The Cost consequence tool project report presents a series of influence diagrams that relate to some possible scenarios that commissioners and providers may want to consider. The aim of these influence diagrams is not to provide an answer as to whether a particular scenario or combination of scenarios should be implemented, but rather to instigate consideration and discussion of the wider aspects of implementing a change. By depicting the influences in this way, we are able to see a system-wide view, which allows consideration of more wider-reaching effects of changes. This effect is analogous to squeezing a balloon in one place and being able to predict where the balloon will bulge as a consequence.
The scenarios included in the Cost consequence tool project report are not meant to be exhaustive, and indeed there may be other influences that have been missed. Indeed many of the influences associated with some of these scenarios, such as service users becoming a more integrated and productive member of society, and the associated impact on the benefits system are outside the scope of these models – but are no less important than those included in the models. These models were designed for commissioners and providers to consider costs under their control and as such they do provide a starting point for discussion between interested parties.
These scenarios can be used as a discussion aid without the model, or can be used in conjunction with the model to actually see the impact in monetary or numerical terms. It must be stated though that the ‘strength’ of these links within the models is often unknown, so the model itself is more useful to consider questions such as “how big an impact does this intervention need to make to results in cost- savings?”