Skip to main content

Action research into the more effective strategic commissioning of children’s residential care homes

Final report to the Local Government Association

OPM was commissioned by the Local Government Association to conduct research into the more effective strategic commissioning of children’s residential care homes.

The research focused on three aspects of commissioning: needs analysis; matching needs and supply; and quality assurance and monitoring. We reviewed published literature, undertook extensive interviewing, conducted an online survey of children and young people in care and care leavers and facilitated action learning groups with the ten participating local authorities. The participating local authorities worked together in three action learning groups. They selected five topics to focus on:

  • Residential assessment services
  • Market intelligence and market shaping
  • The use of step-up/step-down services
  • Understanding and evidencing outcomes
  • Collaborative commissioning.

There was positive feedback from the action learning groups and some participants hope to continue to collaborate around topics of mutual interest. Regions or other council networks or groupings might also want to find ways to continue to share learning and innovations.

Our interim report, published in parallel with this final report, includes the significant body of evidence collected during this research, and case studies of the authorities involved.

This short final report summarises the findings from the research. It describes the current issues and developments in strategic commissioning of residential children’s homes. We are very grateful to the councils and providers who participated. We found aspects of effective strategic commissioning of children’s homes in all the localities involved. We highlight some practice examples from these localities that we feel may be of interest to the sector.