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Service Specification Guidance

This guidance includes the key sections and details your service specification should
contain. Red text details what you should cover.
1. Aim of the <service>
Why is the service being provided?
Describe the local analysis of needs to evidence the above, including
reference to specific groups if appropriate eg disabled C&YP, boys/girls,
minority ethnic groups.
What involvement of C&YP in identifying needs has there been, including
if appropriate those from specific groups (who may have specific or
additional needs)?
What do you hope to achieve and how?
Describe the background of the service, is it new or existing?
What will the noticeable impact be?
Briefly cover who the service will be provided for, how they are referred
and/or access the service, and how long the involvement is expected to
last (this gets covered in more detail later on). How will this be managed?
What are the overall outcomes that the service will contribute to? (refer to
Somerset Children and Young Peoples Plan 2009-2011 and Local Area
Agreement). Outputs expected to achieve this outcome also need to be
Describe the agreed principles or values underpinning the service.
2. Service Scope
Who will the service be provided to? Age, disability, boys/girls, minority
ethnic groups, specified need, relate to other work e.g. escalated beyond
a level.
Where do referrals come from/how is it accessed and what is the process
for this?
What will the service include, how will it be delivered (e.g. one-on-one or
What elements of partnership working will there be?
If the service relates specifically to direct delivery to children and young
people/parents then the following must also be addressed:
What assessments/documentation will be provided? e.g. Common
Assessment Framework.
What tier is the service working at, and which services are in the tiers
either side? Describe the relationship between them.
3. Application of Resources

How is work to be divided over the geographical area and how will this be
managed and co-ordinated?
How many service users do you expect there to be and how many is this
per area?
Are caseloads/involvement time limited and if so then for how long? If
not, what will signify the end of a case/involvement?
How much engagement is there after a closed case?
Is there a further role in training or supporting partners?
Detail expected partnership links.

4. Engagement of Service Users

How do people find out about the service? Detail the referral
pathway/access process. What provision will there be to reach out to
groups who may not hear about the service through standard channels?
What provision will there be to support communication with people who
have limited literacy, fluency in English or need information in different
formats or languages?
How will it be promoted or marketed?
Which agencies are expected to be the key referrers? Can service users
or parents self refer?
Do service users have a choice as to whether they use the service, or is it
5. Exits and Opportunities to Re-engage
Detail how service users will exit the service, in the case of end of
successful programme or escalating to next level.
Is it time limited or dependent upon reaching a certain level/tier/threshold?
How are these levels defined?
What happens to the service user after leaving the service is there a
follow up or referrals to other agencies?
6. Staff Support and Review
Detail specifics required in staff training and induction legal requirements
or good practice elements. Specify staffing levels, training qualifications
and experience expected. State your requirements for the management
of staff e.g. professional supervision and HR/employment standards.
Include continuous supervision and training and not just entry level
What policies and procedures do you expect to be in place?
How will complaints, compliments and user involvement be promoted and
How will equality and diversity in employment be demonstrated? What
procedures are needed to ensure fairness in recruitment and management
of staff?

How will safeguarding be ensured?

Specify required compliance with local or national service standards and

7. Information Management, Monitoring and Service Review

Specify who needs to give the information to whom.
How will success be measured?
What are you asking for in terms of service review, and how frequently?
Include required attendance at meetings and any other appropriate
monitoring arrangement e.g. spot checks. Specific content e.g. data can
be mentioned in an appendix.
The County Council has a legal duty to promote equality of opportunity
through work it commissions. What measures will need to be broken
down by gender, ethnicity, disability or other factors in order to judge this
(this might include participation and outcomes data, or feedback from
service users)?
What requirements are there for significant complaints or cases of legal
action (taken against the provider after contracts are issued) to be
This is where you tell the providers what you are measuring them on.
Make sure the clear service based outcomes link back to Somerset
Children and Young Peoples Plan 2009-2011 and Local Area Agreement
objectives, and make reference to this.
8. Glossary of Terms
What do you need to clarify here, to ensure all understand the same terms? Also
include commonly referred to acronyms.

Service what you are commissioning

Service Users who is using the service
Provider who is delivering the service
Lead Officer contact point in the service
Commissioners you!! Somerset County Council based team .