The inter-agency fee is a nationally agreed mechanism for covering the costs incurred in the preparation, approval and matching of prospective adopters, and the support provided during the first 12 months of a placement.
The level of the inter-agency fee is decided by the relevant organisations for local authorities (LAs) in each country of the UK in discussion with the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) UK. Any updates to the rates being charged will be made available on the CoramBAAF and CVAA websites.
From 1 April 2021 the following inter-agency fee levels come into effect for all placements that take place on or after 1 April 2020 (as defined by the date that the child(ren) move in with the prospective adopters).
In England, the level of the inter-agency fee is agreed by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) in discussion with the CVAA.
From 1 April 2021 all members of CVAA will be charging £32,320 for the placement of a child from English LAs and regional adoption agencies (RAAs); and by all English voluntary adoption agencies (VAAs) for cross-border placements within the UK for the placement of a single child, with additional rates for the placement of sibling groups. Payment of the fee is charged in full at the point of placement.
Placements made with a voluntary adoption agency (VAA) will be charged at £32,320 for the placement of a single child, with additional rates for the placement of sibling groups. Payment of the fee is charged in full at the point of placement. The CVAA have published details of Inter-agency fees for placements with VAAs on their website.
For placements made between regional adoption agencies (RAAs) and LAs, the inter-agency rate of £27,000, which was agreed in 2011, continues to apply. The fee level for agencies in London will have an additional weighting of 10%, giving a figure of £29,700.
In Scotland fees are agreed with the Scottish government, local authorities and CVAA. There has been an equalised fee since 1 April 2019 so all inter-agency placements with VAAs and between Scottish LAs from April 1st 2021 will be charged at £32,320 for 1 child. There are different fees agreed for sibling placements from those agreed in England and Wales. Payment of the fee will be made charged as one payment at the point of placement. Full details of all Inter-agency fees for placements in Scotland are published on the CVAA website.
In Wales fees are agreed between ADSS Cymru and the National Adoption Service for Wales and CVAA. There has been agreement with the National Adoption Agency for Wales to an equalised fee since April 2020 so the inter-agency fee from 1 April 2021 for placement of a single child with VAAs and between LAs will be £32,320 with additional rates for the placement of sibling groups. Full details of all Inter-agency fees for placements in Wales are published on the CVAA website.
In Northern Ireland, agreements are reached between the five Health and Social Care Trusts for interagency placements between the Trusts.
Placements made with a voluntary adoption agency (VAA) will be charged at £32,320 for the placement of a single child, with additional rates for the placement of sibling groups. Payment of the fee is charged in full at the point of placement. The CVAA have published Inter-agency fees for placements with VAAs on their website.
Any changes agreed will be reflected here or on the CVAA website.
What does the fee cover?
The fee covers the following aspects of inter-agency work:
- Recruiting, preparing, assessing and approving families.
- Meetings with the child’s agency, preparing and supporting the family during the matching process, placement planning and introductions and making the placement.
- Supporting the family for the first 12 months following placement.
Further payment is required if an adoption order is not made within 12 months of placement.
Financial support and support in relation to contact arrangements would primarily be the responsibility of the placing authority.
Additional support services linked to the needs identified in the Adoption Support Plan can be purchased from the approving agency and should be detailed in the agreement.
Full payment of the fee when making a placement with a VAA or for placements in Scotland and Wales is made at the point of placement.
In England payment between local authorities and regional adoption agencies for Part 1 and Part 2 of the fee is charged on placement. Part 3 is charged when the Adoption Order is made or 12 months after the placement started, whichever is first.
Ongoing supervision is charged where an Adoption Order has not been granted after 12 months and ongoing placement supervision is being provided by the approving agency (calculated to be charged on a monthly basis). Part 3 of the fee for both new and existing placements can be charged either as a lump sum at the end of a year or on a monthly basis.
CoramBAAF Inter-Agency Form
CoramBAAF has issued a new 2021 edition of the Inter-Agency (IA) Form. This provides a template for inter-agency agreements for placements made between LAs and RAAs and between LAs, RAAs and VAAs. It also includes guidance for placements made between LAs/RAAs but please note there are some different expectations that apply to placements made with VAAs so it is important to also read the guidance issued by CVAA for these placements.