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Better evidence for better commissioning: a study of the evidence base of generic social care commissioning guides in the UK

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Commissioning of services has become integral to the role of those in the health and social care profession and a plethora of guidance on commissioning exists to aid professionals in this strategic activity. As part of a study of the Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP), the evidence base of published generic social care commissioning guides, published between 2003 and 2008, was assessed. Guides that were intended for healthcare commissioning, and client group or diagnosis specific commissioning, were excluded. Within this paper we present our findings of four generic guides and, because of its direct relevance to social care commissioning, a further guide published after the data gathering period. Overall, all were reasonably clear and well written, but the evidence on which they were based drew most heavily on government documents and other practice guidance rather than research evidence. When empirical research was cited, samples and methods were not given in sufficient detail, and in a few instances findings were misinterpreted. This tendency to rely on government publications stands in marked contrast to the use of research evidence that underpins social care outcomes commissioning in the US and to some extent is a manifestation of the state of research capacity and literacy within the social care field.
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Keywords: COMMISSIONING; EMPIRICAL RESEARCH; EVIDENCE; OUTCOMES; SOCIAL CARE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-08-01

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