Commissioning for Innovation

Commissioning for Innovation means focusing on the real assets of community in order to shape innovative and appropriate solutions to meet real community needs. It means moving away from passive, service-based, solutions.

Commissioning for Innovation gives us an opportunity to rethink the delivery of all local services and to find ways of doing things that really works with the grain of local communities to meet locally defined needs.

The six key elements of this approach are:

  1. Locally Agreed Outcomes - The identification of an overarching local vision, which identifies desired outcomes and the needs that must be met to achieve those outcomes
  2. Co-production - The strategy must recognise that the positive outcomes cannot be achieved without the leadership and involvement of citizens and communities. Professionals and public services can only co-produce improved outcomes.
  3. Community Assets - Strategies to achieve these outcomes must be based on the identification and support of all community assets, this includes public services, but goes much further to include citizens, families and the full range of community resources.
  4. Smart Investments - Local commissioning and investment decisions must be based upon real evidence of effectiveness and the use of all forms of investment, this includes prevention and enablement, the use of individual budgets, and support for community infrastructure.
  5. Real Partnership - Local partners making investment decisions together in the light of the different obligations and constraints placed upon them by central government.
  6. Innovation & Evaluation - The whole process of commissioning must be underpinned by competence in encouraging innovation and examining what practices are genuinely working.

This framework helps us to see that, if our primary responsibility is to help people have good lives, then we need to learn how to establish the conditions for success. We need then to understand how to adapt our society to ensure that we genuinely support success. 

It is important to see that this a whole-system model; a change in one part of the model will require changes at other points. In particular it is important to note that:

  • Increasing money in public services reduces the money that can be directly invested in real wealth
  • Shifting resources towards more productive and empowering strategies will mean moving resources away from less effective strategies
  • Existing structures and silos may be poorly focused on real problems or socially valued outcomes

The publisher is The Centre for Welfare Reform.

Total Place Commissioning © Simon Duffy 2012.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

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