Carers’ breaks: guidance for commissioners and providers

Social Care Institute for Excellence | June 2019 | Carers’ breaks: guidance for commissioners and providers

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has released Carers’ breaks: guidance for commissioners and providers, which is designed to provide guidance for commissioners, providers and others involved in the planning, shaping and delivery of support for adult carers, primarily in England.
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Among the report’s key messages are:

  • Almost half (46%) of carers have not had a break in the last five years
  • Breaks are essential – they make a real difference enabling carers to continue caring and to maintain their own health and wellbeing. They support positive relationships.  Good breaks, as part of a range of support, help prevent ill-health, stress, isolation, crisis and breakdown.
  • Good commissioning will seek to understand diversity of needs, ensure co-production and facilitate partnerships with stakeholders and providers to develop a positive local breaks offer.
  • Carers need a genuine choice of breaks. Market shaping by commissioners and good business planning by providers – including diversifying services – can help deliver this choice. Flexible funding can help local groups and social enterprises to deliver tailored, innovative solutions and improve equality of access to breaks.

Read the publication online from SCIE 

Local authorities will continue to commission public health services

Review recommends that councils and the NHS work more closely to co-commission public health services, including health visiting and school nursing | Department of Health and Social Care

The review, conducted by the Department of Health and Social Care, recommends that the NHS work much more closely with local authorities on public health so that commissioning is more joined-up and prevention is embedded into a wider range of health services.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the government committed to reviewing commissioning arrangements for some local authority-commissioned public health services.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that the departmental review found that local authorities take an active and efficient approach to commissioning services. He also praised local councils for their work in commissioning public health services and confirmed they will continue to lead on this important work.

He acknowledged that many local authorities have taken steps to improve and modernise the services they commission, including through digital delivery, such as online STI testing.

Full story at Department of Health and Social Care


Audit and commissioning sexual health services

Public Health England | April 2019 | Audit and commissioning sexual health services

Public Health England (PHE) have produced guidance for commissioners on how audits can contribute to assuring both the quality of service provision and the continuous quality improvement in sexual health, reproductive health, and HIV(SH, RH & HIV) services.

Audit and commissioning sexual health services explains the difference between audit, service evaluation, research and quality improvement. The guidance highlights how audit results can be used to complement the monitoring of key performance
indicators in the contract. PHE also provide an overview of the currently available audit
resources as a starting point for both providers and commissioners of SH, RH & HIV
services to look at a more informative way of driving service improvement and
improving quality (Source: PHE).

Audit and commissioning sexual health services

NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2019/20

NHS England | January 2019 | NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2019/20

This is the full guidance, building on the first part published in December 2018. It accompanies five-year indicative CCG allocations and sets out the trust financial regime for 2019/20, alongside the service deliverables including those arising from year one of the Long Term Plan. CCGs and trusts should take action from April 2019 to begin implementing the measures set out in the LTP (Source: NHS England).

NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2019/20

A review of the role and costs of clinical commissioning groups

A review of the role and costs of clinical commissioning groups | National Audit Office

This review sets out:

  • changes to the commissioning landscape before CCGs were established
  • the role, running costs and performance of CCGs
  • the changing commissioning landscape and the future role of CCGs

The report identifies the importance of creating stable and effective organisations during the current restructuring of CCGs and that NHS commissioning needs a prolonged period of organisational stability to allow organisations to focus on transforming and integrating health and care services rather than on reorganising themselves.

Home care in England: views from commissioners and providers

The King’s Fund | December 2018 | Home care in England: views from commissioners and providers

In the period between 2016 and 2018, The King’s Fund carried out three pieces of research exploring:

  1. the factors driving commissioning adult social care; the mechanisms of purchasing and delivery of home care;
  2. alternatives to traditional models of delivering care at home.

This research forms the basis of a new report: Home care in England: views from commissioners and providers, unites the findings of those research projects, which record the stated opinions of commissioners, providers and other stakeholders.



Key points:

  • Recruitment and retention of home care staff remains a fundamental challenge for providers, but the extent of the challenge varies greatly depending on geographical location
  • Most councils commissioning home care attempted to drive down the fees they pay. Commissioners and providers disagreed about whether quality of home care had declined  in recent years and, if it had, the role of fees in that process.
  • Home care continues to be commissioned on a ‘time and task’ basis rather than with a view to health  and care outcomes. Nor is there much evidence that health and care providers are joining up commissioning of home care.
  • Alternative approaches to home care provision  have yet to demonstrate they can be scaled up effectively, while approaches using new technology have not yet had time to be properly evaluated. (Source: The King’s Fund)

Download summary (PDF)

Download report (PDF)

See also:

The King’s Fund [press release]  Relentless staff shortage leaves home care sector struggling

The three pieces of research mentioned are:

 Adult social care: local authority commissioning behaviours

Understanding domiciliary care in England

New models of home care

All three are available from The King’s Fund