We can ‘level up’ by transforming commissioning

Benjamin P. Taylor
3 min readFeb 2, 2022

It’s absolutely critical to work with the voluntary, #community, and social enterprise sector if we’re going to achieve anything with ‘#levellingup’.

What do you think is most important to enable this and transform our communities and our lives for the better?

As well as the brilliant work we do at the Public Service Transformation Academy to build capacity for commissioning and transformation, we’re currently working on behalf of the LGA on a project to provide structured support to adult social care commissioners to develop their strategic approach.

If you’d like to share your experience or ideas to inform a free, open, local-government-wide tool and learning community, we are interested in hearing from all parties.

There are several different ways that you could get involved. We are looking for interviewees, case studies and focus group attendees.

We are also planning to create an open learning community. This will meet for the first time on the afternoon of Wednesday 9 February and will meet fortnightly on four more occasions.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact David Mason at david.mason@publicservicetransformation.org, 07887 442487

The #future of our #society depends on our engagement with civil society.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to chair a conference: Transforming Commissioning: Levelling Up and Community Investment.

My fuller notes are here.

I got so many rich, crisp, clear points from it:

  • competition is a power tool for commissioners — useful but incredibly dangerous. It should be retired from being thought of as ‘the only tool’
  • we have a fragmented civil society, especially where it’s most needed
  • if you designed a system of funding and support to stop us getting the benefits, it would look like what we’ve got

Money spent on community, voluntary, and social enterprise organisations:

  • gets re-spent locally more than any other money
  • goes *right* where it’s needed for ‘levelling up’
  • generates better communities
  • is the *only* way economic regeneration can work
  • creates extra benefits and results (£3.20 back within the first ten years)
  • is especially valuable if directed to minoritised communities

There’s huge evidence for this, now built in to Treasury evaluation models — and we need to feature strong evidence, powerful stories, and unique grassroots insights to make the case

At heart, this is about relationships — building better relationships, challenge, and governance capacity locally — to change the system from fragmented, costly mess to supportive coherence. And making sure that politicians and civil servants experience this for themselves.

The only way to do this is to see public services and commissioning as equal citizens, an influential part of a complex system, working together to focus on what actually matters for citizens and communities.

We all want to ‘level up’. We all want to live in thriving, positive communities — where every child has *amazing* life chances.

What do you think we need to change to achieve that?