Service design & business strategy
Adopt North East
The adoption system has been historically highly fragmented with around 180 agencies recruiting and matching adopters for only 5000 children per year. The majority of agencies are operating at a very small scale and there is an opportunity to improve outcomes for children. The UK government decided in 2015 to push for a consolidation in the sector by encouraging local authorities to form regional adoption agencies – where services are delivered on a greater scale, and with more innovative approaches to practice. We have been commissioned by five local authorities in the North of England to help them to develop a regional adoption agency (RAA) model that suits their needs.
Our first step was to establish the historical volume and cost baseline across the five local authorities to ensure that we could use it to develop and assess the future model. Through the analysis of operational and financial data, and meetings with stakeholders, we produced a detailed analysis of the cost of provision of adoption services including a unit costing that enabled a comparison of the services provided by the local authorities and the identification of best practices. We then worked with practitioners to develop a business model based on a prediction of the numbers of children to be adopted and the introduction of new ways of working and technologies. We finally produced a business case comparing a joint venture approach to a hosted model.
Our analysis enabled the five local authorities to decide for a hosted model and agree between them who will be the service provider. Based on feedback from local authorities and the Department for Education, our analysis was by far the most comprehensive study done on adoption spend and models across all the country. The RAA has now been successfully launched and is up and running.
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