Social care - self-directed support: framework of standards - May 2024

This framework consists of a set of standards for local authorities to provide them with an overarching structure, aligned to legislation and statutory guidance, for further implementation of the self-directed support approach to social care. This update includes standard descriptor and practice statement and core components and practice guidance.

Standard 7: Flexible and outcome focused commissioning

Standard descriptor: People have meaningful involvement in the development of support and services. People work together with commissioners, practitioners and communities to plan, design, and quality assure flexible local supports.

Practice statement: Social care support and services are planned, commissioned and procured in a way that involves people and offers them choice and flexibility in how they meet their outcomes, and in a way that builds community support. Commissioning of support and services starts with what matters to people and what they need to help them live life the way they choose.

Core Components and practice guidance

7.1 There is understanding of, and active commitment to, outcome-focused, collaborative, community-based and ethical commissioning across all Self-directed Support options.

How to:

  • Ethical commissioning is built on trusting relationships and dialogue between local authorities and partnerships, people, carers, providers and communities.
  • Investment is based on a thorough understanding of the social care market, local geographical factors and unmet need.
  • All should be involved in discussions about what services are needed locally, including in-house services, and time is allowed for disinvesting to reinvest in more support and services that better meet local need. This includes considering and developing new models of care and support to meet people’s outcomes.

7.2 Local strategic approaches to commissioning will take account of local needs including the requirement for specialist support.

How to:

  • Authorities should enable individual commissioning where people opt to manage a personal budget to commission their own supports under options 1 and 2 without overly complex processes. Commissioning for option 3 should mirror this approach.
  • Commissioning processes involve the third and independent sectors, micro-enterprises and communities in discussions on commissioning and on developing personalised social care support services which are effective in meeting outcomes.
  • Commissioning approaches are further developed for option 2. This might be based on a market position statement evidencing gaps, agreed in collaboration with providers.
  • All attempts should be made to overcome procurement challenges to enable the person’s choice to be exercised.

7.3 The experience of people who use and commission services is central to the design, delivery and quality assurance of services across all Self-directed Support options.

How to:

  • During the commissioning process, it is particularly important to give attention to the range of views which need to be heard and included.
  • Thought should be given about how to engage with people in their own communities.

7.4 Practitioners are supported to engage with communities, to build relationships and to gain understanding of community assets and networks.

How to:

  • Within commissioning processes, it is important to involve social work practitioners, and to build on their knowledge of the assets and needs within communities.
  • This could be through the adoption of a Community Social Work approach.
  • This could include different local approaches such as locality coordinator models, community brokerage and community link workers.

7.5 Community Planning Partnerships, in conjunction with Health and Social Care Partnerships and Children’s Services Planning Partnerships, actively engage with communities to support the identification and development of local community support.

How to:

  • The potential for sectors (including housing, culture and community planning) to collaborate and practice community-based commissioning is taken forward in partnership with community involvement.
  • Communities and community groups are supported to understand their contribution to people’s wider support network.
  • Training should be developed and offered to workers from across finance, legal, contracts, and procurement teams, to support the outcome of getting it right for communities.

7.6 Fair work remuneration is in place across the social care sector.

How to:

  • Authorities should take account of up-to-date national policy for fair work practices.
  • Authorities should consider local payment structures across different parts of the workforce, different groups of people requiring support, and across the four Self-directed Support options, taking account of locality.

7.7 Accurate local intelligence including unmet need is gathered through regular engagement, and assessment and review processes.

How to:

  • Reviews, including reviews of unmet need, are recognised as an important mechanism to drive improvement.
  • Reviews are opportunities to reflect on what is working to meet personal outcomes, as well as to ensure financial best value.



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