Service specification

This section will provide examples of how to develop clear specification to achieve quality services. Service specifications define the desired outcomes and outputs, rather than details of how the service should be provided. Monitored objectives should be linked to outcomes with achievability the key to success.


From Vale of York CCG:

“Vale of York CCG have successfully undergone the process of developing a service specification and suggest the following steps:

1. Agree the process, ownership and requirement for collaboration which:

  • Sets the scope, i.e. identifies a route map that will achieve the overall aim of the specification; and
  • Identifies the parameters for any future collaborative working – setting the ground rules whereby partners can hold each other to account.

2. Outcomes need to be measurable and achievable – achievability is a key element to the success of  implementing specification:

  • Outcomes need to be achievable and have the ability to be measured in order to reflect progress and ultimate success. They also need to have their baseline recorded at the start of any implementation stage.
  • Without measurability, the success of implementation won’t be identified; and
  • Lack of success will also allow any gaps in service to be quickly identified and addressed.

3. Objectives are what need to be done to achieve the outcome

  • Essentially, objectives are the practical steps that can be put in place to achieve outcomes and overall aim of the specification; and
  • It’s essential that objectives are linked to outcomes – something that the national template does not necessarily encourage.

Key points:

  • Get agreement that all parties truly want to work towards developing changes to the service concerns.
  • Work to a set timetable e.g. aim to have specification finished within a 3 meeting approach; and
  • From the start all partners need to be as transparent and honest as possible – it might be the case that the first meeting is mainly used to bring any issues and/or problems out in the open. This is one reason why the first meeting can sometimes seem frustrating in terms of progress.”

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