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Joint commissioning for children’s palliative care

News and comment

Our resource is designed to support clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local authorities in England to effectively commission palliative care for children and young people aged 0–25. Produced as part of our Department for Education-funded special educational needs and disability (SEND) project, our resource also supports health and wellbeing boards to understand their role in the commissioning process.

There are currently over 40,000 children and young people in England with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. These children require support from a range of organisations spanning health and social care who offer dedicated services such as short breaks – which are addressed specifically in this resource. Short breaks help families recharge their batteries and take a break from caring around-the-clock, while their child’s needs are being met. If they are not effectively commissioned then families can reach breaking point.

The guide is consistent with the new SEND system and the joint commissioning duty in the Children and Families Act 2014. It sets out the duties on each body and what they should do to jointly commission children’s palliative care services. It also provides a step-by-step, which follows the established joint commissioning cycle, including advice for CCGs, local authorities and health and wellbeing boards on what they must and should do to:

  • establish the right local partnerships
  • understand how many children and young people they need to commission services for – and plan for what they need
  • create economies of scale
  • plan a local journey for children and young people with life-limiting conditions
  • ensure that services are provided jointly
  • fund children’s palliative care services in the context of the development palliative care funding currency
  • review services

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