Profits for big children’s care providers ‘higher than expected’, says competition watchdog

Profits for large children’s social care providers are higher than would be expected in a well-functioning market, as the lack of placements leaves councils in an ‘inherently weak’ position.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said today it had found that the largest children’s home providers charged an average weekly price of £3,830, with an average operating profit margin of 23%. For independent fostering agencies, the average weekly price for fostering was about £820 per week, with an average operating profit margin of 19%.

In the interim report from the competition watchdog’s study into the children’s social care market, it said that such levels of profit were the result of councils’ weak bargaining position relative to providers.

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