Issue - meetings

Fostering business case

Meeting: 15/03/2023 - Cabinet (Item 146)

146 Foster Carer Professional Fees, Maintenance Allowances and Incentives pdf icon PDF 959 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People is attached.


At Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 24th November, the following recommendation was put forward and agreed:


Recommendation to Cabinet that when they receive a report on Foster Carer financial support, they give consideration to whether any support should be back dated.


Councillor Lucy Smith, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the report which provided information about the professional fees and maintenance allowances paid to Bury approved Foster Carers and how this compared to other Greater Manchester authorities, proposed a range of incentives to strengthen our current offer to Foster Carers, and considered the amendment of Council Tax Section 13A Discount Policy, in relation to applying discretionary council tax relief to approved Foster Carers and Supported Lodgings Hosts for Bury commencing in the year 2024/25. An additional allowance would be provided until that time to cover Council Tax costs. 


It also provided information around an evidence-based Fostering model called ‘The Mockingbird model’ originally developed by the Fostering Network, and outlined Bury’s involvement in the development of a ‘Regional Foster Carer Recruitment Campaign and Hub’ via a Greater Manchester Combined Authority alongside seven other Greater Manchester authorities, which will complement Foster Carer recruitment strategies and assist in an increase in approvals of fostering families.


With regards to the Scrutiny recommendation, the Chair advised that financial incentives couldn’t be backdated as there was no available budget but advised that some additional financial support had already been provided through the second round of housing support funding where provision had been made for foster carers.




1.    Agreed to an uplift in Foster Carer professional fees and maintenance allowances to bring us into line with higher paying Greater Manchester local authorities;

2.    Approved the implementation of professional fees being linked to payments for skills to professional fees for Foster Carers on a four-level basis providing career progression to Carers;

3.    Agreed to the implementation of the Mockingbird Model within Bury Fostering Services;

4.    Agreed to applying a 50% Council tax discount from foster carers payable Council tax bills to Bury. This payment for 2023/24 will be given to the carers by way of an allowance increase;

5.    Noted that as part of the budget setting process for 2024/25 Council will be asked to approve an amendment to the discretionary support scheme to formalise a change to the Council tax billing arrangements; and

6.    Agreed to the outlined incentives to strengthen our current offer to Foster Carers, attract more Foster Carers to Bury and retain our current cohort of approved Carers.


Reasons for the decision:

As a good corporate parent to looked after children we need to ensure that wherever possible and safe to do so children looked after can continue to live in Bury as their hometown and stay connected to their family and friend network and their wider community. When children cannot remain in the care of their own families, we need to ensure that we have sufficient foster homes and supported lodging hosts in the Borough to meet their needs. We have a priority to increase the number of newly approved Bury Fostering households by at least 20 in 2023/2024.


Other options considered and rejected:

The alternative option is to not uplift professional fees, maintenance allowances and incentives to Bury approved  ...  view the full minutes text for item 146