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Over the last year or so, with my colleague Richard Field, I have been working on our Asset Based Commissioning publication which is now available, from Bournemouth University as a free download     

 (215pp) and a digested read (11pp ). This has involved getting our heads around the diversity of asset-based practice and commissioning to develop practical analytical frameworks that capture their richness and enable further development. Hence as you read it, you will recognise many of the practice and commissioning innovations that you have, and continue to play a leading role in developing.  By bringing these, and others, together in one place we also hope to provide an easy way in which people, communities and organisations who are new to the asset-based approach can find their own feet and join with you and others in its further development. Below I provide a brief overview of the publication.


The publication     


Broken down into a number of sections the publication covers:


Asset-based practice


As you will be well aware, much of asset-based practice and commissioning has been developed in children’s services, health and social care. However we have deliberately adopted a wider scope to encompass the joint work of all people, communities, public service and other organisations that have, and seek to, improve economic, environmental and social outcomes.


We start by shop windowing some examples from four different, yet overlapping streams of asset-based practice, user-led organisations, personalisation, coproduction and community development. Analysing these developments we identify the portfolio of asset-based practice as encompassing individual and community level coproduction and both supported and autonomous self-help. Five principles underpin the portfolio:

      All assets – all people and communities have assets on which they can, and do, draw and build. The aim is to make best complementary use of these assets alongside those of organisations.

      Citizen driven – everyone is a citizen and has the right to self-determination. People and communities should be enabled to be equal decision-makers, alongside organisations, in the design of services and supports, choosing what works for them and producing outcomes

      Strong and inclusive communities – improve outcomes by providing practical help, information, emotional support, and opportunities to contribute.

      Whole life – people should be able to be in control of, and live, full and independent lives. Organisations should focus on whole lives and communities rather than on single or narrowly defined sector-specific outcomes. 

      Everyone – universal services, whether state funded, commercially or independently provided are essential to the daily life of everyone yet many are only designed for the ‘average citizen’.  To be truly inclusive it is essential that proper provision is made for the needs of everyone.


Asset-based Commissioning


We define asset-based commissioning as:


Enabling people and communities, together with organisations, to become equal co-commissioners and coproducers, and also via self-help, make best complementary use of all assets to improve whole life and community outcomes.


Asset-based commissioning is the latest model in the continuing development of commissioning. It both builds on and breaks away from the previous embryonic, outcomes focused and asset-aware models of commissioning. Its key features are:

  • ·         Focus – on whole life rather than sector outcomes and the use of all, not just organisational assets.
  • ·         How outcomes are perceived to be produced – by the combined efforts of people, communities and organisations not just organisations.
  • ·         Decision making - with people and communities having an equal say in all commissioning decisions.                                         
  • ·         Relationships – changing to make best use of the combined expertise of people, communities, service suppliers and commissioning organisations.
  • ·         Commissioning processes – supportive, effective and fast devolved decision-making.
  • ·         Stimulating and reshaping – of the actions and assets of people and communities as well as organisations.


The asset-based model is illustrated by drawing on examples of practice at the individual, community and wide-area levels of commissioning and the four main stages of the commissioning cycle.


Getting there


Making the shift from conventional to asset-based practice and commissioning will not be achieved overnight. The final section of the publication outlines approaches to making the shift, an audit tool and other supports to help people, communities and organisations to keep track of progress and plot their own ways forward.


We would welcome feedback from other network members on the publication.


Clive Miller –


Richard Field –

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