Commissioning mental health services

What does commissioning mean?

Commissioning is the process of ensuring that care services are provided effectively and that they meet the needs of the population. It is a complex process with responsibilities ranging from assessing local population needs, prioritising outcomes, procuring products and services to achieve those outcomes and supporting service providers to enable them to deliver outcomes for individual service users.

Procurement is the acquisition of goods, services or works from an outside external source. “Procurement” can be seen as describing the activities and processes undertaken to acquire goods and services. It may involve  establishing fundamental requirements, and sourcing activities such as market research and vendor evaluation and negotiation of contracts. It can also include the purchasing activities required to order and receive goods. 

“Purchasing” refers to the process of ordering and receiving goods and services.

How does ‘Joint Commissioning’ work locally ?

The Birmingham Joint Commissioning Team works within a joint commissioning arrangement (using a pooled  budget) through a  Section 75 agreement with Birmingham City Council and the 3 Clinical Commissioning Groups that work across Birmingham (Birmingham Cross City CCG, Birmingham South Central CCG and Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG).

Through these arrangements we currently commission mental health services for adults in the age range 18 – 64 and older adults – age 65 +

Why commission jointly?

The benefits of joint commissioning are that it helps agencies together to:

  • Target services to give the greatest impact on outcomes
  • Avoid duplication of services
  • Ensure value for money & efficiency
  • Develop co-ordinated services
  • Share best practice
  • Share expertise
  • Share intelligence about needs

Integrated commissioning brings innovation, value for money and improved services that cut waste and duplication.

What is a pooled budget/section 75 Agreement?

This refers to Section 75 of the National Health Service Act 2006, which consolidated NHS legislation around partnership arrangements and allowed for pooled funds.  In Birmingham it enables the budget for mental health and learning disabilities provision across the city,  to be pooled by the Clinical Commissioning Groups and the City Council and is intended to help partners design and deliver services around the needs of citizens rather than worrying about the boundaries of their organisations.

How do we work out what people need?

In Birmingham we undertake Joint Strategic Needs Assessments so that we can identify what people need across the city. These bring together partners from across the NHS, local government and the voluntary sector to analyse current and future health needs of populations. They inform and guide commissioning of health, well-being and social care services within local authority areas, in order to improve the physical and mental health and well-being of individuals and communities. 

Who are our stakeholders?

A key stakeholder group for us is service users and carers and we are working to ensure they are included in all the work we do. Other strategic stakeholders include Birmingham City Council and the NHS (through the three Clinical Commissioning Groups: Birmingham CrossCity, Birmingham South Central and Sandwell and West Birmingham CCGs) as well as mental health service providers and other health and social care service providers.

What do we mean by Payment by Results (PBR)

Following the implementation of a tariff based payment system known as Payment by Results (PbR) for general and acute hospital care, Mental Health Services nationally are working towards a similar tariff based system which will allow clearer pricing for care.

What do we mean by Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP)

This is a large scale transformational programme for the NHS, involving all NHS staff, clinicians, patients and the voluntary sector. It aims to improve the quality and delivery of NHS care while reducing costs to make £20bn efficiency savings by 2014/15. These savings will be reinvested to support front line services.

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