How We Work

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Cambridgeshire_and_Peterborough Children’s_Commissioning
How We Work

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We know that commissioning plays a central role in transforming the way public services are designed, delivered and integrated. We aim to improve quality of life of vulnerable children, young people and families by working in partnership, collaborating with partners and providers to put people, children and families first. We recognise as a team that the outcomes we seek are created not by single organisations but in complex systems.

The commissioning cycle provides a frame of reference for commission work and we have found it to be a helpful representation. More often than not, we operate in multiple phases of commissioning cycle at the same time and, where there is need, may return to an earlier phase of the cycle for specific pieces of work

Commissioning Cycle

There are four key areas to the commissioning cycle which must be carried out in order to ensure that the commissioned contracts best meet the objectives of the target audience. This starts with analysis, looking at what the legislation and guidance says on the subject, looking at the needs of the local population and establishing what resources are available. This then moves into the planning phase where we look at what other services are already available and establish the gaps which the new service should address. We then conduct a service design, taking into account our Commissioning Strategy and any other local strategies on the topic.
The third phase is around ensuring that there are providers who are able to meet the demand of our new service. This may involve capacity building and involves ensuring that good relationships are established with all providers who may be interested in bidding for the contract.
The fourth phase is reviewing the strategy and market performance as well as the outcomes which are delivered throughout the contract.

Our Commissioning Cycle

Although the Commissioning team is involved at each stage of the Commissioning Cycle we involve different people as shown on the Activity Diagram below:


Co-Production in our commissioning is about involving people who use services, Carers, Families and Communities throughout the commissioning process and the lifetime of the resulting service. These groups will help to:

  • Explain about their local needs, their aspirations and any resources already existing within their area.
  • Make important decisions about what they need to ensure people have better lives and how to make this things happen.
  • Be involved in decisions about what services are put in place
  • Be involved in determine how well providers are doing and what they could do better.

Co-Production diagrams taken from Think Local Act Personal.
Service User Engagement

Cambridgeshire County Council follow an engagement and consultation strategy to ensure that the views of the local population are taken into account when designing or recommissioning any service.

Recent examples of service user engagement conducted by the Children’s Commissioning Team include:
Developing overnight support for children with disabilities
SEND Strategy – Final Nov 19
SEND Strategy appendices – Nov19
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough SEND Pledge – March 2020
Our SEND Pledge

Procurement Services

Procurement is an important part of commissioning children’s services.  Commissioners work closely with the procurement services in both Cambridgeshire County Council and in Peterborough City Council when purchasing goods and services.