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Commissioning for Families with Complex Needs

This guide for commissioning for families with complex needs has been developed on behalf of the Children’s Improvement Board (CIB) in response to feedback from commissioners of children’s services, who identified this as an area of challenge. It is intended to help commissioners from a range of agencies to take a good practice approach to re-shaping delivery in this important area of public service.

The Commissioning Support Programme (CSP) published the following definition of commissioning as part of the national support programme:

“Commissioning is the process for deciding how to use the total resource available for children, young people and parents and carers in order to improve outcomes in the most efficient, effective, equitable and sustainable way.”

The definition is helpful in that it directs organisations tasked with using public money to consider the total resource and so to work collaboratively and creatively to make best of use of it. Commissioning using the total resource is vital given agencies’ overlapping investment and interest in improving outcomes for families who have complex needs.