Agenda item

10.10 Wirral Children's Trust Commissioning Strategy


Howard Cooper introduced the report as an important item; a step change is required in developing the Board’s role as commissioners.  The purpose of the paper is to identify key steps required to be in place to make a transition.


Peter Wong and Rose Curtis presented to the board. A Children’s Trust is, in part, a commissioning partnership, commissioning services for children and young people and their families.  Strategic Commissioning is a key means by which the Children’s Trust partners come together to make a reality of the duty to co-operate and drive cultural change. Components of successful commissioning include:

·  Clear leadership

·  Effective governance

·  Understanding of commissioning

·  Ability to commission workforce development leading to behavioural change amongst frontline staff

·  Clarity about the difference between commissioning and provider functions at all levels

·  Able to demonstrate ‘contestability’ e.g. ‘make or buy’ decisions

·  An agreed vision for the shape of the Children’s Trust system

·  Capacity for change


Howard Cooper suggested that the emphasis should be change for more effective outcomes and added value.


The role of the Children’s Trust Board and Executive were outlined. The Children’s Trust Board undertakes a governance role:

·  Setting strategic direction and priorities for services to children, young people and their families.

·  Joint planning, commissioning and alignment of resources at a strategic level.

·  Responsible and accountable for the performance and commissioning decisions made by all planning and commissioning groups in children's services.


The Children’s Trust Executive undertakes the executive role, taking responsibility for:

  Advising the Board to support decision-making.

  Performance management.

  Implementing agreed strategies and plans.

  Preparing and reviewing the Children and Young People’s Plan.

  Developing improvement priorities and strategies to meet expectations of CYPP


The paper provided three options to the board:

Option 1 Virtual Joint Commissioning

Option 2 Joint Commissioning – targeted areas

Option 3 Joint Commissioning – whole system


In addition three recommendations were presented to the Board to assist in defining the option for Wirral:

·  That the newly established Children’s Trust Executive is not changed and that further development of its executive role is explored.

·  That the Board resolves not to seek pooling of all budgets at this stage, rather that piloting of pooled budgets in no more than three key priority areas is taken forward.

·  That partners provide details and clarity on how appropriate separation of commissioning and providers responsibilities is managed and maintained.


Howard Cooper suggested that the Council could learn from NHS Wirral in the separation of commissioning and provider responsibilities.


Adrian Hughes referred to the continuum of children with complex needs and how important it is to work together early at neo natal stage.


Andy Styring raised the issue of resources being required for new structures and Adrian Hughes suggested there was currently duplication in the system so additional resources were not necessarily a pre-requisite.


Debbie Mayor outlined that the paper did not suggest a new remit but that the proposed mapping work would outline the next steps.


Peter Wong believes that the appropriate functions are within the current system but they are not being co-ordinated and not necessarily working on identified priorities.


Sue Drew suggested that for budget pooling probity was required to ensure standards are appropriate.  Section 75 of the Health Act allows budget pooling for the Council and NHS and provides a legal framework for pooling.


Howard Cooper noted that after the election there will be pressure to reduce back office costs and that NHS Wirral and the Council have been investigating where joint working can produce savings and that a step change in commissioning would assist this.


Peter Brandrick asked how much of the Wirral compact and the better together guidance has influenced the findings and Peter Wong responded that the compact has influenced the paper.


Councillor Phil Davies reported that this area has not been discussed with the Council Cabinet and other organisational boards. As the Children’s Trust Board is answerable to the Local Strategic Partnership if the Board decides it wants to move forward then a report would go to Cabinet and the NHS Wirral Board.


The strength of a decision by the Children’s Trust Board is that all partner organisations including political leads on the board have reached agreement, with a purpose to provide better outcomes for children.


Councillor Phil Davies requested a standing item on the Board regarding commissioning.


Resolved: The Board is in agreement with the suggested step change in commissioning and Option 2 was agreed.


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