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Qualitative study investigating the commissioning process for older people's services provided by third sector organisations: SOPRANO study protocol
  1. Gina Sands1,
  2. Neil Chadborn1,
  3. Chris Craig1,
  4. John Gladman2
  1. 1NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East Midlands (CLAHRC EM), Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gina Sands; Gina.Sands{at}


Introduction The commissioning of third sector services for older people may influence the quality, availability and coordination of services for older people. The SOPRANO study aims to understand the relationships between and processes of commissioning bodies and third sector organisations providing health and social care services for older people.

Methods and analysis This qualitative study will be based in the East Midlands region of England. An initial scoping survey of commissioners will give an overview of services to maintain the health and well-being of older people in the community that are commissioned. Following this, semistructured interviews will be conducted with 4 sample groups: health and social care commissioners, service provider managers, service provider case workers and older service users. A sample size of 10–15 participants in each of the 4 groups is expected to be sufficient to reach data saturation, resulting in a final expected sample size of 40–60 participants. Informed consent will be gained from all participants, and those unable to provide informed consent will be excluded. The interview data will be analysed by 2 researchers using framework content analysis.

Ethics and dissemination Approval for the study has been gained from the University of Nottingham School of Medicine ethical review board, and the relevant approvals have been gained from the National Health Service (NHS) research and development departments for interviewing NHS staff. Early engagement with a wide range of stakeholders will ensure that the research findings are extensively disseminated to relevant stakeholders (including commissioners and third sector providers) in an accessible format using the extensive communication networks available to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care CLAHRCs (applied health research organisations covering all of England). The study will also be disseminated through academic routes such as conference presentations and journal papers.

  • Older adults
  • Third sector
  • Voluntary
  • Service Provision
  • CVS
  • Commissioning

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

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