Commissioning and Purchasing

By Terry
Bamford, Routledge/Community Care.
ISBN 0 415 24743 8

It is rare that books in the health or social
care fields succeed in bridging the worlds of policy, practice and
research. Happily this is one of the exceptions. This concise,
accessible and well-written book is essential reading for anyone
beginning their career in social care, or wanting to develop their
understanding and skills around commissioning and purchasing.
Bamford’s own extensive experience in social services is
invaluable, not least in providing the insights to what information
is needed, and understanding how practical skills and knowledge can
best be developed in the reader.

The introduction provides a helpful context to
understanding how social services departments have evolved, and
what commissioning and purchasing roles entail. The rest of the
book takes the reader on a well signposted journey through the
nuances of commissioning, involving service users and carers, care
management, contracting, addressing costs and prices, and
purchasing for quality. Each chapter is helpfully prefaced with a
clear set of objectives, and the material is packaged in easily
digested and appealing morsels.

Bamford offers some speculation on the
short-term future of social care and the new forms of commissioning
likely to emerge with fledgling care trusts.

Melanie Henwood is an independent
health and social care analyst.

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