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Opportunities for Smart Commissioning

Authors: University of Gloucestershire Research Team

This research was funded by Gloucestershire County Council Health Inequalities Fund. Its purpose is to provide some insight into the current nature of service provision for alcohol-related harm in Cheltenham, and to explore opportunities for a ‘Smart Commissioning’ approach. It does this through a range of statistical information on health and alcohol use, a survey of 26 local organisations, and face-to-face interviews across nine different support providers. 

Although there were some areas identified as specific concerns in terms of service delivery there was no firm evidence of gaps or overlaps in provision. What is clear, however, is that there is not enough clarity around the breadth and distribution of provision in Cheltenham, which is to some extent driving a perception of gaps and overlaps. 

There are, however, opportunities to develop alcohol-related provision in Cheltenham and developing the work of Duffy (2006), this research provides the following definition for such an approach:

Smart Commissioning is a holistic, person-centred and flexible approach to organising services. Smart Commissioning means working alongside individuals to support them to take positive steps to move towards their aspirations, utilising the whole system to maintain and create networks, and develop a meaningful use of time typical to success in everyday life.

In terms of practical elements, a Smart Commissioning approach should adopt a number of elements. It should Holistic; it should involve ‘Strength–Based’ working; it should be a positive process; it should be flexible; it should emphasise and enable effective communication; it should involve working alongside individuals and be person-centred; it should aim for empowerment towards ‘life without services’; and it should be regarded as an overall approach or philosophy of support, rather than a strict set of criteria. These eight characteristics are important guides for designing a Smart Commissioning approach in Cheltenham. In several services, these criteria already influence service provision. For instance, the Inspiring Families model offers adopts a number of these principles and a plan for Smart Commissioning in Cheltenham could build on this approach

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The publisher is the University of Gloucestershire.

Opportunities for Smart Commissioning © University of Gloucestershire 2017.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

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