DPULOs Making a Difference: Working with commissioners – Expression of Interest


Commissioners working in all areas of the public sector – social care, health, children’s services, employment, justice system, education etc. – will be vital to the future strength and sustainability of Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations.

Yet the experience DPULOs have of commissioners – and that commissioners have of DPULOs – can be very varied. This gives rise to a wide variety of outcomes for DPULOs themselves and the work they do: from thriving and growing year on year to struggling to survive from one month to the next.

Great examples exist of where DPULOs and commissioners have worked well together for the benefit of disabled people in their communities. These examples include innovative use of commissioning and procurement, as well as through softer approaches such as partnerships and relationships. Such “working well” leads to:

  • The voice of disabled people being captured and represented in a local area
  • Innovative and effective service delivery by DPULOs.

However, these examples aren’t necessarily well known – to either DPULOs or commissioners. Furthermore, the factors underpinning why this work happens in some places and not in others isn’t as well understood as it should be.

A collection of case studies

Building on and extending work that others have done (such as SCIE and ripfa) the Strengthening DPULOs Programme is commissioning a collection of case studies to address these gaps. The collection will show how DPULOs and commissioners have worked successfully together and the reasons for this.

The collection will cover:

  • Examples of how commissioners and DPULOs have worked together
  • The practicalities of how the relationship worked
  • What the successful results were of this relationship
  • The key factors that enabled this success to happen
  • What general lessons we can learn from DPULOs and commissioners working successfully together.

Case studies could potentially include examples of:

  • Commissioners reserving contracts for DPULOs using existing legislation and regulations
  • Significant contracts being issued for voice/engagement-related work
  • How DPULOs and commissioners have worked together to deliver value for money at a time of austerity
  • Strategic partnerships between DPULOs and commissioners
  • Commissioners working with DPULOs to support their move into new service delivery areas
  • Effective engagement between DPULOs and emerging Health & Wellbeing Boards and local HealthWatch organisations.

Complementary work

This collection of case studies would complement other work we are doing on the role of commissioners in the sustainability of DPULOs. This other work includes:

  • Promoting DPULOs through funding and procurement – targeted work with local authority commissioners in a particular region
  • A piece of qualitative research with commissioners to understand their views and perspectives of DPULOs, and the barriers that may affect commissioners being able to buy the services of DPULOs.


The collection of case studies would be widely disseminated through the DPULO network associated with the Strengthening DPULOs Programme and all its communications channels, including the ODI website, monthly email and social media.

We would also wish to disseminate this report to each local authority in the country, as well as relevant representative bodies (such as the Local Government Association). A full stakeholder map will be developed as part of this work; any suggestions that people have of networks we should share this work through would be welcome.

The collection will also inform the work of the Strengthening DPULOs Programme and others on how best to support DPULOs in their work and relationships with commissioners.

How you can get involved

The collection of case studies will be coordinated and written by a DPULO. Support will also go directly to the DPULOs whose work is being profiled in order to support their effective contribution.

The role of the coordinating DPULO will be to:

  • Scope and agree potential DPULO case studies
  • Produce a case study template
  • Liaise with each chosen DPULO in writing their case study
  • Contribute to writing an introduction and conclusion for the collection
  • Draft the final collection
  • Support development of a stakeholder map for dissemination.

We anticipate this work will take approximately 10-15 days in total.

Expressions of Interest

We would like DPULOs to submit a brief (no more than 3 sides A4) Expression of Interest to coordinate this collection of work.

Your Expression of Interest should cover:

  • The DPULO’s knowledge, understanding and expertise regarding commissioners and commissioning/procurement
  • The DPULO’s knowledge and understanding of the barriers DPULOs face when it comes to commissioning and procurement
  • Demonstrable evidence of the DPULO’s networks and contacts with other DPULOs
  • The DPULO’s experience in project management
  • The DPULO’s experience in delivering high quality written materials in relatively short timescales
  • The DPULO’s capacity to demonstrate the ability to deliver this work within the next 2-3 months
  • Your proposed daily rate for this work.

This Expression of Interest will be considered and marked by the Strengthening DPULOs Programme team, and the coordinating DPULO will be chosen solely on the basis of the information provided. The work will be resourced through a grant to the coordinating DPULO.

Please submit your Expression of Interest to Richard.Watts1@dwp.gsi.gov.uk by 5pm on Wednesday 25 April 2012.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Rich above. Similarly, if you know someone who may be interested, please pass this information on to them.

March 2012


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

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