A large number of municipalities are experiencing difficulties procuring homes for the care or residence of children and adolescents (HVB) with this type of need. The Swedish Competition Authority has mapped out the most commonly reported problems and has published a number of advisory guidelines in a report in response to these problems
A large number of children and adolescents need daily intervention outside their own homes, which is provided by foster family homes and residential or care homes (HVB). More than 32,000 children and adolescents were placed in this kind of home at some point in 2013. Foster family homes were the most common placement alternative. This report focuses on HVB and the need for this form of intervention which has increased in the last few years, particularly when it comes to unaccompanied refugee children. The costs for HVB are around SEK 6 billion a year.
The Swedish Competition Authority has mapped out the market for municipal procurements of HVB, and has focused specifically on the problems that have been reported. In its report ”HVB för barn och unga – En kartläggning av kommunernas ramavtalsupphandlingar” (”Residential or care homes for children and adolescents - the mapping out of framework agreement procurements”), the authority describes the reported problems and outlines a number of proposals.
Many municipalities experience difficulties formulating clear-cut, appropriate requirements in their procurement documents and often struggle to identify differences in quality in their evaluations. This is one of the findings of the report in which representatives from the municipalities replied to a questionnaire. Difficulties in calling off the best homes to satisfy individual needs is reported to be a problem. Another problem is that many municipalities find it difficult to follow both the procurement regulations and the Social Services Act because in practice, call-offs are geared to the individual's needs.
In response to the difficulties reported by municipalities, the Swedish Competition Authority proposes that the municipalities should perform needs and market analyses to help them procure more strategically and that they should collaborate on procurements and agreement monitoring and on disseminating and sharing experiences. Evaluating the latest HVB procurements and prioritising agreement monitoring in the organisation are important steps in the improvement process.
For the quality aspects to have an impact on procurements, the Swedish Competition Authority proposes that tenders should be evaluated by example and by introducing quality reports. To make the call-off process more flexible, the ranking process and individual needs should be combined to form an allocation key in framework agreements.
The procurement of homes for the care or residence of children and adolescents is a complicated area in which multiple sets of rules and individual needs come into play. It is important that municipal administrators receive the support and resources they need for executing the procurements and monitoring agreement. This will help the service maintain a high quality and meet all the needs that arise throughout the term of agreement. As the market for HVB is largely made up of municipal procurements, municipalities have a big opportunity to influence developments in this area. For improvements to affect the whole market, municipalities need to act together to a greater extent.
“Finding the right type of housing for each individual child and adolescent in need is always a complicated task for a municipality. But with close monitoring and agreements evaluation, the procurement process can be continuously improved,” says the Swedish Competition Authority's Director-General Kristina Geiger in a statement.
For further information, please contact:
Jimmy Dominius, Press Officer, phone +46(0)8-700 15 80 or +46(0)76-542 15 80
Therese Hellman, project manager, phone +46(0)8 586 217 12