Commissioning Advice Services
The financial crisis and subsequent recession has led to a surge in demand for advice services. However, public funding is now under severe pressure and we need to ensure that we are making the best use of resources. The Centre is therefore keen to provide practical assistance to local partnerships that are revewing their provision and we are developing a programme of work in this area.
Initial support has been provided to Oadby and Wigston Borough Council and Voluntary Action LeicesterShire. This included providing a review of advice needs and help to develop a new outcome based specification for local services.
Our work involved a review of the wider context in which local provision was being commissioned, taking into account the availability of national services, for example in respect of telephone debt advice, and also considering the latest developments in regional Legal Services Commission contracting. We also reviewed statistical information relating to local advice needs, including demographic information, levels of worklessness and local debt indicators and developed a set of priorities for consultation with local stakeholders.
Stakeholder interviews were conducted and an event facilitated to take feedback on the initial findings and to further develop local priorities. These were also used to gain insight into the supply of other forms of local provision which the proposed service would need to link to.
Alongside the review of advice needs, we researched existing best practice in the commissioning of advice services provision in order to develop the proposed new service specification and to focus this on outcomes related to the local authority's corporate priorities and the objectives of the local Community Strategy.
The draft specification was also consulted upon with local stakeholders prior to being finalised and used in the subsequent Council commissioning exercise.
The project completed in March 2010. If you are interested in commissioning similar work and would like further details please contact Damon Gibbons.