Plan: Tasks for independent advocacy commissioning
Published: October 2014
Updated: March 2015
Develop a clear, written strategy and agree outcomes for the provision of advocacy to meet Care Act duties that signal your future commissioning intentions for the local area.
Integrate the collection and analysis of demand information, good practice, financial resources, benchmarked costs, co-production and involvement plans as well as a wider analysis of advocacy in the local area to develop a clear commissioning strategy and/or plan.
Agree, through a process of engagement with existing and potential providers, as well as local people who use services, a clear strategy setting out legal duties and intentions for the future of independent advocacy provision under the Act. Consider situating the service as part of the wider provision of advocacy in your area.
Be clear about the risks of not complying with the Care Act or underestimating the possible increase in demand for advocacy services. Review contracting options and consider the use of outcomes-based service specifications which enable more flexible purchasing arrangements with providers. You may want to consider:
- arrangements in which an expected minimum level of support to individuals and core services (including awareness-raising), and a commensurate level of funding, are specified together with additional funding as demand increases
- arrangements for flexibility between different elements of advocacy provision, where these are combined, to allow for peaks and troughs
- arrangements whereby awareness-raising and service delivery are balanced: in the early stages time can be spent on the former to enable your local authority to meet its duties
- joint commissioning arrangements with NHS colleagues, and with children’s services.
Facilitate dialogue with key stakeholders and potential providers in order to build consensus on the implications of the commissioning plans for your area.
Develop mechanisms for ongoing dialogue with local partners (including the NHS and related local authority services) and existing and potential providers. These mechanisms might include forums, individual discussions, ‘meet the buyer’ events and feedback through email or online chatrooms.
It is important to involve potential providers at an early stage of the process. They will provide insight and constructive challenges to your plans.
Develop business cases for the commissioning of advocacy in line with the Care Act duties.
Using your needs analysis, model a range of options which will offer a good mix of advocacy services for your area (including maintaining the status quo). Review existing contracts to see how well they align with these models. Seek to understand the financial implications of each model.
Work with decision-makers to ensure they understand the significance of the changes in the Care Act. Be clear about possible business risks and costs of non-compliance. Develop evidenced cases to present to senior staff and politicians.
Ensure that advocacy forms a key part of the business case and financial planning for overall Care Act implementation.
Develop a person-centred approach to commissioning advocacy services, which enables local people to contribute to the design of services and maximises control over services once they are established.
Ensure your plans and strategies prioritise the ability of people to choose appropriate and proportionate support at each stage of their care pathway. Establish a clear link with your strategy for implementing Care Act duties to provide information and advice under the Care Act.
Ensure that any potential implications of new services have been analysed in line with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.
Develop strategies for communicating commissioning issues with a range of stakeholders.
Ensure new advocacy entitlements are clearly linked with corporate and departmental communication plans for Care Act implementation. Be clear and consistent about messages to citizens, providers and staff about the process and timescales for commissioning the new service.