Abstracts: August 23rd, 2006

The Task Force report gives guidance for those involved in the commissioning, procurement, contracting and regulation of health and social care services across the statutory and third sectors.The report makes it clear that commissioners must be able to identify a diversity of providers based on quality, user need and value for money. Care is needed to ensure that smaller, vulnerable, community based organisations are not exposed to undue risk. Better commissioning of third sector organisations results in better commissioning overall and this should help to widen commissioning from a more diverse range of providers and so better meet the needs of the local community.

The report urges greater involvement of both users and the third sector in the early planning stages of the commissioning process to help identify users’ real needs which result in services that provide greater responsiveness of services to communities. Commissioners are asked to consider how the third sector needs to adapt its behaviour to prosper in the new markets and the part they should play in commissioning.

There should be strong third sector involvement in the development of Primary Care Trusts and practice based commissioning. The Department of Health will use the recommendations from a service user perspective and the guide on how to commission from third sector organisations to inform its ongoing PCT development programme.

The commissioning framework planned for December 2006 will address commissioner development and will include a strong focus on joint learning and partnership with stakeholders.

The report is available at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/13/70/53/04137053.pdf