Building a Commissioning in Complexity Community of Practice
Annabel and Toby outline our plans for bringing together people who want to explore new ways of working in response to ever-increasing complexity.
In November, we hosted an event for funders, commissioners and delivery organisations. These people and organisations are rejecting old norms of siloed, target-driven delivery and have identified that they want to fund, commission and deliver social interventions within the new way of thinking and working described in the report: “A Whole New World — Funding and Commissioning in Complexity”
We came together to explore how a Community of Practice might help to support people trialling such approaches, and bring into being a step change in how we resource and deliver social change in ways which are more collaborative, human and adaptive to the messiness of the world.
The event gave people the experience of talking with others who wanted to work in a complexity-informed way in their own practice. We gained a better understanding of who wants to talk with who, about what, and what mechanisms and platforms are needed to facilitate those conversations.
At the event, participants worked to identify what they considered the key issues relating to building a better way of working. Eight key shifts emerged.
Use of Data & Evidence
That the traditional ‘scientific paradigm’ with a hierarchy of evidence — with RCTs at the top and people’s experiences at the bottom — is not helpful for understanding how to work in complex environments. People (especially those on the frontline) need to develop and use a range of evidence, and have the capacity to interpret this evidence locally. Evidence moves from being something which the frontline implements, to something it has ownership of. Evidence is no longer captured solely by numbers, but by stories, vignettes and exemplars which are contextualised by local context.
Collaboration and Competition
We need to change the mind-set of all actors in the system from competition to collaboration. This will involve changing cultures and behaviours, and making our networks more transparent and accessible. Collaboration needs to extend across traditional boundaries, including between levels of government, across sectors, and between service users and providers. We need to share successful collaboration case studies as a tool for learning.
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