Advice on relational commissioning

Social Sector Commissioning Hub, Ministry of Social Development2023

How can social service contracts better reflect and implement a relational approach? This was the guiding question driving this piece of work conducted by FrankAdvice for the Social Sector Commissioning Hub located within the Ministry of Social Development.

FrankAdvice scanned academic and grey literature, and interviewed officials working in legal, procurement and service delivery teams across the social sector. We used this information to identify the key ingredients of a relational contract. We then analysed the status quo against the proposed future state for social service contracts, allowing us to provide advice on what was needed to implement the ingredients across the public service. This advice considered what had worked well and not so well in previous contracts, what support would need to be in place for the contractual terms to have the desired effect, and what could help public service agencies make changes (e.g., templates and guidance).

This piece of work required the FrankAdvice team to rapidly understand a new policy area, engage effectively with key sector representatives and conduct detailed analyses of a complex issue.

This work was part of implementing the Social Sector Commissioning Action Plan 2022-2028, see: