Commissioning Community Navigator

28 Jul 2016

** Please note this article has been updated on 04/08/16 **

On 27th July we were joined by over 50 partners to learn more about the BAB Community Navigator Project and to start talking about how different models might work across the city. The Community Navigator Project is part of our Identify and Inform theme and will be a central point that will take referrals made by partners (and some of our case finding projects!) and start conversations with those people who are isolated and lonely. This project was created as part of our original bid because we identified that there were no coordinated means of identifying and supporting older people across Bristol. In our initial conversations with over 2,000 older people in Bristol, 14% of them thought that ‘more information about local activities’ was the best way of stopping older people getting lonely.

The workshop was led and facilitated by Alison Sleet from Hall Aitken (the Support and Development consultants employed by the Big Lottery Fund) who presented her findings around different models of Community Navigators across the UK. During the workshop, Alison presented two different models of Community Navigation and asked the attendees to begin to identify the key considerations for how a Community Navigator project could work in Bristol.  

The models discussed were from Cambridge and Dorset and both began as pilot projects, later gaining continuation funding from the local Council or CCG. Both models employed a core staff team to coordinate the project and provided bespoke support tailored to the individual older person. There were some differences in the models of delivery, with Dorset using a team of paid co-ordinators to provide signposting to older people. In Cambridge, a team of volunteers provided a signposting function to older people with paid co-ordinators providing additional assisted support to older people where required.

The afternoon provided an opportunity to begin considering which elements of existing navigator models would work in Bristol, and for organisations to begin to think about how they could collaboratively deliver a Community Navigator service in their region. There were fantastic discussions around the room identifying key issues for partners and things that BAB needed to consider before releasing the Invitation to Tender. One of the most important points was that while there will be three contracts, there are many more communities within those areas that may need different support. We made it clear to partners that we would be expecting consideration of this in their bids, identifying the different needs and how they proposed to address it.

BAB will launch its Invitation to Tender for the Community Navigator service on 1st September and there will be three contracts available (North/South/Central & East), each with a total budget for 3 years of £250,000. Each contract will be for 3 years duration and will start by 1st April 2017.

A full workshop write-up produced by Hall Aitken including feedback from the day is available to download here.

The Powerpoint slides and handouts from the workshops are also available to download:


Timescales for Commissioning:

  • 1st September 2016 – Invitation to Tender issued
  • 21st October 2016 – Clarification Questions Period ends
  • 31st October  2016 – Closing date for Applications
  • w/b  7th November – Evaluation Period
  • w/b 21st November – Interviews of Shortlisted Applicants
  • 1st December – Notification of Selected Providers
  • 1st April 2017 – Contract Start Date

All bid documents will be made available in the Open Applications section of the BAB website.

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