Case studies

Case studies are drawn from across different Children’s Trusts to provide you with practical examples of how effective commissioning benefits children. The case studies reflect current good practice based on real situations and cover different service areas, geographical areas, levels of commissioning and types of problem.

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Browse by theme

Click on one of the themes below to take you to a list of all case studies related to that theme.


Baby smiling Schools                           Nurses Child Health


Children at home CAMHS                             14-19


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All case studies:


  • Next Practice in System Leadership – Darlington Education Village (40 KB)

    Beaumont Hill was a very successful special school in Darlington catering for 225 students with autism, challenging behaviours, and severe learning difficulties. The school’s buildings had aged poorly and the school needed to move to new premises. At the same time the local authority made a commitment to inclusion and to integrating its special needs offer into mainstream education.

  • Governance Arrangements: Commissioning parenting support (507 KB)

    Describes work in Newcastle to ensure all available parenting and family support funding was aligned to and used to deliver activities that demonstrated greatest impact on key priorities in Newcastle's Plan for Children and Young People. Governance arrangements were reviewed to demonstrate their inclusivity for a widened group of stakeholders.

  • Individual Budgets for Families with Disabled Children Scoping Study (751 KB)

    As part of Aiming High for Disabled Children (AHDC), the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has commissioned SQW Consulting (SQW), supported by Gerry Zarb from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), to undertake a scoping study prior to the piloting of Individual Budgets (IB) for families with disabled children. The primary purpose of the scoping study was to inform the development of the IB pilot programme.

  • Commissioning Services for Children, young people and families. A study of the 6 local authority areas. (210 KB)

    In the run-up to the Commissioning Support Programme, SHM was asked by the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) to carry out ‘audience insight’ research with practitioners of children’s commissioning. The aim of this work is to provide the DCSF and the supplier of the support programme with a valuable evidence base about the practitioner audience to inform the design, planning and delivery of the support programme.

  • Delivering parenting and family support through extended school services (Isle of Wight) (65 KB)

    The Community and Family Learning Service sits within the Children and Young People’s division of the Isle of Wight Council. The service recognised the potential of the Extended School Services core offer in terms of Parenting and Family Support and Community Access and decided to work as part of this initiative by acting as both a providerand broker for extended school services in and around schools.

  • Developing A Code of Practice to Work With the Third Sector (Plymouth) (130 KB)

    The voluntary and community sectors have been involved in the development of creative approaches to child play services. This case study, produced by Plymouth for the DCSF, describes the rationale for, key outputs and outcomes of a project to stimulate and support this crucial element of the children’s services market. Key outcomes are reported to be: more active involvement of the Third Sector in the commissioning process; increased number of responsive providers in the market place; increased choice and quality of provision.

  • Developing a Model for Effective Stakeholder Engagement to Deliver Strategic Change (North Tynside) (179 KB)

    As strategic commissioner, North Tyneside Borough Council wanted to ensure that the local education system enabled young people to gain the essential skills they need in the 21st century. It drew in a wide range of partners who would be able to contribute to improving standards, and ensure better outcomes. It explored a Trust model which would ensure the sustained involvement of key partners.

  • Developing an 'Outcomes Based' Commissioning Approach (Birmingham) (146 KB)

    Birmingham’s Children and Young People’s Board (CYPB) have agreed a common approach to achieving better outcomes for children and young people – an approach that has, at its core, an assessment of need and a commitment. ‘Logic modelling’ and evidence based service design were used to develop a high level strategy and priority outcomes. This case study describes how the strategic development stages of this ‘Outcome Based Commissioning’ approach were undertaken.

  • Developing an 'Outcomes Based' Commissioning Approach (Birmingham) - pdf (229 KB)

    Appendices Appendix 1: Presentation of the UNICEF research into child well-being in the richest countries of the world Appendix 2: Synthesis of needs analyses Appendix 3: National drivers: a review of legislation and policy impacting on the delivery of outcomes Appendix 4: Agreed priority outcomes Appendix 5: Methodology for developing a ‘high level investment’ plan Appendix 6: Commissioning Activity Tool (CAT)

  • Developing Joint Commissioning (Solihull) (248 KB)

    This case study outlines the journey that Solihull is taking to develop joint commissioning. There are two specific pieces of work that were completed: (1) a review of the commissioning resources across the partner agencies of the Children’s Trust to identify the best infrastructure to put in place to support joint commissioning and (2) the development of a three-year action plan that clearly lays out the steps that need to be taken in order to develop a joint commissioning strategy.

  • Developing outcomes based commissioning for play services (Darlington) (118 KB)

    To standardise play services across the borough, Darlington Children's Trust developed a service specification to commission core play services. They involved providers in the process and included user-consultation as a requirement. The tender was outcomes based, aligned with the priorities of Every Child Matters. Publisher: Commissiong Support Programme, 2010sector) of selected services for children, young people and families completed the survey.