Testimonials from Commissioning Academy participants

“Being in a group of like-minded peers, having conversations about needs, innovation, outcomes and transformation was hugely empowering.”

Gareth Symonds, Assistant Director of Commissioning, Surrey County Council

“An incredibly useful insight into how to commission services that citizens need positively and successfully.”

Theresa Chambers, Home Office

“It’s a worthwhile investment. I found it a really useful experience. Coming into it with other people from your organisation, makes a big difference in terms of being able to go back into the office and think about what you’ve taken from each of the sessions and each of the site visits and translate that into what might you do differently within your organisation.”

Mathew Kendall, Assistant Director, ASC and Health, Barnet

“A fantastically useful experience. Has placed better commissioning as a corner stone of our transformation journey.”

Eddie Pinkard, Head of Transformation, States of Guernsey

“I’ve found the Commissioning Academy to be a really useful experience for a number of reasons, but the main one is that it provides a fantastic and unique opportunity to hear some of the theoretical stuff alongside some really practical examples of what others have done within government and a combination of those two things has been of enormous personal development but also of real practical use in the workplace as well.”

Steve Scott, DWP

For me, it’s about using the learning and the opportunities and the network that we’ve formed to go back to my organisation and lead by example, making more of a contribution and allow other people to learn from the opportunities that have been afforded to me.

Mike Wheatley, Prison Substance Misuse Co-Commissioning, National Offender Management Service

I have been involved in commissioning for a long time and done lots of other training courses but this has made me think about different concepts. Things like how does it look from a provider’s point of view, how can we invest in our communities financially and with resources and what we need to do next, given context and the financial difficulties we all face.

Linda Uren, Gloucestershire County Council

It’s been a fantastic opportunity, a privilege. Not only to have the time out to think, but also the input from all the different speakers, the chance to visit other authorities. The main take away – commissioning is not about procurement, it is about hearts and minds, it is about asking the right question and getting the answer. And how do we take that back into our organisation. Lots to take away.

Jacqui McKinlay, Director of Customer Services and Communications, Staffordshire County Council

We’ve got out of the Academy exactly what we wanted. We’ve never really found a way to get together as the public sector and learn from each other and that’s exactly what we’ve had from this. We’ve had some really high quality presentations but I think the real learning has come from sitting, twenty or thirty of us in session, and sharing experience and expertise.

Julie Taylor, Assistant Chief Executive, London Borough of Barnet

One of the things I’ve found most interesting about this programme, is that there is a lot of jargon, a lot of technical terminology, that makes it feel as if commissioning is something which can only be done by a procurement specialist. I think the Academy has shown that at its core, commissioning is basic good strategic management, from customer insight at the beginning stages to how you manage an ongoing relationship within a partnership. So I think it’s made it much more accessible and in turn has made it much easier for me to go and sell those ideas and messages within my own organisation.

Damian Roberts, Strategic Director, Waverley Borough Council

Our Victim and Witness 100 day plan was primarily developed during the programme. The Academy provided us with precious thinking time, in a period spent away from the office, to reflect on the PCC’s vision for victims and witnesses and consider the many lessons learnt from the guest speakers. Together with peer challenge, this resulted in a plan which has provided focus for this piece of commissioning.

Group from Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire

Without a doubt we have had the latest most current thinking from central government departments. We have had excellent input from service providers, other commissioners and the debate has been fantastic.

Tom Woodcock, Public Health Commissioning Lancashire County Council