STAR Procurement


Learning Disabilities & Autism – Flexible Procurement System

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives

STAR’s Flexible Purchasing System (FPS) is a ground breaking procurement initiative based on Greater Manchester (GM) Adult Social Care Strategy ambitions for Learning Disability (LD) and Autism, providing twenty multi-agency Health and Social Care organisations an efficient ‘one-way’ approach to procuring LD and Autism services across GM. The FPS delivers a sustainable market resource to co-design integrated services and offer new opportunities to market test/select providers, enabling commissioners to meet expectations of GM citizens. The FPS is flag-flying for innovation, co-design and service user engagement. STAR now has a platform for all future GM procurement’s and this approach is being shared beyond the region as an exemplar of improvement and innovation. We have delivered innovation by bringing together differing partners into one approach; delivering person-centred, outcome-focused packages to supporting people with LD and Autism to be independent at home, learn new skills and connect with others.

What are the key achievements?

1. Driving co-design across procurement, commissioning, providers and citizens.
2. Empowering citizens;
3. Sourcing innovative solutions, developing a sense of community and sustainable local networks;
4. Supporting GM Strategy and ambitions for Adult Social Care;
5. Underpinning a fragile market for LD and Autism services;
6. Resolving disparity in quality and pricing across GM;
7. Encouraging collaboration across commissioners within GM, improving efficiency and reducing procurement time;
8. Delivering flexibility for new market entrants;
9. Allow flexing for future innovation and market-testing;
10. Utilising the flexibility of the procurement Light Touch Regime.
This ambition was substantial in a short timescale to:
1. Achieve through procurement efficiency and standardising, a GM market approach;
2. Break new ground – achieving commitment and collaboration across 10 GM Authorities, led by citizens, providers and commissioners;
3. Raise quality and help shape and strengthen the local supply market

What are the key learning points?

1. GM wants sustainability which underpins its Strategy;
2. Providers need to apply once and undergo one set of due diligence for appointment;
3. Procurement needs to be undertaken collaboratively – a whole system approach to commissioning;
4. Creativity in designing the system results in significant flexibility;
5. Co-design is key, giving a real advance in the delivery of procurement and citizen empowerment
6. Market engagement is paramount to successful market buy-in;
7. Key tools creation as a result of co-design enables creation of a ‘Lotting’ Strategy;
8. Communication Strategies and Market Engagement Plans are invaluable;
9. Innovation is challenging -we were proposing something different, which w as met with scepticism. Providers were unsure of our motives, commissioners were simply unsure;
10. Have a plan to sell the concept; our plan was ‘ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE’!
11. Governance was a challenge; to get 20 organisations to agree and sign up to a ‘ one-way’ approach, with one Lead Authority. This took time and required strong negotiation and multiple engagement.

Additional Comments

•7 of 20 GM-based organisations are using the FPS
•£50M procurement in the first 9 months;
•Outcome-based specifications developed, linked to GM Health Charter;
•Providers using the Joint Training Partnership to train employees;
•GM-wide market-shaping;
•Providers offer high quality services and are responsive to future needs;
•All 114 appointed providers committed to ethical employment;
•Flexible, innovative providers deliver a diverse model of service s, including asset based approaches to meet cross-GM needs;
•We have shaped the GM-market by demonstrating collaboration, not isolationism;
•Providers clearly understand our requirements and offer innovative approaches to supporting the range of needs for our population across GM;
•Commitment to delivering Social Value within GM, standardising processes, tender documents, procurement manuals and T&Cs;
•Market Shaping Tool for GM, tracking market intelligence, working closely with providers to improve quality;
•A closer working relationship with providers; not the ‘them and us’ of traditional frameworks;
•Service users are in control over their personalised service, delivering the outcomes and standards they want;
•The FPS is delivering a GM LD & Autism strategy produced by people with learning disabilities themselves.

The FPS is fully embedded; ownership by GM localities and providers is facilitating continuous improvement of the FPS. It is
flexible and can cope with any future changes required across GM