Inconsistencies prompt London borough to examine voluntary sector commissioning

1 October 2010

1 October 2010 | Angeline Albert  

London’s Camden Council is to review how it commissions from the voluntary sector in order to address perceived inconsistencies.

The borough highlights the issue in a consultation document seeking views from the voluntary and community sector (VCS). The council said the procurement department could improve its relationships with this sector.

Those wishing to take part in the consultation should use the link above.

It has identified “different commissioning strategies across the council” with “no overall framework that could establish common policies and principles”. The document said: “Each directorate commissions from the VCS and in different ways, which leads to an overall inconsistent approach.”

The commissioning process also suffers from duplication in tasks, different use of terminology and varied monitoring methods and requirements in dealing with the VCS.

The consultation document proposes that when commissioning the voluntary sector, the council should understand and measure the social value of a proposed service. It also suggests the authority adopts an outcomes-based commissioning policy that encourages bidders to demonstrate the social benefits they offer to meet a specific local need.

The document said: “Our work is set against a backdrop of significant financial uncertainty for both the public sector and the VCS. Without any doubt, both sectors will have to learn to work well together with less money and this has had a strong influence on our work during the review.”

The consultation ends on 24 November.

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