As part of its Sustainable Community Strategy, the London Borough of Camden has worked with the New Economics Foundation (with support from HM Treasury and funding from Invest to Dave Budget) to develop an outcomes-oriented commissioning model.

The model supports commissioning on the basis of wider community outcomes (the social, environmental and economic impacts providers claim they can create) alongside service-level outcomes. For example, tender specifications have included questions about how potential service providers will achieve environmental outcomes such as improved energy efficiency, a reduction in the amount of waste produced, or using locally sourced food. These outcomes are set out at the tendering stage and are tracked over the course of the contract so that decisions can be made on more than price alone, and there is increased understanding of the impact of interventions.

The model has been used to commission a number of services, including mental health day services, substance use services, and family and parenting support. The project has brought about innovative partnerships with service users and voluntary sector providers in ‘co-production’ in service design, bringing service users greater choice and control. It has also achieved strategic coherence between service level outcomes and wider social, economic and environmental sustainability.

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