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Commissioning Team & Supported Living Providers: A Symbiotic Relationship for Success in Supported Living

This blog post delves into a crucial aspect of the supported living landscape in the UK – the dynamic relationship between Commissioning Teams and Supported Living Providers. Understanding the roles and collaboration between these entities is pivotal in ensuring the seamless delivery of support services for individuals with autism, learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge. 

Commissioning Team: Orchestrating the Foundation

The Commissioning Team serves as the backbone of the supported living framework. Comprising of dedicated professionals, they play a pivotal role in identifying the needs of individuals who require support. This team is responsible for the strategic planning, procurement, and monitoring of support services.

Their duties encompass:

1. Needs Assessment: Thoroughly evaluating the support needs of individuals to determine the appropriate level of care and assistance required.

2. Service Procurement: Engaging with Supported Living Providers through a competitive process to secure the most suitable services for the individuals in question.

3. Quality Assurance: Rigorously monitoring and evaluating the quality of support services to ensure they meet the expected standards.

4. Financial Management: Managing budgets and resources to optimise the allocation of funds for effective support delivery.

In essence, the Commissioning Team acts as the architect, laying the groundwork for a robust and tailored support system.

Supported Living Providers: Nurturing Independence

Supported Living Providers, on the other hand, are the hands-on implementers of the commissioning strategy. These organisations and professionals work directly with individuals, offering the practical support needed to enhance their quality of life. Their responsibilities include:

1. Personalised Care: Tailoring support services to meet the unique needs and aspirations of each individual, fostering independence and autonomy.

2. Health and Well-being: Ensuring individuals receive the necessary healthcare, assistance with daily activities, and emotional support.

3. Continuous Assessment: Regularly reviewing and adapting support plans based on the evolving needs and goals of the individual.

4. Communication and Advocacy: Acting as advocates for those they support, communicating effectively with the Commissioning Team to address any concerns or adapt service provision.

The Crucial Dance: Why Collaboration is Key

For a supported living service to truly thrive, the Commissioning Team and Supported Living Providers must engage in a coordinated dance. Both parties must work collaboratively, with joined-up thinking, joint risk-taking, and a shared understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

1. Aligned Objectives: The Commissioning Team and Supported Living Providers must align their objectives to ensure that the support services provided meet the needs of the individual. Regular communication and feedback loops are essential to achieve this alignment.

2. Joint Risk-Taking: In the ever-evolving landscape of supported living, both parties must be willing to take calculated risks to benefit the person needing support. In the right circumstances, risk can be beneficial, balancing necessary levels of protection with preserving reasonable levels of choice and control. Risk-taking should involve everybody working together to achieve positive outcomes. 

3. Agreements and Understanding: Clear contractual agreements and a shared understanding of expectations are crucial. This includes transparent communication channels and regular meetings to discuss progress, challenges, and opportunities.

4. Creativity in Approaches: A successful partnership requires creativity. Supported Living Providers should be encouraged to think outside the box, exploring innovative approaches to support that may better cater to the unique needs and preferences of the individuals they serve.

The synergy between Commissioning Teams and Supported Living Providers is the linchpin of a successful supported living service. By fostering a culture of collaboration, understanding, and creativity, we pave the way for a more inclusive and person-centred approach to support, ultimately enriching the lives of those needing support. 

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