New VODG report highlights need for fresh approach to strategic commissioning of disability services

VODG has today published a new report that calls for a fresh approach to the strategic commissioning of disability services in order to strengthen relationships between statutory bodies and voluntary sector organisations so that positive outcomes for disabled people can be achieved.

Commissioning for a vibrant voluntary disability sector: the case for change draws upon the collective experiences across the VODG membership and explores some of the challenges associated with the commissioning of services for disabled people. These include navigating complex procurement processes to compete for low priced contracts, having to subside services from charitable funds, and in some cases being forced to hand back contracts because of funding pressures.

The report also demonstrates how commissioning and procurement can hinder the role of the voluntary sector in delivering services and, in turn, their contribution to local communities. It goes on to examine what good practice between statutory bodies and the voluntary sector should look like, offering recommendations for local authorities and clinical commissioning groups to support the effective delivery of services.

Dr Rhidian Hughes, VODG chief executive, said: “We need to strengthen strategic partnerships. People who use services, their families and providers should all be involved in commissioning services that help ensure the rights and entitlements of disabled people are fully met. But this is not the case and at a time of squeezed funding in social care, increasing demand and rising costs, some services are struggling to survive. Without adequate funding from central government, and with the continued absence of a long-term plan for social care, voluntary sector providers, and the care and support they offer to disabled people, are increasingly at threat.

“As our report demonstrates the voluntary sector makes a significant contribution to ensuring that the rights and entitlements of disabled people are met – we hope that a fresh approach to strategic commissioning will uphold, and not hinder, that contribution.”