One way of describing my role as Strategic Lead on Commissioning is that it is “to improve commissioning between public authorities and the voluntary and community sector (VCS) ”. This raises the question “what is a public authority?”
NCVO and Serco have jointly written a code of practice to cover the relationships between the private sector and the voluntary sector. Its scope is wider than sub-contracting but in practice for many voluntary organisations this has been the only time that they have had contact with Prime Contractors. The experience has often not been a positive one.
The aim of this newly created post is to improve commissioning between the public sector and the voluntary and community sector (VCS), focusing on Manchester and Greater Manchester commissioning. My focus is on the process: the way consultation is carried out; how specifications are written; when and how are decisions about recommissioning made; how information about new commissions are disseminated; commissioning processes that build on the strengths of the VCS; how appropriate forms are for VCS organisations.
A key part of the Community Budgets pilot running across Greater Manchester is a cost benefit analysis (CBA) model created by New Economy - the think-tank for Greater Manchester Local Authorities. It is intended to inform the investment models for public service reform and act as a basis for future social investment i.e. if CBA demonstrates that there will be a saving to the public purse within a given time period then it is worth investing in the service.
Manchester Cultural Partnership, together with Manchester City Council are planning to bid for the Creative Employment Programme which is an Arts Council England initiative. The aim of the programme is to support apprenticeships, paid internships and traineeships across the arts and cultural sector.
The mayor of Salford, Ian Stewart, has advertised through The Chest an invitation for the trustees of third sector organisations to attend an event to discuss commissioning strategy. The dates of the events are 23rd and 25th April at 4.30pm. Attendance is restricted to two from any organisation and is by invitation only. To reserve a place at one of the events contact Kath Roberts on 0161 925 1121 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost benefit analysis (CBA), joint planning and commissioning are central planks of the Community Budgets approach. CBA is being used to assess the overall impact of a set of interventions and the benefits that accrue to individual public authorities.
The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) is planning to offer a programme of support to approximately 10 large voluntary organisations to enable them to compete for probation contracts from the Ministry of Justice (e.g. Transforming Rehabilitation). It will help them to apply for grants of up to £150,000 from the Cabinet Office Investment and Contract Readiness Fund. The main focus will be on building consortia.