Counting the human cost of supported accommodation

December 17, 2020
Analysis, Data

BBC Newsnight worked with Spend Network to report on supported accommodation for looked after children. This forms part of their series Britain’s Hidden Children’s Homes.

At present, over 5,000 looked-after-children are living in “supported accommodation”. Supported accommodation are homes that provide support but not care to children under 18. These homes are outside Ofsted’s mandate for registration or inspection.

The BBC and the Open Contracting Partnership used our data and analysis for the quantitative base for the Newsnight investigation. Spend Network has one of the largest databases on public sector spend data in the country. Included in this data are the ‘bank statements’ of most UK public sector entities. We matched these statements to major providers of supported accommodation using our algorithms and human verification. From this we built a picture of the overall supported accommodation market, its size and regional variation.

We also learned about the deeper human costs. Some councils paid two providers up to £28,000 a month for a particular child to be accommodated. For one particular child, the child’s council paid more than £15,000 per month for their accommodation and support. This was despite the child lacking bare necessities such as bedding, food or cooking equipment. In another similar case, a council paid £2,000 a month for a child to live in a house without essential household and living items. By contrast, one provider could earn up to £74,000 in fees a month for just six children.

This report is an important reminder of the value of open data for better outcomes around public spending. We are proud to work with the BBC and the Open Contracting Partnership to make this happen. You can learn more about Newsnight’s findings on here or on BBC’s website:

February 28, 2021

Do Framework Agreements Have Value?

-Ian Makgill Framework agreements are like umbrella agreements, and are usually made with a group of providers to supply a set of...
February 28, 2021

NSW Aims To Reserve Procurement Budgets For SMEs

We're always pleased to see governments around the world improving their procurement processes, by broadening opportunities for all types of business to...
February 28, 2021

Creating Synergy Between Politics & Procurement.

The need for administrations to act at pace is often at odds with the processes and procedures needed for good procurement. If...
February 28, 2021

Canada Launches Green Procurement

We are always pleased to see governments taking steps towards better procurement practices. Recently, the Canadian Government took a step forward for...
February 28, 2021

Not All Data Is The Same: Rules For Data Integrity.

-Ian Mackill Not all data is the same. It might have come from the same source, but how it gets treated is...
February 4, 2021

Post Brexit Procurement – What Will Change?

With the Brexit transition period officially behind us, it's worth considering the potential impacts of Brexit on Government procurement into the future....
February 28, 2021

Where Next For Data Led Procurement in Europe? A Discussion.

The They Buy For You  Project (TBFY) concluded on 31 December 2020. To mark the occasion, we look back at three years...
February 28, 2021

Spending $400bn – A Demanding Task For Biden.

-Fiona Hunt As my colleague Ian wrote this week, governments are increasingly looking to procurement to deliver better social outcomes. President Biden...
January 31, 2021

Social Procurement Demands Data

-Ian Makgill Social value is going to be a critical feature of public procurement in the coming years. The urge to 'build...
January 31, 2021

Where Are All The Small Businesses?

While 2020 was an incredibly rocky road for many businesses globally, in public procurement it was SMEs in particular who lost out,...
January 31, 2021

Are UK, France and Germany Having a Competition Crisis?

We recently completed a study of European government procurement changes in the three years up to and including 2020, to assess the...
January 31, 2021

How Long Does It Take A Department To Publish A Contract Notice?

Public sector organisations have, according to guidance, thirty days to publish details of their contracts online. So, thirty days after a contract...
January 31, 2021

Controversial Food Box Contractors Face Scrutiny

There is increased scrutiny for the suppliers of food boxes provided to the chronically ill and those asked to shelter through the...
January 31, 2021

£550 Million Missile Contract Signed.

Yesterday defence Defence Minister Jeremy Quin announced a £550 million contract was awarded for new surge-attack missile The contract award promises 'hundreds...
January 31, 2021

Time To Build More Open Products For Government

-Ian Makgill, Founder Spend Network Just before Christmas, DXC (formerly Hewlett Packard) was awarded a contract for £430,000 by the Business Services...

Newsletter

Compelling research, insights and data directly into your inbox.

Recent media stories

Welp Magazine
December 23, 2020
FT PPE Story
The Financial Times
December 9, 2020

Search