Commissioning in the human services ecosystem

Commissioning in human services

Report outlining the key drivers behind commissioning and how governments should break down barriers to foster it.

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In the face of unprecedented pressures on demand, expectations and resources, governments around the world are rethinking how they deliver health and human services including social care, family care and housing. 

The shift involves governments letting go of their traditional roles as service providers, and instead facilitating new markets and collaborative environments that enable desired outcomes. In response to this, many governments are recognizing the need and value of reform in the human services sector. Significant reforms are underway in Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand in health, disability, housing, community, aged care, and child and family services.

Some countries label the new approach 'commissioning'. In others it is referred as ‘contracting’ or ‘procuring for value’. Whatever the terminology, governments need to act fast. These ripples of progress are giving way to a possible tsunami of change that threatens to swamp traditional service delivery.

In this report, we outline the key drivers for this change and how governments should break down barriers to foster it. We explore the respective roles of the citizen customer, government, providers and leaders in a developing commissioning system before presenting a brief roadmap for effective commissioning in human services.

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