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  • Status: Current
  • Date: 2012
  • Sectors:
    • Healthcare & Pharma Services
    • Business Services


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Partnerships in Children’s Services

Partnerships in Children’s Services is a family of fostering agencies with a common determination to give looked-after children a better future. Sovereign has partnered the Group to develop its high quality services further and expand its geographic reach.

Investment Background

The founders of Fosterplus, both social workers, created an agency to operate with the best principles of fostering services. Sixteen years on, Fosterplus had grown into a nationwide provider. Keen to expand the agency, they looked for an outside investor that could take Fosterplus to the next stage of growth while respecting the organisation’s ethos and values.

Paul Snell said: “We were excited about the opportunity for Fosterplus to become a nationwide, premium, end-to-end provider of childcare services with Sovereign’s support. But while we were ambitious for the company, we were not prepared to throw aside everything that we’d created at Fosterplus. An external investor had to have a plan for growing the business that retained our ethos and values – the set-up had to be right for both of us and our staff. Sovereign listened to us and understood where we were coming from. Anyone can crunch numbers – you need people who understand the softer issues."

Sovereign invested in the agency to develop it further.  Paul stepped back from the day-to-day running of Fosterplus whilst staying on as a non-executive director.  

Value Creation

  • Creation of a national agency with approaching 150 local authority partners
  • Three further acquisitions to diversify the service offering
  • Development of the service to handle crisis cases 24/7, which is pioneering in the sector

The Story So Far

Fosterplus became part of the newly created Partnerships in Children’s Services (PiCS) Group; the objective of PiCS is the care and support of young people with quality as the cornerstone. Today PiCS comprises four fostering agencies which together provide care to over 1,100 children and young people. Each agency in the Group has retained its own unique identity and is focused on delivering the best possible outcomes to those in its care.

  • Fosterplus is based in Bedfordshire with a further 10 regional offices in England and Scotland.  The agency provides outstanding support to its carers, including 24 hour support from a social worker.
  • ISP operates seven centres in England, all of which are rated 'Good' or ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED, and offers a unique integrated model of therapeutic foster care and specialist education.
  • Orange Grove is based in Malvern and has 14 offices across England. The agency is recognised for its focus on quality reflected in its OFSTED ratings.
  • Clifford House is based in Herefordshire and delivers a holistic and integrated team approach inclusive of social work, education, health and support professionals.

Sovereign continues to support the management team to develop the services offered whilst ensuring the quality of care provided remains at the heart of the Group’s offering.

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The Vendor's Perspective

PiCs is delighted to have been backed by Sovereign. Now, as the third largest provider in the UK, we continue to take pride in providing the highest quality of care to secure the best outcomes for the children we look after. The investment from Sovereign enables us to continue to grow and innovate without compromise.

Jo August / CEO / PiCS