What about Supplier Engagement?
We’ve got some gaps where we know we need more suppliers in certain areas. For instance, some of the support for people with acquired brain injuries – we rely on a sole Provider for that, so anything we can do to expand that would be great. We’ve got some new suppliers coming through for enrolment. The services are high-cost, and if we can try and get some competition in the market, that can only be a good thing, both for us and the individuals. The suppliers seem to have bought into the process and have been engaged. It does come back to the review, though, because they told us their challenges and problems with the process, and implementing adam is us trying to improve those challenges.
What do you think the challenges are with managing a dynamic supply base?
I think it’s good in that adam allows new entrants to come on board. So rather than us saying, ‘I’m sorry. It’s a four-year framework. You can’t join it’, as long as they can satisfy the entry criteria, they can join at any point; we’re not shutting the door on any new suppliers. So I think it can only be a good thing, can’t it? I’m not saying we’re going to be inundated with new suppliers, because it’s a niche market, but as new suppliers become available, they can join.
And what will more dynamic suppliers mean for the Learning Disabilities category?
From our point of view, when we’re setting out the requirements for the individuals, we need to be cleverer about how we’re putting those requirements to the market. In the past, we may have stated ‘this person needs X hours of care’; it’s now more about ‘what are the outcomes’. If those outcomes are ‘this person wants to be able to travel around the city’, we need to be asking the Providers how they’re going to help that person do that. We need to start thinking in a different way. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we need to be changing the way we think about services and the way the requirements are out together. It’ll help us move towards a more outcomes focused way of commissioning. We will be using a 60/40 rating – 60% quality, 40% value – for suppliers, but we are looking to tailor the ratings based on individual care packages.
Brighton had around 10 providers engaging with them and picking up their packages. Since then, Brighton and adam have collaborated to engage more than 30 providers on the system, giving Brighton the choice and competition within their market.
What do people with Learning Disabilities want and need from the marketplace?
The independent review did a number of visits, speaking to staff, Providers and Service Users. People came back and were quite clear what they wanted in the review. They want services to be person-centred and focused on them. They also mentioned about travelling independently around the city. They want to be able to work… they want to do all those ‘normal’ things. Hopefully through the services we’re going to commission, we’re going to be able to take people on that journey to where they can do those things.