Company behind world-famous Priory clinic to run council's children homes

Birmingham City Council logo on a sign in Edgbaston Credit: Joe Giddens / PA Archive/PA Images

The company behind the world-famous London rehab clinic The Priory has been given the contract to run Birmingham City Council’s five children’s homes for the next decade.

As well as the famous Roehampton clinic, where celebrities like Pete Doherty and Robbie Williams have been treated, the Priory Group runs a range of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres throughout the UK.

The contract will see Priory provide up to 30 places for looked-after children across the five homes, as well as run services for other children in council care.

The Priory already has an innovative tie-in with Birmingham Children’s Hospital to improve mental health services for the under-25s in the city.

Priory is unique in offering the largest network of mental health and specialist education services for young people in need of expert care and support across the UK.

Tom Riall, Priory Group chief executive

Last year there was an outcry from unions representing 107 staff working in the homes who feared that standards would fall following the decision to outsource the contract.

But the council already accommodates the vast majority of its looked-after children in independently-run homes, both within Birmingham and further afield.

Two council-run homes, Fairfield Children’s Home, in Erdington, and Bournbrook Children’s Home in Selly Oak, were closed in 2013 after failing Ofsted inspections so council bosses took the decision to contract out the remaining five homes.

Coun Brigid Jones Credit: BPM Media

Young people at children’s homes in the city were involved in the process of deciding who would run their homes and they did a fantastic job, asking difficult questions of potential providers.

Coun Brigid Jones, Council cabinet member for children’s services

The children currently living in the homes were consulted over the changes.