Commissioning culture has been developed organisationally and rapidly over a decade.
It has done so largely without reflection or critique of its practices from those internal to it or externally, other than maybe to analyse costs.
Relationships and dynamics have had little consideration.
Where this has been so it has often been at the level of organisational efficiency, often by external consultants using a model that sees providers as interchangeable.
Relationships, seen as the vital aspect of care, have had less value placed on them than placement making and supporting, and it has been repeatedly reported finance often trumps all else even legislation regarding children’s care. Contrast in the development of outcomes frameworks the maximising of care and welfare and the minimising of cost.
Caring for the most vulnerable young people is emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, and physically exhausting work. Commissioning is one aspect of this work.
Isabel Menzies Lyth argued that managers can assist the confronting of anxiety-evoking experiences through developing the capacity to deal with them more effectively, rather than sweep them under the carpet. She proposed that the “success and vitality of a social institution are immediately connected with the techniques it uses to contain anxiety.”
Commissioning has multiple anxieties, the needs of the young people, working with social work colleagues and other agencies, working with providers, its awareness of its vulnerability, ineffectiveness and inefficiency and that there is a projected magic and miracle expectation of their work. Little wonder that we carry on trying with our utmost reason to make that technical development that will ‘cure’ the anxiety of all in the system.
Unchecked anxiety can lead to people start blocking out their distress and trying to remain disconnected from the tasks they are doing. They get caught up in devising dysfunctional processes and inhibiting structures – which lead to distorted perceptions, poor decisions, and destructive team dynamics.
Download the document below to read more and the 14 ways to create conditions for containment that reinforces established values and principles in a way that is sensitive to the emotional impact that they may have.
NCERCC The utility of the concept of Containment in contracts and commissioning of childrens social care