What is strategic commissioning?

Strategic commissioning is the main process for understanding, planning and delivering better health and wellbeing outcomes, but it is recognised that a substantial amount of work can be needed to deliver this process effectively. Strategic commissioning is embodied in legislation and public policy; in some services a strategic commissioning model has been in place for many years.

Well-planned strategic commissioning offers the opportunity to increase the value and financial sustainability of care by making the most effective use of available resources and the most efficient and consistent delivery. This ensures that the balance of resource is spent where it achieves the most, and focuses on prevention and early intervention.

The process of strategic commissioning can often prove challenging. Several national audit reports in recent years have highlighted deficits in local strategic commissioning capacity. The materials collated here provide a point of reference and practical support to Partnerships in addressing the demands of strategic commissioning. They are based round the Strategic Commissioning Cycle of analyse, plan, do and review.


The strategic commissioning cycle

Very often, commissioning is described as a cyclical process. The Institute of Public Care’s model describes both commissioning and associated procurement and contract management activities – thereby making the links between asking ‘what do we want?’ and ‘how do we get it?’.


Why is strategic commissioning important?

A number of national audit reports in recent years have highlighted continuing deficits in local strategic commissioning capacity. The impact of this deficit is that resources and investment are not closely aligned with delivering improved outcomes and that models of care and support continue to reflect a lack of sufficient investment in community based preventative measures.