How does RCS fit in with other Scottish Government initiatives?

Strategic commissioning is about identifying the needs of the population and putting in place the right services to meet those needs.

The term is used for all the activities involved in assessing and forecasting needs, linking investment to agreed desired outcomes, considering options, planning the nature, range and quality of future services, and working in partnership to put these in place.

Joint commissioning is where these actions are undertaken by two or more agencies working together – typically health and local government, and often from a pooled or aligned budget.

Central to the process of effective Joint Strategic Commissioning (JSC) is the greater requirement for services to gather and use evidence. Within the RCS programme this evidence includes:

  • Outcomes-focused data centred around the eight wellbeing indicators defined by the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 – safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible, included (SHANARRI)
  • Child population needs data, as opposed to service output data
  • Data on currently available services such as purpose, targeted age group, level of intervention and associated cost

This evidence, used alongside existing data, will help local authorities to understand children’s wellbeing in their local area and link investment more closely to desired outcomes.

The Scottish Government is rolling out the Realigning Children’s Services (RCS) programme to support Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) in making strategic commissioning decisions.

A key focus alongside improved evidence collection and analysis will be on strengthening of partnership working across children’s services – from statutory services to voluntary and independent providers of services and the children and their families who benefit from them.

Where Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) assesses an individual child’s need and required service input to meet that need, Joint Strategic Commissioning looks at the aggregate needs of the child population to shape children’s services so that the required service input is actually available for those who need it. It will also help to identify where preventative measures should be used for best results.

Where the wellbeing data shows it may be appropriate, the improvement methodology central to the Early Years Collaborative is used, as part of the wider change management approach, to improve practice in close collaboration with the communities who use them.