COLLABORATION IS BETTER THAN COMPETITION

Our Better Way proposition:

Price-based competitive tendering for public services is harming society and wasting taxpayers' money. Rather than a destructive, value-squeezing contest among a few big corporations in pursuit of shareholder profit, we need a collaborative method that brings together people with a shared interest in a common challenge.

Insights about our proposition...

The Case for Change.  Our public services are under ever increasing pressure. Demand is rising at the same time as budgets are decreasing.  The NHS faces a funding gap of £22 billion and social care faces one of up to £2.7 billion by 2020. At the same time, people feel they have little influence over the public services that they receive. 

Locality and others have argued that the method by which our public services are commissioned and procured is at fault. That large scale, price based competitive tendering is failing to meet people’s needs. What is more, there is no clear cut link between competitive tendering and customer satisfactionRead more…   

Weak markets. Some have argued that public services are in crisis because they are inherently weak markets. Traditional competitive tendering can make it difficult for small scale, specialist providers to compete. This can be problematic for smaller, voluntary sector providers who can offer benefits in terms of flexibility, innovation, partnership working and local accountability. Read more…

Alternatives to ‘traditional’ commissioning and contracting models. A range of alternatives have been put forward by various parties to address the challenges associated with public service delivery in the 21st Century. These emphasise collaboration, people and/or place centred approaches, shared outcomes, a shift toward small scale and local services and co-production with service users. They include Place-based Commissioning and Alliance Contracting. Read more …

Barriers to change. There are many reasons why a shift toward more collaborative commissioning models is difficult these include misaligned targets and incentives, evidence gaps and rigid regulation.  Read more….

Shared outcomes. Revolving Doors Agency, Collaborate and others identify that shared outcomes are likely to be important in enabling and incentivising more holistic and collaborative commissioning. Read more…

Practice Examples. Examples of moves toward more collaborative commissioning and contracting in practice include Children England’s Declaration of Interdependence; Sheffield Cubed and All Together Better Sunderland. Read more… 

We want to generate more insights and examples about our propositions.  Do plesase get in touch with any thoughts or additions.

Shaking things up a bit: some Discussion points for a better way

We should be wary about assuming that third sector provision is necessarily favourable to private sector provision. Or that public sector provision should be the goal.  As Boviard, 2016 notes: ‘sectors don’t always live up to their stereotypes E.g. the private sector is not always greedy and the public sector not always ‘worthy’.’

What do we mean by collaborative? Is an Alliance contract with a range of third sector providers sufficient or should this be wider involving service users and the local community including businesses?

Is smaller necessarily better? Are smaller/ local providers always better at understanding local people’s needs?

Do you have views on these questions - or are there other questions we should be asking?