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How we will remove private profit from the care of children looked after.

The Programme for Government 2022-2027 contains a number of commitments that taken together describe a new vision to transform children’s services. The delivery of these commitments will effect change across the whole care system in Wales. 

A key component of this new vision for children’s services is the Programme for Government commitment to remove private profit from the care of children looked after.

Chaired by the Chief Social Care Officer for Wales, Albert Heaney, a multi-agency Programme Board has been established to implement this commitment to reshape the market so that the duties on local authorities in relation to children looked after are not contracted out to for-profit companies but remain with public sector and not-for-profit providers.

Representatives from private sector children’s care homes and fostering organisations alongside representation from public and Third sector providers, have been brought together to work with the government, local authorities, Care Inspectorate Wales, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, and Voices from Care.

The Board’s goal is to develop ways in which to build public and not-for-profit provision of care for children looked after and to help support the government’s commitment to improving outcomes for children; with their best interests, rights and entitlements at the core of decisions that are made. To this end, the Board will be seeking out and drawing on the views expressed by the children and young people they serve in developing and refining the proposals for change.

The Board recognises this is a challenging commitment to deliver. There are a range of areas requiring full examination such as in relation to defining not for profit, legislative change, competition and business considerations, developing current models of service delivery such as Foster Wales and building future not-for-profit models. All of this needs to be worked through while ensuring stability of the market and avoiding disruption to existing placements for children.

The Board agrees that children and young people need services, care and support that enable them to grow and develop, flourish, and thrive. Usually, this will mean they need to be close to their families and communities. This will be a key feature of the programme, finding ways in which children and young people can more often be accommodated and cared for closer to home so they can continue to be part of their community and maintain their support networks, in living arrangements which are locally based, locally designed and locally accountable.

The Board is currently meeting on a quarterly basis. There are 4 work streams working to inform the board’s considerations. 


Workstream 1 focuses on developing new Local Authority residential and foster care provision.

Workstream 2 considers how the not-for-profit sector can develop and expand.

Workstream 3 which looks at transitioning the existing private sector. 

Workstream 4 which identifies and recommends on actions to minimise the impact of the proposed changes on individual children and young people. 


A public consultation on proposed legislation to support our commitment to remove profit was held between 17th August 2022 and 7th November 2022. This was part of a wider consultation exercise which also looked at:

  • introducing direct payments for Continuing Health Care
  • extending mandatory reporting of children and adults at risk
  • amendments to regulation of service providers, responsible individuals, and the social care workforce

The consultation contained a number of proposals in relation to removing profit:

  • A definition of ‘not-for-profit’ for the care of children that are looked after
  • Provision that permits only not-for-profit providers to register as a care home service for children in Wales or a fostering service in Wales under the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016. 
  • A requirement that new providers registering with CIW will have to have not-for-profit status from 1 April 2026. 
  • A requirement that any current ‘for profit’ providers will need to transition to, and register with CIW, as not for profit status by 1 April 2027.
  • A power to issue guidance to support the implementation of the legislative changes such as referencing or describing appropriate organisational models.

In addition, there were two further areas which respondents were asked to comment on:

  • The potential to place a restriction on local authorities to commission care placements for children and young people from not-for-profit organisations only (alongside the proposal to restrict registration with CIW to not-for-profit organisations only), and on the appropriate timescales if it were to be pursued. 
  • How to ensure the policy is not undermined by practices which go against its spirit and intention, thus defeating the purpose of the legislative changes to remove profit from the care of children looked after in Wales (such as the charging of excessive fees by parent companies of not-for-profit services, which could amount to the taking out of profit by other means).

A total of 153 responses were received in relation to our legislative proposals for removing profit and the summary of responses is available.   

The First Minister confirmed in his statement on the legislative programme in July 2023 that provisions to support the commitment to remove profit from the care of children looked after would be included in a Social Care Bill to be introduced in the third year of the Senedd’s legislative programme.