The project will test how to improve local services and save money by giving local people (service users; residents) a central say in which services should exist to meet local needs and priorities.
Some evidence already shows that if local people are involved in designing or delivering services, better services are created and money is saved. The project takes this to the next level by testing how local people can have power and responsibility over all aspects of commissioning:
- assessing local needs;
- planning the best way to meet these needs;
- deciding which services will be bought to meet these needs;
- reviewing the success of local services.
- Support local partners across the country to develop community commissioning. Partners include local people; voluntary and community organisations; local authorities; service commissioners and providers; and local businesses.
The project includes support for Local Integrated Services (LIS) which is an approach to community commissioning being developed in nine areas: Barnsley; Blackburn with Darwen; Calderdale; Cheshire West & Chester; Kingston-Upon-Thames; Leeds; Sheffield; Tameside; Warrington.
- Provide information that will help local partners to develop community commissioning e.g.: how to support local people to have a central say in which services are commissioned; how to identify all local resources that could be used to improve local services.
- Measure and evaluate community commissioning development so that learning can be shared and impact assessed.
How the programme will support Community Organisers
Community commissioning will support Community Organisers to enable local people to have a central role in the development of local services. If local people identify improving local services as a priority for them, community commissioning is a means of enabling them to do this.
Areas around the country that are developing community commissioning will demonstrate how local people can have a central say over which local services are provided. Community Organisers will be able to support local people in linking with local partners (e.g. local government; service commissioners; service providers) to develop their own approach to community commissioning.
How the programme will help communities to become more active and independent
Community commissioning sets the standard that local people in communities can have a central say over which local services are provided.
A fundamental element of community commissioning is supporting local people to take on a commissioning role. The project will ask what role and responsibility local people want in the needs assessment, design, buying and reviewing of local services. And will show how local people can develop the ability and skills to take on this role. This will enable representative, trusted community input to consistently be used in local commissioning decisions.
The project will also clarify how the roles and responsibilities of other local partners can change to enable local people to have a central say. For example, how existing commissioners such as local authorities, can share their commissioning power and responsibility with local people.
Resources from the OCS project showing how to establish community commissioning and the different models are being developed. Initial learning will be available before Christmas 2011 with further information and evidence to follow in 2012 and beyond. An online learning resource will be established; in the meantime the latest information can be obtained by contacting the Commissioning Team in the Office for Civil Society at: MutualsandCommissioningTeamCorrespondence@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk
There are several other resources available that could support the development of community commissioning e.g.
- DCLG Neighbourhood Level Community Budgets: http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/newsroom/1933560
- Big Local Trust: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_biglocaltrust
- Social Enterprise Investment Fund: http://www.thesocialinvestmentbusiness.org/seif/
- Community Action Against Crime Innovation Fund: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime/partnerships/innovation-fund/