There can be many technical aspects to carrying out decommissioning include workforce considerations, ending of contracts, finances etc. It is important to get professional advice early on in the process, especially because the process of decommissioning can take place very quickly and there may not be time to bring in expert support once things have already begun.
Having expert support on board can also be important in highlighting the range of options open to commissioners regarding common stumbling blocks, such as Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE). Our research highlighted the concerns that most commissioners and providers had over TUPE and how to ensure that it did not become a significant obstacle to achieving change.
A transition or implementation group (with a clear rationale for membership) can be helpful, as it allows the strategic direction of decommissioning to be maintained whilst individual officers focus on the detail.
Infrastructure bodies can act as an important source of support for providers during the decommissioning process. This can be of benefit to commissioners, too. There are examples of local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) groups supporting providers who are anxious about impending decommissioning decisions or are panicked at receiving a notice of termination. Infrastructure organisations may be able to provide advice, perhaps clarifying legal or procedural issues, or supporting two providers going through a TUPE transfer. They can also support the transition process by facilitating dialogue between commissioners and providers.