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Commissioning framework to secure better outcomes across social care

Report, framework | August 2010

This framework is intended to help local authorities in Wales improve their social care commissioning and procurement practice in order to enhance the quality and effectiveness of delivery to users across the range of adult and children's services.

Part one of the guidance sets out the standards in commissioning that local authorities are expected to achieve, before part two examines the key challenges to meeting those standards, accompanied by detailed commentary from expert advisers and commissioners in the field, and action points for achieving good practice. The guidance concludes with a model format for a commissioning plan.

Throughout the guidance, emphasis is placed on: intelligent commissioning that understands the mixed economy of care, and fosters diversity of provision across the private and third sectors; an approach based on measuring outcomes rather than outputs; productive collaborative working, both with providers and with health boards and other local authorities; and citizen-centred service provision that is responsive to the changing needs of individuals over time.

Other key themes dealt with include:

  • Successful translation of local service plans into provision for specific user groups
  • Demonstration of an evidence-based approach
  • Fair price setting with providers, and ensuring value for money
  • Monitoring and evaluation to demonstrate continuous improvement of services
  • Training of commissioners to ensure specialist knowledge and provision of training to the workforce; and
  • Ensuring commissioning plans also accommodate the requirements of direct payments and self-directed care.

The guidance additionally provides working definitions of commissioning and procurement specific to this framework, and illustrates core activities diagrammatically.