Five Rivers had previously been advised that their work was not eligible for R&D tax relief. However, after being referred to TBAT Innovation by an associate, they were surprised to hear that this was not the case.


Five Rivers Child Care Ltd was founded in 1989 to ensure children and young people who are looked after have access to the right supports to ensure recovery from the impacts of adversity. They offer various services, including the running of specialist residential child care homes, assessment and therapy centres, Independent Fostering Agencies, and DfE registered schools. All of these services focus on turning children’s lives around.

Five Rivers operates from 22 locations around the UK and Ireland, guided by a senior leadership team recruited from every key discipline of childcare. They are also proud to be a partner of choice for over 135 local authorities and NHS Trusts, providing a comprehensive and joined-up service across their key focus areas.

Five Rivers offers an integrated, comprehensive, personal service to the people in need of their care (children, staff, and foster carers). Significant strengths of service are borne out by interweaving their services together.

Five Rivers had previously been advised that their work was not eligible for R&D tax relief. However, after being referred to TBAT Innovation by an associate, they were surprised to hear that this was not the case and that they may be owed a large rebate or credit from HMRC due to the eligible work they had been undertaking.


Once the claim was validated by TBAT, their team went about investigating the company’s activities and costs over the previous two accounting periods. As experts in R&D Tax Credits, TBAT understood that R&D in psychology was a non-qualifying area of science as it sat within the social sciences (as per CIRD80530). However, Five Rivers Child Care was undertaking clinical treatment development within its Assessment and Therapy department. This work sat within the Medical and Health Sciences, rather than Social science, and was therefore eligible. Following a deep dive into specific activities, the experienced team at TBAT found that many of them fell under qualifying indirect activities (as per CIRD81900) and were therefore eligible to be added to the claim.

The qualifying activities uncovered at Five Rivers Child Care were associated with their aim to create an evidence-based clinical treatment process for the mental illnesses seen in the children they care for. The outcome of these developments has been astonishing and has resulted in a number of published academic papers.

After qualifying activities were identified, TBAT held meetings with the staff involved to document the R&D work undertaken. From there, they produced a bespoke technical report which detailed this work and qualified the R&D in light of current legislation. Informed by these discussions, TBAT went about finding the eligible costs associated with the R&D activities. The result was a robust and well-evidenced R&D tax credit claim, which was fully evidenced by the technical report that accompanied it.


The financial benefit to Five Rivers Child Care has been important and has been reinvested within the business to further improve and develop the care and therapy the children receive to ensure the best outcomes. TBAT is proud to be helping Five Rivers Child Care achieve its innovation goals by assisting them to access the government support they are entitled to.

What’s next?

Where trials have been undertaken, the enhanced treatments arising from the Assessment and Therapy R&D have led to significant improvements within specific age groups and locations. Five Rivers Child Care are looking to the future and will use R&D to continually improve their mental health treatments. Priorities include the expansion of age ranges using their newly developed techniques and granting exposure to more children within their care. TBAT is looking forward to helping Five Rivers Child Care continue its innovative work and expand the benefits of their R&D to children all over the UK.


“After TBAT examined our business and qualified our R&D Tax claim, we were impressed by how quickly they calculated our R&D claim and the minimal work required from our teams.” Ben Wallage, Finance Director, Five Rivers Child Care Limited.

“The discussions we had about the R&D activities with the TBAT consultants were enjoyable. They quickly understood my R&D work and helped me view it from a different, technically-minded perspective”. Richard Cross, Head of Assessment & Therapy, Five Rivers Child Care Limited.

Further Information

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