Contracts for voluntary organisations providing social care services

Contracts for voluntary organisations providing social care services


In addition to the services that it provides directly, Health and Social Care (HSC) purchases a wide range of services that are provided by private, independent and voluntary/community sector organisations (3rd Sector).

We have moved from providing annual/rolling grants to voluntary organisations, to the commissioning of services that result in clear measurable outcomes for the users of those services. 

Contracts will be awarded to organisations providing information and advice, and preventative services that people can directly access without an assessment.

The introduction of personalisation, where people are given more choice and control over the services they access through personal budgets and direct payments, provides opportunities for the voluntary sector to support people through the delivery of flexible, innovative services which people can purchased individually after a social care assessment.

This page contains information for social care providers about our Service Agreements (contracts), important documents to download and links to other relevant websites.

The Service Agreement

The Service Agreement is the formal and legally enforceable document that defines the relationship between the city council and a voluntary organisation funded to provide preventative social care services, as a block contract. 

The two types of Service Agreement reflect the level of funding of the contract:

  • 'Service Agreement' which is for groups and organisations receiving less than £15,000 per annum from HSC.
  • 'Record of Service Agreement' (RSA) which is the more formal document representing the contract with organisations providing services over £15,000 per annum.

Each of these agreements has two parts:

Part One

Part One specifies the service(s) being commissioned, the criteria for service use, the outcomes and outputs expected, as well as the finance/budgets for it.

Part Two

Part Two defines mutual expectations between the council and the provider organisation. It clearly sets out the 'baseline standards' that are expected of an organisation; the monitoring arrangements; equalities implementation and monitoring; governance: finance, management etc.

HSC's Service Agreement/RSA Part Two documents:

SA for organisations receiving less than £15,000 a year (pdf, 135 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 135KB) (opens new window)

RSA for organisations receiving more than £15,000 a year (pdf, 350 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 350KB) (opens new window)

Community Service Support contract

The Community Service Support contract reflects the relationship between city council and a voluntary organisation funded on a 'spot purchase' or individual basis, which are not funded as a block contract.

Community Service Support Contract (pdf, 456 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 457KB) (opens new window)

Related documents

Bristol City Council's Commissioning Intentions (pdf, 67KB) (opens new window)

HSC's CRB guidance (pdf, 17 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 18KB) (opens new window)

HSC's training charging policy (link to the training page)

"A Method for Implementing Outcome Based Commissioning & Contracting": by the Institute for Public Care (pdf, 58 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 58KB) (opens new window)

The Audit Commission: "Hearts and Minds" – summary version (pdf, 74 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 74KB) (opens new window)

Related links

Pay for care and support

Links to useful national resources

National Council for Voluntary Services (NCVO)

Links to local 3rd sector infrastructure organisations


Black Development Agency (BDA)

Social Enterprise Works

The Care Forum

Volunteer Bristol

Pro Help

Other local organisations and resources

Avon & Bristol Law Centre

Well Aware