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Outcome based commissioning and contracting

| April 2008

This publication, one of a series of `Key Issues` documents published by Research in Practice for Adults, was prepared by IPC and offers a concise and accessible guide to outcome-based commissioning and contracting. Built around a survey of relevant policy, existing evidence and emerging best practice, it looks at the areas of care in which the outcome-based approach is most likely to be successful, notes potential obstacles, and examines the key considerations for commissioners in effecting a successful transition from traditional processes.

The document begins by establishing the national policy momentum towards measuring care not by time or activity inputs, but by the attainment of specified goals for individual service users. It provides a workable, illustrated definition of what qualifies as an ‘outcome’, and suggests where commissioners may derive suitable outcomes from, and the three broad categories under which they fall. A survey of the relatively short history of outcome-based contracting is provided, as is a checklist for establishing those areas that lend themselves to the approach, and the factors militating against it.

The core of the document is given over to practical advice for commissioners wishing to develop the approach, setting out the key issues they face. These include the need to work across traditional service delivery boundaries to meet individual needs, the relative unpredictability of costs when focusing on outcome rather than input – and the associated difficulties in setting fair pricing – and the establishment of valid, reliable and repeatable indicators for measuring successful attainment of specified outcomes.

For further information please contact Philip Provenzano at IPC


Tel: 01865 790312