A prototype framework of standards to support commissioners of adult social care assess the quality of their commissioning is currently being piloted by the Local Government Association (LGA). The framework - 'Commissioning for Better Outcomes: A Route Map' -sets out 12 standards for good commissioning of care and support, and will support the implementation of the Care Act 2014. A copy has been sent to all Local Authorities in England, inviting them to use the standards to self-assess the quality of their own commissioning processes and procedures. In an accompanying letter, Norman Lamb, the Minister of State for Care and Support, and David Pearson, the current President of the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADASS), write:

"The prototype began a formal testing process in the New Year, with peer challenges using the framework in three local authority pilot sites. This learning from these will inform further development of the document and protocols for its use in sector-led improvement. The framework has been designed to enable self-assessment. If you do this, we welcome any significant feedback. Please send any comments by email with the subject header, 'Commissioning for Better Outcomes Prototype Feedback' to the project steering group at Linda.Doherty@scie.org.uk. We are confident that you will find the framework a really useful resource and encourage you to make extensive use of it and share widely within your organisation."

 'Commissioning for Better Outcomes: A Route Map' was developed by a team from Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) and Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV) at the University of Birmingham (Dr Karen Newbigging, Catherine Mangan, Professor Jon Glasby, Robin Millerand Carol Ward) and co-designed with a project steering group coordinated by Think Local, Act Personal. Commissioned by the LGA, and funded by the Department of Health, the aim of the framework is to support sector-led improvements in the quality of commissioning adult social care. The standards were developed from a literature review of the evidence for effective commissioning and a series of ADASS development events and workshops, which engaged a wide range of stakeholders in identifying solutions to the challenges of commissioning good adult social care.

Through this process, 12 principles for good commissioning were identified and these underpin the standards. They have been grouped into four domains to define good commissioning as:

  • Person-centred and outcome-focused: good commissioning is person-centred and focuses on what people say matters most to them. It empowers people to have choice and control in their lives and over their care and support. The relevant standards cover the quality of experience of people who have used social care services, as well as their families, carers and local communities, and consider the outcomes of social care at both an individual and population level.
  • Inclusive: the focus of these standards is the quality of the commissioning process in terms of coproduction, positive engagement with all providers, and equality.
  • Well-led: these standards look at how well-led commissioning is by the council, including how commissioning of social care is supported by the wider organisation.
  • Promoting a vibrant, diverse and sustainable market, including workforce development and ensuring value for money.

Download the full standards document