General Principles and Checklist for Decommissioning
The following is a set of principles on which to base any decision to decommission.
Many decisions will be signicantly inuenced by nancial constraints but the interests
of service users, staff and partners must be taken into account and prioritised during
any decommissioning process.
Transparency and fairness – there should be transparency in the decision-making
process, with fairness in the approach to all stakeholders. It should be absolutely
clear why a decision has been taken to decommission a particular service, and
this needs to be understood and shared by all stakeholders. Equally, there should
be fairness in the way stakeholders are treated, whether this is between different
providers or different service users.
Users – safeguarding the welfare of service users must be a key priority
throughout any decommissioning process. Decommissioning a service should
not remove essential or important provision from any existing user. The interests
of service users should be protected throughout the decommissioning process,
to ensure that ongoing support and care needs are addressed appropriately.
Staff – providers have a responsibility to ensure that the decommissioning process
is transparent and that the welfare of staff involved in providing the service is
protected through proper consultation between the service provider and the
commission authority.
Value for money – the purpose of decommissioning services will be to ensure
that health and social care and other services most effectively meet the needs
of vulnerable people, are of the best quality and offer value for money.
Risk management – there should be clarity about the risks involved in the
process and the approach being taken to manage these risks.
Partnership – relevant agencies/services to work with all stakeholders to achieve
a smooth transition, with particular regard for service users and staff.
Communication – a sound communications strategy will help to ensure that the
process of decommissioning is ultimately successful through the full engagement
of users, staff, elected members, providers and the media where appropriate
People’s Needs Defining Change Health Services Change Guide
Decommissioning Checklist
A Prepare Yes No
1 Is there a decommissioning policy and/or guidelines for
decommissioning in your organisation?
2 Is this policy/guideline recent, and does it have both
corporate and political support?
3 Does it include:
decision-making processes?
risk assessment and management?
appropriate project management?
communication plans?
adequate resources?
4 Do service contracts allow for potential decommissioning
5 Is there regular engagement with providers, which includes
the discussion of the decommissioning policy?
6 Is there ongoing performance management of contracts with
proactive approaches to reviewing and improving services?
7 Are there well-publicised communication mechanisms and
consultation structures in place? Are these accessible for all
stakeholder groups?
8 Is there an approved approach to risk assessment and
management, and to carrying out impact assessments?
B Decide Yes No
1 Is it clear what the issues are with the service that is being
2 Is there a good understanding of the needs and aspirations
of current and potential service users?
3 Has there been a thorough consideration of all of the options
for the service? Have all of the potential service models
been researched and considered? Is it clear how this service
ts with local and national policy drivers?
4 Is it clear what resources are available to meet this
need, and whether any resources released through
decommissioning can be recycled into any recongured
5 Have all of the key stakeholders been identied and is it
clear what their role will be in the decision process? When
will they be involved, and how will they be involved?
6 Has the contract for the service been reviewed, and does it
create any particular issues for potential decommissioning?
People’s Needs Defining Change Health Services Change Guide
General Principles and Checklist for Decommissioning (continued)
C “Do” Yes No
1 Is there a project plan which clearly describes the scope of
the project? Would it be more deliverable if it were broken
down into smaller projects?
2 Has a lead ofcer or project manager been identied who
has access to support as needed?
3 Does the project plan include clear milestones which t with
stakeholder decision-making structures, and does it allow
time for effective communication? Is there scope for some
exibility within it?
4 Is it clear what the legal requirements for the process are,
and how they will impact on timescales in particular?
5 Is there a clear communication plan which includes
all stakeholders? Are messages tailored for particular
6 Is there ownership of the project plan, both corporately and
7 Does the project plan allow for an impact assessment and a
risk assessment (if not already completed)?
8 Are there clear transitional arrangements for service users
which have been agreed with the provider, and which
minimise impact on service users? Do these include
proposed timescales, ongoing communication arrangements
and an agreed approach to the sharing of information?
D Review Yes No
1 Is there an agreed approach to the evaluation of the
decommissioning process?
2 Does this evaluation process include other stakeholders?
3 Is there a mechanism for sharing any learning from this
evaluation process?
Adapted from: Institute of Public Care – Oxford Brookes University (2010: 4, 18, 19)
People’s Needs Defining Change – Health Services Change Guide
People’s Needs Defining Change Health Services Change Guide
General Principles and Checklist for Decommissioning (continued)
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