Skip to main content

Care Purchasing and Brokerage

IPC and the Commissioning Alliance have developed a short course aimed at social care staff who work in care placement, brokerage or purchasing roles

Insights from the pilot

IPC and the Commissioning Alliance have developed a new short course aimed at social care staff who work in care placement, brokerage or purchasing roles. The aim is to develop participants' knowledge and skills, providing an opportunity to reflect on practice, explore new ways of working and gain a professional qualification.

The course was piloted in 2021 with a group of children’s services placement officers from local authorities across London who are members of the Commissioning Alliance. Feedback was very positive, for example:

  • Mazeda Bellevue works for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham in the Children’s Care and Support Directorate and was new into post when she did the course, describing it as “an eye opener”. Six months on, she says key benefits including insight into the sector, better understanding of procurement processes and vital skills such as negotiation, she was able to put into practice straight away. She enjoyed the interactive style and opportunity to explore and unpick things with colleagues from other areas. In addition to how it helped her with the day job, she says the course has “given me the confidence to be a volunteer on the panel for an independent fostering agency
  • Joanne Marshall works in a commissioning role for the City of London Corporation and says she would recommend the course to others, describing it as “a comprehensive overview of making placements linked to the commissioning cycle and legislative framework.” She says the course enabled her to connect with colleagues in other areas and work through common challenges together. She particularly liked the practical hints and tips on how to negotiate with providers to get good value for money. Since the course, she has:
    • worked on improving links with social care so placements are made collaboratively
    • improved quality assurance processes with providers, for example to make sure that incident reporting is done in a timely way.
  • Louise Pingerna works as a Senior SEN Brokerage Officer for the Commissioning Alliance and feels that key benefits of the course are that “you learn from others” and its “good to get a qualification” as this stands you in good stead if you want to progress into more senior job roles. She appreciated the chance to make connections and network with others and to reflect and analyse her role and think about what she could do differently. This has already resulted in her making changes to referral forms to improve the quality of information. She is planning to apply for two places on the next course for members of her team.

Course content includes:

  • Context and legislation, regulation, and quality frameworks in social care
  • Demand and supply in social care
  • Commissioning – what is it and your role within the commissioning cycle
  • Managing referrals in social care, including how to challenge them
  • Purchasing and procurement
  • Negotiation and accountability
  • Contract management and monitoring, including the importance of collecting data
  • Sharing best practice and top tips / transitions and pathway planning

Course delivery includes:

  • The course is delivered through a mix of presentations and practical sessions that explore models, guidance and principles. The learning style is collaborative with an emphasis on sharing approaches that work and practical experiences
  • The course comprises group learning sessions, delivered over a four-week period, as well as self-study, either face to face or online.
  • Participants can choose to accredit their learning from this short course and gain a formal undergraduate level accredited award – worth 10 CATS credits – to help with Continuing Professional Development. Additional support sessions and one to one tutorials are provided to those wishing to accredit.

Dates and costs:

  • The course costs £500 per person (or £400 for Commissioning Alliance Members) and an extra £300 per person for optional accreditation
  • The next course for children's placement officers will be on: 2, 9, 16 and 23 May 2023. Please click here to book on to the children's services course.
  • We will deliver another course for adult's services officers in September 2023. To express an interest in the adults' services course please email IPC courses