National Strategic Commissioning
Six of the 21 Doran recommendations concern funding for, and the commissioning of services, including national services. A Strategic Commissioning Project, supported by a Project Board and five workstreams, was established to address these specific recommendations.
For there to be an appropriate strategic approach it is important that all those involved in the process: children, parents, providers, purchasers and representative organisations, should agree on what we are trying to achieve in the long term for children and young people with complex additional support needs. A National Strategic Commissioning Group (NSCG) with membership drawn from all the groups above was established and subsequently developed the initial Strategy which was the subject of the national consultation.
The national profile of complex additional support needs requires the maintenance and on-going development of a range of provision, underpinned by appropriate research and professional learning.
The provision includes education within local authority managed provision (mainstream and special); direct access to peripatetic specialist services managed or contracted by local authorities and other providers; and placement at independent day and residential special schools.
The decision as to the most appropriate interventions and placement lies with the home education authority acting within the national legislative and policy context.
In taking the decision to place a child or young person in the independent sector or to require input from independent specialist services to assist with assessment and on-going support, the residential authority is recognising that there are some complex additional support needs which require highly customised responses in terms of assessment, direct intervention and physical learning and care environments.
The National Commissioning Process will provide funding, on a cyclical basis, to address the scope of services as outlined below. It is anticipated that there will continue to be a range of education provision, (schools and services) under independent and local authority management, which will be focused on meeting the range of complex additional support needs as defined on Page 9 of this paper. It is essential therefore that funding provided at a national level is seen to focus on building the capacity of providers across the spectrum: specifically in areas where there are shared benefit which can then be adopted and developed at direct provider level to meet the personalised needs of learners with complex additional support needs.
In recognition of this the current grant aid of approximately £11m/annum that is currently allocated to seven Grant-Aided Special Schools (GASS) and three National Centres is being reviewed to ensure that it is targeted on supporting the key areas identified by the Doran Project Board – described in more detail on page 12.
The NSCG are developing an Operational Commissioning Strategy, which will provide a timeline and action plan for commissioning. The Operational Commissioning Strategy will compliment this document and will be published in late 2019. We have however, provided in Annex A an illustration of how possible strategic commissioning cycles could operate from 2019-2026. The illustration shows how potential cycles of strategic commissioning would run. We note that cycle 3 would begin within the scope of this ten year strategy but would not be completed until 2028.