Government calls for evidence on modernising public sector commissioning

It rather feels as if we’ve been here before…

The Office for Civil Society has just published its green paper on modernising public sector commissioning. Called Modernising Commissioning: Increasing the role of charities, social enterprises, mutuals and co-operatives in public service delivery, organisations wishing to respond to this call for evidence/consultation have until just the 5th January 2011 to do so.

You can download the green paper here.

  1. Simon Lee Reply

    I’m afraid that I can’t take credit for the text below (it appeared in a summary provided by PLC – the Practical Law Company) but I think this gives as good a précis as I can manage of the Green Paper, and why we might want to respond to it.

    “On 7 December 2010, the government published a Green Paper, Modernising Commissioning: increasing the roles of charities, social enterprises, mutuals and co-operatives in public service delivery. The Green Paper is part of the government’s Big Society initiative and seeks views on how to open up the public service market to give charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises increased opportunities to bid for public sector contracts.

    The Green Paper asks four key questions:

    In which public service areas can government create new opportunities for civil society organisations to deliver? For example, linking payment to outcomes and results or setting proportions of specific services that should be delivered by independent organisations and introducing new rights for communities to run services.

    How can existing public service markets be made more accessible to civil society organisations? For example, by streamlining procurement processes or moving towards a decentralised approach for contracts.

    How can commissioners use assessments of social, environmental and economic value to inform their commissioning decisions? For example, by supporting the Social Enterprise and Social Value Bill which would require the recognition of full value in commissioning practice.

    How can civil society organisations support greater citizen and community involvement in commissioning? For example, by strengthening working relationships between civil society organisations and state partners.

    The consultation closes on 5 January 2011 and responses should be e-mailed to:”

    • Simon Lee Reply

      Sorry, I meant to add that we are collating responses from clients on this and will send a response on this basis.

      Therefore, please let me know if you have any comments and I will make sure they are included.



  2. Vicki Fitzgerald Reply

    Unless the Fair Deal Policy on Pensions is reviewed, the opportunities for other providers to compete for community health services (previously provided directly by the NHS) will be completely lost – This piece of legislation contradicts all government rhetoric about independent provision and pluarality of public service provision.
    The pensions issue is largely an NHS one as they have enhanced rights under TUPE – but the pensions issue is not the only problem – TUPE liabilities can be risky, particularly when transferring staff with such enhanced sickness and holiday entitlements – and with way above average sickness and absence levels.
    This is a clear barrier to civil society organisations being involved.
    The key issues faced when dealing with TUPE are pensions, holiday and sickness entitlement and previous claims made before the TUPE took place – this places too great a burden on community based organisations and the contract values do not allow to mitigate that risk.
    The Principles and Rules of Commissioning as laid out by the Co-operrations and Competition Panel state that sectors must not be discriminated against and that an equal playing field must be provided to allow providers to compete fairly. While the legislation around TUPE and in particular pensions remains the CCP principles are irrelevant.

  3. Alun Severn Reply

    Vicki — You’re right, of course, and I was going to say “But you must respond and tell them!” Well now you can talk nicely to Simon and see if he can incorporate your point in the response ACS is collating.

    Simon — great stuff — I was hoping someone would do this, given that it’s quite technical in some areas.

    But we really do need some of these messages to come from frontline social enterprises with *first hand* experience of the issues — the govt is more likely to listen, I suspect…

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