The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has appointed the joint legal team at Reading Borough Council to a £1.1m contract for the provision of legal services in relation to adults and children’s social care.
Reading had previously provided these services under an agreement across the six unitary authorities in Berkshire. The most recent agreement of this type had come into effect on 19 July 2013 and was a rolling annual agreement without any fixed term.
However, according to a report on the RBWM site published last November, the service had not been subject to market testing since the council became a unitary in 1998 and costs had continued to escalate annually.
The procurement exercise was undertaken to examine whether value for money was being provided.
The service that Reading will provide under the new contract, which runs for three years with the option for an additional 12-month extension, includes the following elements for children's services:
- Advice and guidance on legal cases within children's services;
- Representations in court as required;
- Good working relationships with chambers to enable a responsive partnership style relationship;
- Weekly legal workshops for children's care management staff to be held at the Town Hall;
- Representation for fostering and adoption cases;
- Support staff with legal queries and nuances of law that take place;
- Advice on complaints in relation to children's services;
- Advice and representation in relation to judicial review.
Reading will also cover the following key elements for adult social care services:
- Advice and representation for adult social care;
- Advice and representation in relation to judicial review;
- Advice on complaints in relation to adult social care;
- Legal training for staff in relation to adult social care;
- Advice on complaints and responding to data information requests where appropriate.
Reading won the contract ahead of two rival bidders. The contract was awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender in terms of price (weighting 40) and quality (weighting 60).