Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 5:45 pm ar 21 Tachwedd 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

We are concerned about clause 11(1)[a] which we understand provides for powers to make regulations to underpin or make changes to the interagency fee which funds some of our services. If we are to retain choice of agency for prospective adopters and the ability of children and young people to have choice of and access to the best placement for them we must retain voluntary adoption agencies. To do so we must have realistic interagency fees. The current fee, which is about to be subject to a major revision by the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies, was always constructed to cover the actual costs of placements. It is our experience that local authorities seem to believe that they can always make placements more cheaply but are not able to calculate the actual unit cost, which must include premises, utilities, training, supervision and management costs. As the Consortium of Voluntary Agencies reports, the voluntary sector already subsidises adoption services by about £3.5 million per year. Anecdotally we have evidence that families are not being considered for children because the local authority does not have the budget for interagency fees. There are even instances of placements being abandoned during introductions because the local authority refused to find the interagency fee. This is hardly child centred practice. If the National Adoption Register is to work effectively the issue of inter-agency fees must be addressed before it is fully operational.