COVID-19 resources on commissioning

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NHS Reset: a new direction for health and care

NHS Confederation

This report summarises the insights from an engagement exercise with health and care stakeholders, including a survey of more than 250 leaders from across the NHS, as part of NHS Reset, an NHS Confederation campaign to help reset the way the system plans, commissions and delivers health and care in the aftermath of the Covid-19. The report focuses on the key challenges that the health and care system faces, including: health inequalities; the health and care workforce; funding and capacity; integration and system working; letting local leaders lead; and social care. In relation to the latter, the report argues that ensuring the effective functioning of the NHS will require a reform of social care, including stable and adequate funding, a social care long term plan that runs parallel to and supports the NHS Long Term Plan, a well-resourced and trained workforce, and outcomes-based commissioning. The report posits that five factors will be fundamental to achieving a sustainable health and care system. These are: honesty and realism – government investment to support new ways of working that will enable it to fully and safely restore services, as well as the understanding of the public while services adjust and deal with a large backlog of patients needing care; extra funding; a lighter, leaner culture – empowering local leaders and clinicians to adopt more agile ways of working; integrating health and care; and tackling health inequalities – through a radical and conscious shift towards a strategy based on population health.

Last updated on hub: 01 October 2020

Social care provider resilience during COVID-19: guidance to commissioners

Local Government Association

Shared guidance from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) for local authority commissioners. The guidance summarises the pressures on social care providers arising from the coronavirus (COVID-19), and puts forward ways in which commissioners can alleviate these pressures. It aims to ensure that providers are supported to maximise availability of care and support and to remain operationally and financially resilient. Areas covered include: continuity planning, sick pay, workforce availability, rapid adjustment of support, supporting self-funders and use of non-contracted providers. The guidance does not deal with issues of infection control.

Last updated on hub: 17 March 2020

Social care: time to grasp the nettle

NHS Confederation

This report, part of the NHS Reset campaign, explores the opportunities and challenges ahead for health and social care. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role that social care plays in the delivery of health and care services. But it has also exacerbated the underlying weaknesses in social care and demonstrated the need for fundamental reform. The report argues that four critical factors are needed to reset social care: a stable, well-funded social care service – without social care reform leading to a sustainable system the NHS will not be able to deliver high-quality care in the wake of the pandemic; a long-term plan for social care to address the imbalance that was already present in the social care service, as well as a fundamental review of the model of social care provided in England; a well-resourced and trained workforce – a national, integrated health and care workforce strategy would go some way to tackle the crippling workforce issues facing social care; and outcome-based commissioning – the NHS needs a joined-up approach to commissioning, with people at the forefront of local decisions.

Last updated on hub: 07 September 2020

Supply management: opportunities for a new landscape in children’s commissioning post crisis

Institute of Public Care

This paper considers how the commissioning of children's social care and the historic interfaces with independent providers can be transformed and redesigned to survive the aftermath of the COVID-19 challenges. Evidence from before the Coronavirus crisis indicated a need to re-examine how children’s services markets are commissioned – the dichotomy of severely financially challenged local authority children’s services budgets contrasting sharply with the apparently high profitability and returns of larger providers is a strategic dissonance. The additional impact of the pandemic will further stress councils' budgets. The paper argues that there is an opportunity to re-think the way in which the sector works together to meet the needs of children in care and to redesign the commercial interfaces to produce a more balanced and sustainable state – the twin forecasts of further increases in demand allied to funding constraints should be seen as the catalyst for these changes. The paper outlines what redesigning commissioning may entails and the actions needed with respect to supply and demand analysis and forecasting; strategy and policy; commissioner-provider relations; and commissioning partnerships. There is experience and evidence available as to how the challenge of redesigning commissioning children’s services can be addressed – and the paper includes three examples of innovative projects.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

Supporting mental health in communities during the coronavirus crisis: bringing together voluntary, community and statutory services

Centre for Mental Health

This briefing looks at how statutory service commissioners and providers are working with the voluntary and community sector to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. It also provides practical advice on how to build effective partnerships locally. This includes recognising the value of different contributions and their role in preventing later crises; supporting smaller organisations that work with high risk groups or those who find mainstream services less helpful; maintaining safeguarding to protect people at risk of abuse; and valuing organisations that provide key functions such as supported housing, advocacy and support. It concludes with recommendations for NHS and local authority commissioners when working with the voluntary and community sector to help them to maximise their contribution without jeopardising their longer-term sustainability.

Last updated on hub: 22 April 2020

Surviving the pandemic: new challenges for adult social care and the social care market. Discussion paper

Institute of Public Care

This discussion paper looks at how councils have avoided the predicted collapse over the period of austerity and highlights new problems that have emerged during the coronavirus (Covid -19) pandemic. Drawing on the authors previous papers, it explores these new problems facing providers of care homes and home care, and asks how the care provider sector can survive after the pandemic. It identifies the risk to the care provider market and the need for councils to find ways of managing increased demand.

Last updated on hub: 06 May 2020

The future of commissioning for social care

Social Care Institute for Excellence

SCIE's latest commissioning guide that focuses on the immediate future of commissioning in light of COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 26 August 2020

The supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic

National Audit Office

This report focuses on the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic. It examines: responsibilities for PPE supply in England (Part One); the emergency response to PPE shortages, focusing on the performance of national bodies in obtaining and distributing PPE to local organisations (Part Two); the experience of health and social care providers and their workforce (Part Three); and the Department of Health & Social Care’s (the Department’s) new PPE strategy (Part Four). The Government initially considered it was well-placed for managing the supply of PPE in a pandemic, with tested plans and a stockpile in place. But neither the stockpiles nor the usual PPE-buying and distribution arrangements could cope with the extraordinary demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, government’s structures were overwhelmed in March 2020. Once government recognised the gravity of the situation it created a parallel supply chain to buy and distribute PPE. However, it took a long time for it to receive the large volumes of PPE ordered, particularly from the new suppliers, which created significant risks. There were further difficulties with distribution to providers and many front-line workers reported experiencing shortages of PPE as a result. The initial focus on the NHS meant adult social care providers felt particularly unsupported. Government has budgeted an unprecedented £15 billion of taxpayers’ money to buy PPE for England during 2020-21. It has paid very high prices given the very unusual market conditions, and hundreds of millions of pounds-worth of PPE will not be used for the original intended purpose.

Last updated on hub: 26 November 2020

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 responses on citizens

Social Care Institute for Excellence

A guide that discusses the impact of COVID-19 and responses on people who use or interact with social care services.

Last updated on hub: 29 June 2020

Voices from lockdown: a chance for change: interim findings report


This report focuses on the first three months of lockdown in the UK, looking at the needs and experiences of marginalised women and girls and the implications for the voluntary and community organisations that support them. It provides insights collected from an online survey of 72 organisations working with women and girls at risk, in-depth interviews with professionals from those organisations and interviews with the women and girls who use those support programmes whilst facing multiple disadvantages. The research highlights the challenges faced by this specialist sector, as well as important learnings and innovations being developed. It suggests that two concerning trends are emerging: firstly, that more women and girls are in need of support; and secondly, that their needs are increasingly more complex and urgent. While the demand for services is growing, nearly half, 46 per cent, of organisations reported that their financial position during the lockdown had worsened. Of those organisations that saw their financial position worsen, 30 per cent were small providers, supporting less than 25 women a month, with an income of less than £50,000. The report makes recommendations to ensure four core ambitions for recovery can be achieved and the specialist sector is adequately funded and supported: ensuring equality, insight and transparency to achieve effective commissioning and funding decisions; building respect, dignity and participation, removing the barriers to support services for women and girls; empowering local responses and driving collaboration through funding and commissioning; valuing expertise and growing innovation, harnessing the full potential of the women’s voluntary and community sector.

Last updated on hub: 17 August 2020

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