Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Week 3: Sequins & Values-based Commissioning

I wrote previously about CQUINs (pronounced: ‘see-kwin’) on Day 38 of my 100 day blog, but this post really is about sequins (partly)!  Watching the Winter Olympic Ice Dance with my wife, brother-in-law and sister-in-law we were a little perplexed by the scoring system.  A simple question arising of: “what’s the maximum possible score” led to furious Googling and unsuccessful efforts to find a straight answer to this seemingly simple question.  With no assistance offered by the commentators and not to be defeated, I eventually found the International Skating Union website and their “Special Regulations & Technical Rules: Single & Pair Skating And Ice Dance 2012”.  Buried deep within multiple sections of this 169 page document it states that there are nine judges on an Olympic judging panel and each may award up to 10 points; therefore, a maximum total score of 90 is available for the short programme.

Through searching for the answer to a relatively simple question, I came across a cloud of technical detail and complexity.  This reminded me of the NHS Standard Contract.  For which annual negotiations with providers are currently in full swing.  Although we already have providers in place for the services we are responsible for, there is an annual process of agreeing some significant elements to reflect changes in our local requirements and nationally mandated priorities.  The full technical requirements are within the NHS Standard Contract, which itself runs to 210 pages in template form.

Annual negotiations centre on the detail of what is important to local people who use the services and any particular issues that may have arisen in the last year not specified previously and which require specifying in the contract.  This all adds up to a lot of complexity and much debate over the detail between commissioners and providers.  Where more than one commissioner or provider is involved this can get even more complicated.  What is missing from this process is an explicit application of values to underpin decisions.

I fully understand that within the NHS ‘internal market’ between commissioners and providers and for many legal reasons, a lot of the technical detail is necessary.  I also understand that this is borne out of how the ‘system’ has been set up and how regulators, such as Monitor and NHS England require the process to take place.

It’s probably too late in the process for this year’s annual contract negotiation process between commissioners and providers, but in future years, it should be possible for us to start by establishing shared values for use throughout negotiations.  The intention being not to have a big stick to beat each other with, but a simple reminder of why we’re doing it before we get too lost in the technical detail.  This is important as an important element of making change across organisational boundaries is to ensure a shared vision and common set of values.

Finally, it is worth noting that rule 353.1.m.ii of the ISU Special Regulations & Technical Rules states: a deduction up to -1.0 point may be made if part of the costume/decoration (including sequins) falls on the ice.

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