Stoke on Trent City Council

Who was involved?

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Primary Care Trust, Safer City Partnership, Adult Social Care, Supporting People Core Strategy Group, Housing and Supporting People have formed a commissioning partnership.

What do partners contribute?

The partners contribute their expertise in the area of fire prevention, falls prevention and improvements required to enable people to continue to live more independently in their own home. The Fire Service, Primary Care Trust and Supporting People contribute funding.

What service is being provided?

Staffordshire Housing Association a voluntary agency is commissioned to provide a ‘handy persons’ service through the Revival, Home Improvement Agency comprising generic holistic assessment, a check on the building to identify areas where aids and adaptations would prevent falls, a risk assessment on the individual to minimise the risk of falling, a check on the home environment including room temperatures and a check on fire prevention e.g. smoke detectors, fire doors and appreciation of fire risk. The handy person arranges then for areas of improvement identified to be actioned and will signpost to other services for example benefit advice, grant funding or loans if there are concerns about budgeting constraints leading to inadequate heating or other areas of work required in order to adequately maintain or improve the accommodation.

What were the challenges for commissioning partners and how were these addressed?

The challenges included sustaining the commitment of all members particularly when faced with personnel changes it was important to stress the realisable outcomes for example referring those in hospital as a result of a fall to prevent further falls. The process and referral pathway caused difficulties initially and there had to remain a focus on keeping going until these problems were ironed out.

What were the challenges to the provider and how were these overcome?

One of the main challenges was ensuring that commissioners articulated with each other what needs they expected the service to meet then agree some common ground. This can be resolved by having a lead person who is a strong supporter of the service and able to influence the other commissioners. This person needs to ensure that the proposal moves forward and reaches fruition.

What benefits or value has joint commissioning delivered to commissioners?
More integrated partnership working and a demonstrable improvement in minimising home fire risk and preventing falls outcomes. The service delivered has helped to make a visible and measureable contribution to the Adult Social Care, Housing and Health Falls strategy in the city.

What is the value of joint commissioning to the provider, users and the community?

More comprehensive service delivery to service users that addresses a number of needs in one assessment process and also has the flexibility to pick up other issues as well that may require the input of other agencies for example Adult Social Care or Community Health services. The value and benefits for providers include that full cost recovery is much more likely to be realised when a service is commissioned by more than one commissioner. A critical benefit to service users is this type of commissioning is perceived to be more long term and there is security and stability knowing that the service will continue for them.

Top tips

  • Ensure that the process and referral pathway is understood and signed up to by all
  • Ensure that all partners are aware of what others can contribute and what others are doing
  • Have a regular meeting where all partners discuss the service and whether it is meeting their outcomes and objectives
  • One Commissioner should take the lead role and this should be someone with an appropriate level of influence.