Below different models of collboration are explained.
For organisations considering working more closely together we can help you understand the options available, contact us if you any questions.
Commissioners are under pressure to allocate resources to achieve the best possible results for service users. On top of this they have have reduced budgets and savings have to be made where possible. This can result in contracts being offered which are larger than many Third Sector organisations could deliver on their own.
Providers can respond to this by exploring ways of collaborating with each other. Effective collaboration can take a range of forms and is a growing trend.
Below is a list of different ways that organisations can collaborate:
Informal networking groups provide great opportunities to build contracts, hear and share experiences and keep in touch with relevant organisations working in the same field. Of course technology now makes the sharing of information much easier and can help networks be more effective.
Sharing staff in Human Resources or Finance, having joint purchasing arrangements or shared IT systems are all examples of how organisations can join up their resources or functions for mutual gain. Benefits can include reduced cost and improvement of service.
Organisations are increasingly coming together to share accommodation. Coming together in this way can mean that property can be owned which would not have been possible for groups by themselves. Sharing a property can encourage peer learning and enhance organisational development generally. This can sometimes be a first step to later closer collaboration.
The size of some competitive tenders means that Joint Service Delivery may be the best way for smaller organisations to secure a role and share their specialist knowledge. Many smaller groups in Leeds already collaborate in this way. Other collaboration can happen around influencing and campaigning and fundraising.
Two or more groups who want to work together may decide to form a new separate company or charity in which each has an agreed stake and role. In this way they can manage the collaboration and joint working on and an agreed agenda without losing autonomy and with the advantages that separating legal liabilities and contracting arrangements can bring.
Two or more organisations may decide to combine and form one organisation. In Leeds, following a period of sharing premises, Voluntary Action Leeds and Leeds Voice have merged in this way. At a national level, the Development Trusts Association and bassac (the British Associations of Settlements and Social Action Centres) have also recently merged to form Locality.
Joint service delivery is on the increase and commissioning bodies are actively encouraging the creation of consortia by relevant delivery groups across Leeds. The NHS has invested in the Supporting Links to Commissioning Project to support consortium development.
A consortium brings together a group of providers who have undertaken a comprehensive process of self evaluation and joint information. All parties in a consortium should be fully aware of each others priorities and approach, agreeing in advance how they will work together in relation to certain services. A successful consortium is based on trust and shared knowledge and openness.
Consortia can take different forms. A group of providers could decide to create a separate legal body but most often the providers agree on who will be the lead body. The lead body is the provider group which will have a contract with the commissioning body and then sub-contract to the other groups.
A consortium is a way for smaller groups to deliver services through the commissioning process without having a direct contract with the Council or the NHS.
There are already a number of consortia in Leeds, with more in the pipeline. The advantage for them is that when tenders are let, they will be ready to respond promptly.
If you want to know more we can offer support to organisations and groups considering creating a consortuim - get in touch.
Produced by bassac (now Locality) the following download is a useful matrix of considerations if you are thinking about collborating for commissioning.
Identifying partners' roles and responsibilities (.pdf, 120kb)