In 2015, Gowling WLG, in conjunction with LH Alliances, advised Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group on a legal framework and alliance contract to revolutionise support and personalised care for people suffering with mental illness or life issues. To do this, we developed a novel alliancing approach to unite commissioners, service providers and voluntary organisations under a single framework and shared goals.
Partner Robert Breedon worked with associate Sarah Friedrich, Dr Linda Hutchinson of LH Alliances and the contract partners to agree key priorities for the alliance. These included ensuring that the alliance contract:
- built on the local collaborative approach
- recognised the contribution of the range of providers; reduced the risk of a dominant provider, and
- achieved change driven by outcomes.
The team started from a blank sheet to devise a unique structure for the alliance contract. This had to achieve agreed priorities and project goals, be consistent with the NHS standard form contract and feature 'plain English' to make it accessible for service-users.
All parties are expected to collectively share risks and rewards, thereby aligning commercial incentives to achieve better care for service users. The alliance contract features a single performance framework and incentives are linked to overall outcomes. Crucially, each alliance member must act in the best interests of individuals using the service.
Commercially, where the alliance exceeds its ambition to deliver more care, more efficiently, there will be a shared financial reward.
Shared responsibility is driving improvement, innovation and efficiency and the experience of service users has shown significant improvements, with the new service achieving £2 million of budget savings in its first year.