This project aimed to build on existing or in-progress initiatives which the partners had begun developing prior to April 2015, and which are focused on improving the commissioning of specialist provision to support placements in independent and non-maintained special schools.
The South East Together Dynamic Purchasing System (SET DPS) project explored the feasibility of establishing a new regional DPS, an electronic procurement tool. This was done with a view to influencing overall value for money in future years, if implemented.
The project involved: scoping the feasibility of establishing a new regional DPS; developing an outcomes-based framework for commissioning; collecting more detailed financial information to better understand value for money in placements; and informing the review of the national contracts.
The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2016 found that overall, the evidence suggests that the project has achieved or partially achieved all the goals it had set itself for the first year. The exception to this was the revision of the national contracts, the timescales slipped. Whilst there are some challenges regarding this type of partnership working (see recommendations below), the evidence suggests that there is no technical reason why a regional (or national) DPS approach could not be implemented and expanded.