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We are leading the Southwest Sufficiency programme. This aims to ensure local authorities can get the placements they need at the right time, at sustainable costs, that attracts the market to develop the services needed for the area.

The programme will look to support and establish new ways of working by further developing partnerships and networks across local authorities, providers, and independent agencies.

Why the project is needed

Local authorities have had growing concerns around the sufficiency of placements for some time with challenges including:

  • lack of local sufficiency with fewer places available 
  • local authorities competing for same placement
  • lack of local specialist provision to meet the needs 
  • lack of data led decision making
  • recruiting and retaining a workforce
  • overspend
  • growing Children Looked After population
  • purchasing systems not keeping up with demand
  • more young people being placed at a distance and out of area

Aims and objectives

The objectives of this project are to:

  • positively influence the market
  • further build upon and retain our workforce
  • develop provision to support emerging Children and Young People with complex needs aged 5 to 12
  • build and sustain local provision through partner arrangements to increase local specialist and complex needs provision
  • develop, improve, and sustain a regional approach to sharing best practice and problem solving
  • develop an approach for data led informed decision making
  • develop new models of commissioning and routes to market


The key deliverables from this project will be to:

1: Sourcing Sufficiency

This project led by Somerset will look to improve regional sharing and intelligent use of data; to better understand sufficiency issues and, plan for future demand in terms of need and provision. To support we will need a process for capturing referral form information and placement finding opportunities.

2: Workforce Strategy

This project led by Gloucestershire will work collaboratively with our independent sector and regional local authorities, to develop a regional workforce strategy for provision staff and carers for residential, foster care and special schools.

3: Special Education Needs and Disability Commissioning Relationships and Processes

This project, led by Bristol, will work collaboratively with our independent sector to develop new and improved processes which will embody partnership and relational commissioning. 

4: Commissioning Network

This project led by South Gloucestershire will lead on sharing best practice, find solutions to challenges and build and sustain relationships across the region. There will be focus workshops on designing models, working with Ofsted, developing collaborative relationships and partner agreements, and ultimately bridging the learning across regional networks.

5: Therapeutic Provision

This pilot project led by Cornwall will support young children ages 5 to 12 who have experienced trauma, neglect, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse to grow socially and emotionally. The 52-week residential special school provision will ultimately develop skills to cope with school and everyday life and wherever possible, to return to full-time carers and day schools before they reach their teenage years.

6: Same Day Provision

This pilot project lead by North-Somerset will look to develop short term emergency provision with assessment opportunities. C&YP will be supported in a safe environment whilst a permanent home is found. This will largely support our C&YP with more complex needs. We will look to create a wraparound service support model with health, education, social care, police, commissioners, local safeguarding partnerships, and providers. If successful, this pilot will be rolled out across the region.

Who we are working with

The following local authorities are involved in this project:

  1. South Gloucestershire (lead)
  2. Bath & North East Somerset
  3. Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole
  4. Bristol
  5. Cornwall
  6. Devon
  7. Dorset
  8. Gloucestershire
  9. North Somerset
  10. Plymouth
  11. Somerset
  12. Swindon
  13. Wiltshire
  14. Torbay

Contact Information

For further information on this project, contact either the programme lead, Ross Chick, on or programme manager, Tamsin Cullum, on

Logos of the councils that worked on the project

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