Tusla has developed a Commissioning Strategy defined as the process of deciding how to use the total resources available for children and families in order to improve outcomes in the most efficient, effective, equitable, proportionate and sustainable way. The definition deliberately goes beyond mere financial efficiency to include reference to effectiveness, equity, proportionality and sustainability. This is intended to accommodate the need for a social return on investment as well as considering cost efficiency.  Tusla’s commissioning actions focus internally, on its externally funded services, and on leveraging funding of its partner agencies towards common goals for children. This area of the Mainstreaming Programme will be core to achieving the overall, long-term intended outcomes of the programme.

Activities under this component of the Mainstreaming Programme include:

  • Developing and implementing training on commissioning
  • Providing technical assistance to develop annual commissioning plans at local, regional and national level
  • Measuring  progress in commissioning through national audits, against agreed baseline audit by UCFRC

The primary intended outcome is that Tusla’s service commissioning is increasingly rigorous and evidence-informed and privileges prevention and early intervention. 

As outlined above, the overarching question in this Work Package is:

Is service commissioning rigorous and evidence-informed?; does it privilege prevention and early intervention?

More specific questions flowing from this overarching question focus on understanding in more detail current processes, establishing the value of actions towards increasing capacity in commissioning and mapping the changes emerging from new commissioning practices.  Methods will cluster around documentary analysis and interviews with key stakeholders, both within and external to Tusla.  One key method / source will be replicating the audit of spending on prevention and family support undertaken as part of pre-development work for the Mainstreaming Programme.

 The Work Package leads on commissioning are:

Academic Staff: Dr. John Canavan,   Dr. Aileen Shaw            
Doctoral Scholar: Mr. Brendan Connolly¬†


Shaw, A. and Canavan, J. (2017) Introducing Commissioning in Ireland: Establishing a Baseline. Galway: The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Shaw. A. and Canavan, J. (2016) Commissioning in Ireland: Exploring the Landscape for Child and Family Services: A Literature Review. Galway: The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway.