This page is part of our decommissioning toolkit.

The table outlines what good practice should look like in some of the key areas relating to planning decommissioning. It then identifies the risks of not following this good practice and looks at how these risks might be mitigated or what actions commissioners can take when the timeframe is very tight and good practice is difficult to achieve.

Good practiceRisks of not following good practiceMitigating these risks
Identifying the key stakeholders and leaders/champions for change
  • Even if the right agencies and organisations have been notified, there will be key individuals who can either make things happen faster, or slow down the process. If not fully involved early on, this may delay the implementation of the decision.
  • List all of the agencies, departments and groups of stakeholders that will in some way be impacted by the decision to decommission.
  • Contact the key individuals early on and ensure they are fully on board with the proposals.
Starting the dialogue about the need for change early on
  • Decisions made in isolation and not holistically across organisations and sectors.
  • Other stakeholders and decisions makers may not sign up to the option chosen leading to delays.
  • Contact these groups of people early on – even if the decision cannot be changed, advance warning is crucial to avoid delays later on.
Options appraisal carried out
  • Decommissioning a service is only one option – if others are not considered it may lead to the wrong decision being made and result in poor value for money through inappropriate or inefficient services.
  • Stakeholders may feel that decommissioning is not evidence based and not thought through.
  • There are a few decision trees that are available for commissioners to use when considering decommissioning.
A thorough assessment of all of the options, involving users and providers and considering the impacts on them, the community and the commissioning organisation
  • The best option is not chosen leading to ineffective decommissioning and worse outcomes in the long term.
  • Particularly vulnerable groups may be disproportionately affected by a particular approach, and this is not taken into account leading to further inequalities in outcomes.
  • Carry out an EIA on all of the options being considered, which goes beyond more than a ‘tick-box’exercise.
  • Take advice on the equality impacts from e.g. a lawyer or equalities expert.
Decision making process is clear, as are reasons for decommissioning
  • Unclear rational can lead to confusion over objectives.
  • Stakeholders may feel they are being‘hoodwinked’.
  • Reputational damage.
  • Outline roles and responsibilities to stakeholders such as who does what.
  • Be clear on the rational for decommissioning.
Clarity about why change is needed – the drivers for decommissioning
  • Providers and users challenge decisions.
  • Undermining of future relationships with users and providers.
  • No buy in to decommissioning decision and process.
  • Share the business case documentation with providers early on.
  • Ensure third sector organisations (TSOs) are fully aware of all aspects of your review of current services, even if that does not change the decision made.
A range of clear plans for communications, implementation, transition and project/change management
  • The decommissioning process fails or is delayed.
  • There is discontinuity for users in the service during or after the decommissioning process.
  • Poor communication leads to mistrust and confusion over roles.
  • Ensure there is at a minimum one integrated plan or protocol for the decommissioning process that will outline key objectives and milestones.

Table of contents

Decommissioning toolkit: Table of contents

Previous page

Risk assessment

Next page

Carrying out decommissioning