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 CCRAG@hertfordshire.gov.uk 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 for 2017/18.
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.
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)
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.
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 2018.
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.
From January 2018 there is a small Provider Subscription Fee (PDF 330kb) 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.