A new study from University of Birmingham on the perceived benefits of joint commissioning has raised some interesting points about those firms undertaking shared platforms as a cost saving measure.

Although this report focusses on the Public sector (Health and Social Care), I see no discernible reason why the finding should not be considered by all employers considering shared services.  Of course my own interest is in HR and it is now common for local authorities to be talking to each other (in pairs or clusters), to be looking at ways to drive down costs by sharing single resources.

Dr Helen Dickinson, one of the co-authors of the report says of the research is reported to have said that the research finds “no clear evidence that joint commissioning improves outcomes”  and this despite the researchers selecting sites of ‘best practice’ for their study.

In perhaps the most alarming of comments she states “most sites found it difficult to demonstrate what joint commissioning had achieved locally.”

Why does this concern me?  Put simply, I refuse to entertain that managers enter into this process without careful planning and diligence.  Many even have significant expertise in this field and yet, they get it badly wrong.  Why?  What lesson are to be learned (and how quickly).

A full copy of the report, entitled: Joint Commissioning in Health and Social Care: An Exploration of Definitions, Processes, Services and Outcomes is available from 8th January 2013. For more information please contact Deborah Walker, press office, University of Birmingham, 0121 414 9041 or mobile 07776 465138 or email d.s.walker.1@bham.ac.uk