1.  Commissioning is a process that may include:

  1. assessing the needs for which a service is required,
  2. procuring that service from an appropriate service provider via the allocation of resources and contracting arrangements, and
  3. managing the subsequent relationships with the service providers.

2.  This last element may include monitoring the quality of the commissioned service. 

3.  In particular circumstances the following may be commissioned: 

  1. accommodation; 
  2. care, support, supervision; and/ or 
  3. housing support/ intensive housing management.

4.  Some organisations may refer to themselves as commissioning/ outsourcing activities (e.g. support or housing management) but that is not what is being referenced here.

Commissioned supported housing

5. Certain supported housing arrangements may be “commissioned” by public bodies that have a relevant duty or power to arrange such accommodation. 

6. Such supported housing arrangements are “commissioned” by public bodies on the basis of a commissioning agreement.

7. Supported housing that is not subject to a commissioning agreement may be referred to as “non-commissioned”.

Local authority commissioners

8. DWP commissioned a report focused on Long-Term Supported Accommodation (LTSA). The survey findings (2018) related to 22 local authorities (LAs) across England, Scotland and Wales. The study was designed to explore how LTSA is managed, particularly with respect to cost-control.1 What follows is based on their survey findings.

9. Within local authorities commissioning teams hold information on the types of schemes under their auspices and the clients that are being facilitated.

10. Commissioning teams within local authorities are distinct from Housing Benefit teams, on the one hand, and Adult Social Care, on the other.

11. According to the report, local authorities monitor the quality of service charges eligible for HB both in relation to commissioned and non-commissioned schemes. 

12. Commissioning teams generally have no oversight over non-commissioned schemes.

Specialised supported housing

13. Specialised supported housing is by definition commissioned. 2Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, ‘Policy Statement on Rents for Social Housing’ February 2019, The Social Housing Rents (Exceptions and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2016 No 390, 2 – def: “specialised supported housing”

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