Commissioning aims to fund activities against a clearly identified set of priorities and evidence of need. In many cases, the funder identifies a range of outline projects and invites organisations to submit proposals to deliver them.
Locally, Bradford Council and Bradford and Airedale NHS have supported millions of pounds worth of voluntary and community sector activities using commissioning processes.
1. The funder agrees its funding priorities and budgets.
2. Specific needs are identified.
3. A set of project outlines (specifications) are drawn up. These usually describe the problem to be addressed, a timescale, locality and the target population to benefit. Other details might be included, such as the funding available, targets and quality standards.
4. The funding round is launched and groups are invited to submit their proposals, in most cases using the funder’s application form. The funding round is not always open to everyone and the funding might be offered as grants or contracts.
5. Grants or contracts are awarded to those projects that provide the best solutions. These are chosen against a set of criteria that usually attempt to balance the best fit, quality and cost.
Commissioning is an ongoing process – you can approach the funder to get involved at any stage. Bradford Council has produced a guide for suppliers, Doing Business with Bradford Council, which outlines how to get involved.
Bradford Council website has information on the various current contracts that are in place across the Council and the types of goods, services and works they purchase, as well as how to apply to be an approved supplier to the Council.