Understanding contractual and other obligations is important when considering service change and commissioners should seek advice as early as possible from relevant technical experts including HR, financial, procurement and legal advisors.
For example, the terms of a contract may restrict the approaches a commissioner can take without heavy financial penalties. Other contractual issues such as buildings leases may also be a major factor in the decision- making process. A contract for a service may be close to ending anyway and this could have implications for timescales. And, as our research highlighted, there may be significant TUPE or staff pensions and redundancy implications for any decommissioning process.
Getting technical expert advice early on will reduce the risks to the decommissioning process and save time and resources in the long term. It may also flag up potential issues that need more consideration or time to work through.