Community services represent over £10 billion of NHS expenditure and play a key role in supporting service users at home and reducing unnecessary hospital admissions. The Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View highlights the importance of close working with community services, with an aim to free up capacity in 2,000-3,000 hospital beds over the next two years. Despite this policy intention, The Nuffield Trust reports that funding given to NHS Trusts for community services fell by 4% last year. An NHS priority over the next 10 years is to help older people stay healthy and live independently in their communities, with a move towards more integrated care for this cohort. Community services provision is expected to play an important part in the NHS Long Term Plan.
National data on community services is currently limited and the Network’s Community Services project aims to fill this information gap, taking a view across all aspects of service provision including access, activity, workforce, finance and quality metrics. The project provides a detailed view of 26 different community services.
The service definitions for the 26 services included in the project can be found here.
Integrated Sexual Health Services
Occupational Therapy (Adult)
Occupational Therapy (Children)
Respiratory Community Team
Speech & Language Therapy (Adult)
Speech & Language Therapy (Child)
Cardiac Community Team
Children's Community Nursing
Community / District Nursing
Community Integrated Care Teams
Continence Community Team
Diabetes Community Team (Adult)
End of Life Community Team
This project is for all providers of community services. Subscribing members will receive:
An interactive online toolkit, allowing you to benchmark your service across hundreds of metrics
A bespoke dashboard report outlining key metrics, and highlighting your reported positions
A high-level report outlining key messages nationally
A good practice compendium of information supplied by member participants
Free attendance at annual conferences, accessing presentations on project key findings, from national policy leads and members
Good practice case studies on how members use the benchmarking to improve service delivery
2018/19 Benchmarking Project
71 community service providers participated in the project this year and registered 134 submissions. Participation included England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
2019/20 Benchmarking Project
The Community Services project is running in the Network’s 2019/20 work programme, collecting 2018/19 data.