Senior commissioning manager

Martha has a range of management responsibilities within the team, both for Hertfordshire County Council and for regional commissioning activities. She provides management support and advice on CCRAG issues.

Karen Faulkner – CCRAG commissioning and monitoring officer

Karen is responsible for developing all the CCRAG procedures and takes the lead in working with all local authorities, providers and other stakeholders on behalf of the partnership.

Ross Turner – Senior support officer

Ross is responsible for all CCRAG administration.  He is available to offer advice and support to local authority and provider partners in relation to all CCRAG activities.


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