Service review and market analysis

An analysis of current and potential services and resources and the extent to which they are likely to meet future needs is essential for effective strategic commissioning. Market analysis can also help commissioners understand provider intentions in terms of growth or disinvestment.

A local market will consist of current and potential providers of services in different categories of care. Commissioners will be aware of the current services which organisations are providing but they may not be aware of the plans and future aspirations of those organisations. Similarly there may only be a limited idea about the potential for new organisations to be established or for organisations from elsewhere with the potential to work in a local area.

Service review

Performance, activity and utilisation data about current services can help to show whether services are:

  • well aligned with the needs of the population;
  • good value for money;
  • if there are significant risks of service failure;
  • the quality of services is good enough.

This information could be gathered via a range of methods:

  • Written questionnaires to existing and potential service providers to gather basic information;
  • Review of contracts, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) or grants;
  • Mapping services by factors such as geographical area, level of need, gender, race or age;
  • Finance and budget analysis and projection;
  • A detailed analysis of the experience of a small sample of service users by tracking their journeys through the care pathway between different services, to identify the extent to which services have been successful in meeting their needs;
  • Interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders to elicit information about their experience and perception of services;
  • Interviews and focus groups with service users and carers about what services they would buy for themselves if they had access to an individual budget;
  • Results of recent inspections, audits, complaints, self assessment and independent reviews;
  • Patient/service user satisfaction questionnaires or summaries of regular service user feedback.

Market analysis

An introduction to market facilitation is provided on this website; this sets out, in further detail, market analysis and related market facilitation activities.

A template for mapping the market can also help with the above activities.

It is useful to talk to providers about their future plans - what they may be interested in, or could be persuaded to provide, at what price and how valuable to your suppliers is your business? This will help you to clarify thinking about future service provision, and identify and manage risks in the supply of critical services.

Adult social care review in England: overview March 2014 The National Audit Office (NAO) with the Department of Health (DH) and Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) publishes statistics on the current system of Adult Social Care. It provides an overview of key facts and reviews the current system which is characterised by rising care needs with reduced spending and considers current pressures and system redesign.