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Commissioning, Contracts and Brokerage

The Darlington Borough Council Commissioning, Contracts and Brokerage Team are responsible for:

  • all age commissioning across the People Group covering adult social care, children's social care, education and SEND
  • joint commissioning work with colleagues in Public Health and NHS commissioners (the Integrated Care Board)
  • contract management, quality assurance and monitoring of commissioned provision
  • brokering care packages for adult social care
  • placement sourcing for children's services (social care and education/SEND)

Commissioning' is the process of planning, specifying, purchasing, and monitoring services to meet the needs of individuals both in the short and long-term. This often involves commissioning services jointly with both internal and external partners.  The team are responsible for the following activity:

  • analysing current usage of services and forecasting future demand for services
  • obtaining the voice of people who use services and their carers/families to understand what outcomes are important to them and how well current services are meeting their needs so that we can make continuous improvements
  • developing, supporting, and managing the provider market and its workforce, ensuring services are innovative, effective and make the best use of all available resources
  • ensuring commissioned services support the delivery of strategic priorities
  • ensuring contracting process are robust with clear outcome focused Specifications.
  • monitoring service quality to ensure services are safe, deliver improved outcomes for people and provide value for money

Key Strategies and Documents

Our Commissioning Intentions can be found in the documents below

Looked After Children and Care Leavers Commissioning and Sufficiency Strategy

Darlington’s Looked After Children and Care Leavers Commissioning and Sufficiency Strategy (Refresh 2024 – 2025) provides an overview of current need and projected future demand, and outlines the progress made in achieving our original and planned future commissioning intentions. Having a sufficient range of services and placements available locally, that meet the current and future needs of children and young people, is essential to supporting positive outcomes for children and young people in Darlington. This will provide them with the best start in life and opportunities as they transition towards adulthood, which is aligned with the core value and priorities of the Council Plan.

Adult Social Care Commissioning Strategy and Market Position Statement

Darlington’s Market Position Statement and Commissioning Strategy 2024 – 2027 (MPS) provides information about our commissioning intentions for Adult Social Care in Darlington and enables providers to understand the local context, current challenges and how these are likely to change over the next couple of years.   

 The MPS will help providers shape their business plans, setting out how we will work together to:  

  • support the vision for Adult Social Care 
  • prevent, reduce, and delay care and support needs
  • meet local need and demand using available resources efficiently and effectively 
  • achieve the best outcomes for individuals

Adult Social Care Commissioning Strategy and Market Position Statement [pdf Document]

Adult Social Care Accommodation with Care and Support Strategy

The Adult Social Care Accommodation with Care and Support Strategy 2024 – 2027 forms part of Darlington’s Market Position Statement and Commissioning Strategy for Adult Social Care and informs the wider Darlington Housing Strategy.

 The Accommodation with Care and Support Strategy outlines how we will work with all key partners with aim of:

  • developing innovative solutions for our immediate priorities in terms of demographics, which are:
    • younger adults (18 – 65 years), who have a learning disability, autism diagnosis and/or mental health problem. This is also the area which is most challenging in terms of increasingly complex cases and a less stable provider market
    • people with complex care needs who are at risk of being admitted to or are being discharged from acute in-patient settings
    • people with learning disabilities and mental health needs who are reaching the age of 65+ years
    • older carers who are supporting someone with a learning disability, autism diagnosis and/or mental health issue
    • young people who are transitioning to adulthood with ongoing care and support needs
  • reducing the usage of residential care, particularly for younger adults, by developing innovative housing solutions and community support services
  • providing accommodation, which is of the highest standard, in the right locations and includes support delivered by registered and responsive care providers
  • providing supported accommodation which can be flexible, adaptable and can accommodate people with complex needs throughout their lives
  • encouraging developers to work with providers to ensure supported accommodation maximises the use of Assistive Technology and strengths/asset-based approaches to increase independence and avoid restrictive practice
  • reducing the need for out of borough placements by meeting needs locally

Adult Social Care Accommodation with Care and Support Strategy [PDF Document]

Our Commissioning Approach

We aim to:

  • ensure people can maximise their strengths and the strengths of their family and community to achieve and maintain independence and self support
  • take an intelligence-based approach when making commissioning decisions using transformation, performance and financial outcomes and data to ensure services and support arrangements continue to develop and progress in line with the needs of Darlington residents.
  • work closely with people who use services and their carers/families
  • make best use of technology
  • deliver better outcomes for people and improve their health and wellbeing by ensuring all contracts are outcome focussed
  • support providers by ensuring the way we commission services through dialogue and shared understanding allowing us to maximise resources available and give our providers stability to recruit and retain the right workforce
  • build on the foundation of strong partnership working with the NHS and the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector (VCSE)
  • ensure all carers receive the support they need to enable them to continue to lead their own lives alongside their caring role
  • ensure our commissioning models provide high quality and are financially sustainable, with the aim of achieving reductions in demand and costs

Current Services

Information on services currently available in Darlington can be found on the Livingwell Darlington website [external site]

The Team

Team Structure Chart [pdf document].

Christine Shields – Assistant  Director - Commissioning Performance & Transformation, [email protected] Tele 01325 405851

Sukhdev Dosanjh - Head of Service - Commissioning, Contracts and Brokerage [email protected] Tele 01325 405651

Helen Watson - Senior Strategic Commissioning Manger (Children and SEND) - [email protected] Tele 01325 405866

Michele-Louisa Conley - Commissioning Manager (SEND/Education Commissioning) - [email protected] Tele 01325 405857

Craig Rowbotham - Strategic Commissioning Manager (Older People) - [email protected] Tele 07741184844

Peter Stirling - Strategic Commissioning Manager (Working Aged Adults) - [email protected] Tele 01325 405856

Lisa Holdsworth - Commissioning Officer [email protected] Tele 01325 405861

Sharon Cable - Commissioning Officer [email protected] 0738472741

Kimberley Iceton - Commissioning Officer [email protected] Tele 07825163666

Gordon Peacock - Contracts Officer (Childrens Social Care) [email protected]  Tele 01325 405871

Joanne Smith - Contracts Officer (SEND and Education) [email protected]  Tele 01325 405868

Clare Laybourn - Contracts Officer (Older People) [email protected] Tele 01325 406641

Neil Coleman – Contracts Officer (Working Aged Adults) [email protected] Tele 01325 405008

Elysia Parkes - Brokerage Team Leader [email protected]  Tele 01325 405874

Helen Nesom - Senior Brokerage Officer [email protected]  Tele 01325 405872

Lesley Barras - Brokerage Officer [email protected]  Tele 01325 405993

Sarah Conlon - Brokerage Officer [email protected] Tele 01325 405415

Carl Fradgley - Brokerage Officer [email protected] Tele 01325 406821

Josh Slack - Placement Officer [email protected] Tele 01325 405860

Toni Mace - Placement Officer [email protected] Tele 01325 405860

Sarah Burns - Brokerage Officer [email protected] Direct Line: 01325 405119E

Rob Dent – Information Officer Children’s Services  [email protected] Direct Line 01325 405880

Sandra  Feldon – Families Information Support Officer - [email protected] Direct Line 01325 405879

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