Commissioning for Outcomes

In late 2018 the Community Services Industry Alliance launched Commissioning for Outcomes: an industry-led approach, a model for system excellence in investment in child and family services and actions for creating lasting change.

Created in partnership with Dr Ingrid Burkett from TACSI and the Community Services Industry Alliance, the report details the need for a better systems approach to funding outcomes as well as the clear recommendations for actions.

The situation

Last year, the Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA) and TACSI shared their concerns about how systems currently invest in and fund activities rather than outcomes – by counting the number of families a service sees rather than the outcomes that are created that enable families to thrive.

Our vision

As stakeholders, there is a shared passion to rethink how this investment could better resource prevention, early intervention and outcomes for children, families and communities.  This led TACSI and CSIA together to explore the potential for a ‘commissioning for outcomes’ approach – and to start this exploration with the service providers who actually engage directly with and offer support to children and families.

Commissioning for outcomes is a holistic way that government and the community services industry can work alongside service users to create lasting change.

Our approach

CSIA brought together a range of partners, and some community services who not only participated in the joint work, but funded it themselves.  Together time was spent with service providers (managers and frontline staff) and government (contracting, policy and treasury staff) to understand:

  • how funding is currently structured
  • what it would take to realign or recommission services so that outcomes were more possible to deliver
  • what barriers existed in shifting this investment.

A framework was jointly designed that unpacked what might be needed to grow the readiness of the community services industry for an approach to commissioning for outcomes.

The report created includes this framework, and examples from across other sectors and internationally about the potential such approach has for enabling families to thrive.

What’s next?

In the next phase of the work we are looking to test and develop real models of commissioning for outcomes in relation to child and family services.