Eastern promise?

By Mike Bennett and Max Wide | 13 April 2015

For years now local authorities have talked of themselves as ‘commissioners’ of services. Indeed Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS, is forecasting that in the near future councils will be one of the most important commissioners of health services too.

And yet, when a group of us gathered at a recent Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) event, there was a feeling among some that commissioning was rather too much ‘Eastern promise’ and not enough real delivery. The worry among some chief executives was that commissioning was too often a new term for straightforward procurement, used to put a fresh spin on old ways of working.

New research published by Local Partnerships suggests that a commissioning approach is genuinely challenging the established forms of delivery, but that local authorities have not yet developed a holistic and mature approach to market engagement.

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