by Linda Hutchinson |
LH Alliances was asked by the three boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster (the Tri-Boroughs) to help create a way to get more integration in services for those who have been victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence. A key part of this was to have a common outcomes set that was owned by them and local stakeholders.
The three councils (Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster) set the ambition to jointly commission a new service offer with a mix of providers but with consistency across the Tri-Borough area and a single, more flexible framework. Commissioning would be based on an outcomes approach and a forward thinking route to procurement, working closely together with the providers involved. An alliance approach is being considered as the preferred way of contracting.
Each of the three borough councils previously commissioned a range of services from different organisations to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. Between the boroughs there was no overall co-ordination of referrals and access to providers and services. Also, there was no single referral route to make best use of areas of expertise within the Tri-Borough area.
Development of the shared outcomes set is fundamental to realise their ambition to move towards collaborative outcome based commissioning for the Tri-Borough area.
At an event in early 2014 local community partners were invited to a Strategic Planning workshop for services for those affected by Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) services. During the event, definitions of success were described. These were written as ‘I’ or ‘We’ statements (see National Voices). This allowed participants to step outside of their own perspective and focus on that of those affected. The outcomes statements were grouped into the following themes:
The VAWG Strategic Partnership was tasked with delivery of the 7 strategic areas. A commissioning process is nearing completion with the successful organisations expected to start in July 2015. The new services will improve access and coordination from referral through to expertise care and support across the area.
LH Alliances listened to key people to understand the context and advised on ways to develop collaboration among providers. We encouraged the Tri-Borough team to ensure they had a strong mandate for the vision and outcomes. We believe harnessing a wide range of views brings strength to any strategy or outcome work.
In workshops to define success and outcomes, we start from the perspective of a person using services and the community. This allows people who commission or provide services to move out of the more narrow view from their own organisation or profession. Using ‘I’ or ‘We’ statements really forces the idea of what success would look and feel like for the person or the community.
In the Tri-Borough project this worked very well and the workshop generated energy and strong synergy around what really mattered. People recognised that there was much to do over the coming three years and everyone made a start, together, in detailing the actions needed.
An extensive needs assessment had taken place in 2013/14. One of its recommendations was to “agree outcomes in relation to VAWG as part of the strategic planning process, to commission services accordingly.”
As a next step the councils invited the community of partners involved to help define success and develop a co-produced set of outcomes that represent value to those using services, communities and providers. The Strategic Planning Workshop, facilitated by LH Alliances, took place in April 2014.
A key take away from the workshop was a shared understanding of ‘what really matters’ which helped unify all those working in collaboration. Community partners went away with actionable steps to make positive contributions to better outcomes ‘today’, having shared ideas about new ways of delivering services.
The co-produced set of descriptions of success for the services for everyone involved (victims, perpetrators and community) went forward to inform the procurement design. A procurement task force was set-up to design a route to procurement and selection process.
Over a period of a few weeks we worked alongside the core team: