Around the country many people are currently grappling to come to terms with the concept of commissioning, how to understand this and in some cases how to operationalise a commissioning approach. As I’ve written about before, one of the challenges with the commissioning literature is that it mostly comes from a different national setting – in this case England. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t important lessons to be learned from this evidence but we need to be careful when trying to learn across jurisdictions.
There is a challenge in learning from England if you are not familiar with the systems, processes and cultures of public services then it can be difficult to ‘land’ some of the concepts. If you aren’t familiar with the language and the various different actors then it can make it difficult to extract useful ideas to help drive commissioning in a rather different context.
There is a further problem for learning from other national settings too. Where we look at evidence from a system we are familiar with it is pretty easy to spot where things are truly helpful examples and solid lessons and where things don’t quite add up. There has been a lot written about commissioning over the past decade or so and there is a significant industry in the UK and this is growing in other countries. This industry purports to variously support, develop, diagnose and facilitate high performing commissioning. Yet, there isn’t a very strong or consistent evidence base relating to this topic and it is difficult to say with certainty which approaches do definitively support effective commissioning. If you aren’t familiar with the system and the different issues at play then if can be a challenge to decide which sources to trust.
I have been collecting various resources and case studies that I think are helpful in informing those seeking to better understand or develop a commissioning approach. Over the next few weeks I will post these into the commissioning resources section of this blog. Wherever possible I have drawn on free and publicly available sources so that these are easy to source without having to be subscribed to academic journals.
If there is anything I have missed or you would like to see added to these pages then drop me a line.