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A relationship-based commissioning culture is evident throughout our case studies.

There’s a common pattern whenever a public authority or a social enterprise proposes a partnership-based approach. Once commissioners are in support of such an approach, and are in discussion with progressive, purpose-aligned partners, momentum grinds to a sudden halt when someone shouts “stop – there’s a procurement issue.”

But as these case studies demonstrate, procurement rules have long offered the opportunity to embrace innovation, build partnerships and prioritise social purpose and social value.

It is not necessary to prioritise procedure and process above purpose. By embracing the enabling, permissive and flexible nature of public contracts regulations, these exciting, innovative and impactful partnerships have brought the “Art of the Possible” to life.

Leicestershire’s Children’s Innovation Partnership offers another example of public services developed and delivered in consultation with local providers and with service users.

The Council used a creative approach to procurement and contracting to develop a Children’s Innovation Partnership, the first of its kind in the UK. The partnership has already generated millions of pounds of new income for projects that improve outcomes for children. FULL CASE STUDY.

Oldham Council’s Social Prescribing Innovation Partnership was co-designed and co-produced with residents, by direct reference to personal needs. Co-production meant services were reorganised so needs are at the heart of provision.

Shifting the balance of power to residents and community partners to develop simplified commissioning and direct services to needs was critical to the Partnership’s success. FULL CASE STUDY.

The Plymouth Alliance addressed a perception that commissioning had been seen as a top-down, opaque and disempowering process, rather than an inclusive partnership between commissioners, services and people using services, as well as their families and communities.

The new Alliance partnership approach and ten-year contract has opened the way for the prospect of a whole system of service, designed around the needs of people, rather than a fragmented market built around the needs of commissioners and services. FULL CASE STUDY.

What next?

5 Fundamental Correctives for Public Service Reform

Read about the Five Correctives here or click the buttons below for descriptions of the outcomes of, process behind, underlying principles, and evidence for each corrective.

9 Key Principles for working with purpose-aligned partners

Component principles for effective partnership working. Click here.

Tools, Resources and Model Documents

Example documentation, contracts, processes and agreements you can access – or use as a checklist as you progress your partnerships. These practical models and outlines include a set of social value imperatives.

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