Cornwall Commissioning Academy - Site Visit to Suffolk

Day two of the Cornwall Commissioning Academy programme was a trip to Suffolk for participants to learn from the new ways working being developed in the county.

28 people attended, all involved with commissioning in public sector organisations. The academy is a national, Cabinet Office sponsored development programme, which in Cornwall involves senior commissioners from the Council, NHS, DWP and police, working together to improve collaboration, shape service design and manage markets.

The trip firstly looked at Suffolk’s approach to place-based working in the market town of Sudbury. There were also presentations on the strategy and approach within Suffolk that ties everything together and hopefully enables people to collaborate outside of their organisational boundaries. The final session was looking at Suffolk’s approach to localism, which they have renamed ‘community resilience’ and have driven from within Public Health.

Suffolk was chosen for its pioneering work and its broad similarities to the population and geography of Cornwall, although it has a two-tier local government, with county and borough/district councils.

Learning points

  • There were similar initiatives to Cornwall (some less advanced, some more so),

  • There appeared to many of the visitors to be a distinct coherence in approach from one scheme to the next, tying them together

  • Public health for Suffolk is a key driver for change (which is about culture change).

  • Importance of co-location, where digital systems won’t communicate.

  • Set of principles to tie joint working together, derived from the front-line and influencing recruitment/induction/appraisal, and commissioning. All owned by Health and Wellbeing Board.

  • Innovative use of rotational apprenticeships to build systems knowledge, albeit as yet on a small scale, with plans to increase.

  • Localism reframed as ‘community resilience’ – build assets to reduce demand.

  • Establishment of integrated neighbourhood teams for populations of around 50,000.

  • Interlocking strategies and policies.

  • Fuzzy boundaries, not everything has to fit together perfectly.

  • System navigation for residents, e.g. Local Area Co-ordinators using everyday language.

  • They recognised the huge potential of evidence and innovative use of data to help underpin practice.

  • Sustained and substantial investment of time and energy in integration and relationships.

The Cornwall Commissioning Academy comprises six sessions, which run until November.

So how are the VCSE going to be involved? 

  • Cornwall is one of a number of Academies being supported by the Public Services Transformation Network. If you want to join the current commissioning academies discussions online then here is the link:

  • Day 3 of the Cornwall Academy in September is focused on working better with providers.Andrew Green, the elected voluntary sector representative on the TCA Programme Board has been invited to be part of a panel of providers for this session.If you want to feed into Andrew’s comments for this session please contact Mark Richardson on





Security level: Public

More Blog Entries

Cornwall Commissioning Academy

As part of our project looking at learning for commissioners, we held the first session of the...