The key to commissioning is collboration between social sector agencies and providers - those best placed to determine need, and design and provide services. At the simplest level, this involves co-designing services with providers. At a more comprehensive level, it involves enduring partnership between agencies and providers,by supporting providers to take responsibility for making decisions on what communities and families need.
Better tools, infrastructure and consistency will improve data collection, evaluation and feedback, leading to better investment decisions, greater access to useful insights and, ultimately, better service outcomes for people.
Our Commissioning approach reflects the conclusions of the Productivity Commission’s More Effective Social Services (external link) report.
We're working with a range of organisations to prototype reusable and scalable commissioning tools, templates and guidance for social investment.
Many of the organisations we’re working with are driving exciting innovations in how services are delivered; our approach is to support these innovations, trialling and testing new ways for government, NGOs and other stakeholders to work together on the most pressing social issues.
Designed around the five steps of commissioning, described below, these include:
Effective commissioning requires five inter-related steps to be completed (they can’t be undertaken in isolation and each must be done):
Step 1: Assessing needs:
Step 2: Solution design:
Step 3: Investment/service models:
Step 4: Implementation:
Step 5: Evaluation and monitoring:
Procurement is only one part (of step 3) of the commissioning process.
Procurement begins with an assumption the government will purchase a market-supplied service. This may be one option within a commissioning approach but, equally, the decision may be made not to purchase a service from the market.
Other models that could be considered include in-house provision or client directed budgets.
Traditional procurement models may have effectively delivered services to the majority of New Zealanders in need. However, this process isn't the only option, and collaborative approaches that draw resources and ideas together from a wider range of sources are increasingly important.
The Productivity Commission’s report (external link) notes commissioning starts by asking what the best way is to achieve a specific outcome for a person or group.