The interagency 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 interagency 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.
In England, for placements between LAs and RAAs, the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) has confirmed that the interagency rate of £27,000 which was agreed in 2011 continues to apply (see the table of charges). The fee level of agencies in London will have a weighting of 10%, giving a figure of £29,700.
From 1 April 2019 all members of CVAA will be charging £31,620 for the placement of a child from English local authorities 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. Interagency fees for placements with VAAs can be found on the CVAA website.
In Wales fees are agreed between ADSS Cymru and the National Adoption Service for Wales and CVAA. As of October 2018, local authority placements will be charged at £27,000 (see the table of charges). The interagency fee is set at £31,620 for placements with VAAs.
In Scotland fees are agreed through service level agreements between local authorities, consortia members and VAAs. The Scottish Government has agreed that from 1 April 2019 the same fee of £31,620 will be charged for all placements with VAAs and between Scottish local authorities. The payments will currently be made in two payments, the first at the point of placement and the second following the adoption order being made, but by April 2020 it is expected the fee will be made as one payment at point of placement.
In Northern Ireland, agreements are reached between the five Health and Social Care Trusts. VAAs charge the CVAA recommended fee of £31,620.
What does the fee cover?
The fee covers the following aspects of interagency 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.
For payments between local authorities and regional adoption agencies 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 has issued a new edition of the Inter Agency Form. This provides a template for interagency 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.