Decision details

Contract Award For Infant Feeding And Perinatal Mental Health (Emotional Wellbeing) Peer Support Service - SEPT23/CMDN/33

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Skills, Education and Children's Services'

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The Cabinet Member 


1.     Authorised Peterborough City Council (PCC) to be delegated the authority by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) and for PCC to act as the lead authority in commissioning the Infant Feeding and Perinatal Mental Health Peer Support Service across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, which shall include the associated transfer of funding to PCC from 1 October 2023.  


2.     Authorised a Delegation and Partnering Agreement between PCC and CCC to enable the function to be transferred from CCC to PCC in respect of this service. 


3.     Authorised PCC to award the contract to the National Childbirth Trust for the period of 1 October 2023 to 31 March 2025 (contract value £301,500.00 (PCC £176,378 and CCC £125,122)) with the option to extend for a further period of 12 months (estimated £194,000 between PCC and CCC). 


Reasons for the decision:



·       Existing provision ceases on 30th September 2023, therefore not recommissioning the service will leave a gap in pathways, resulting in a detrimental impact on current and future services users.


·       The proposal to combine both contracts into a single service will result in improved service provision and benefit from economies of scale and be financially better value for money for the Local Authorities.


·       PCC has a requirement under the DfE Family Hubs funding to deliver the services covered in this recommissioning exercise and will be expected to report on performance against this as set out in the delivery plan.


·       The soft market test exercise revealed a number of organisations expressing interest in providing these services, therefore a competitive tender is required.

Alternative options considered:

Decommission current services – This option was rejected as there is a requirement within the Family Hubs guidance to provide peer support services and also it would leave a significant gap in service provision, which would impact local families, existing and future service users, and cause added pressure to other more specialist services.


Continue to jointly commission both services as two separate contracts – this was rejected following feedback from families on the linkages and overlaps between a negative infant feeding journey and poor emotional health and wellbeing. A review of both specifications has also highlighted a number of correlations between the services, therefore we are well positioned to consolidate both contracts into a new, single service, which will also provide economies of scale and better value for money.


Commission these services separately across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – this option was rejected in light of the data overwhelmingly indicates greatest need in Peterborough and Fenland. Having a single service and provider working across both areas again yields value for money through economies of scales. Cambridgeshire, although not in receipt of Family Hubs funding, have also committed to rolling out the Family Hubs model, therefore it is logical to continue commissioning this as a single service. Procurement timescales would also be significantly compromised if two separate procurement exercises needed to be undertaken within the next 6 months.


Commission these services without a 12-month extension period built into the contract – This would be unfavourable as the contract is currently 18 months and would mean a new procurement exercise would need to commence from Summer 2024. It does also not allow for any flexibility to understand the future financial position of the authorities, including Family Hubs Transformation Funding – if this ceases, officers would need to conduct succession and sustainability planning to taper down provision that we have been able to enhance for this period through the additional funding.

Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Background Documents:


Publication date: 18/09/2023

Date of decision: 18/09/2023

Effective from: 22/09/2023

Accompanying Documents: