What Is Commissioning & How Is It Different to Procurement?

A brief introduction to Commissioning and Procurement

Commissioning is buying services for the public rather than an organisation, it is a defined approach to planning and resourcing public services.

Cabinet Office 2011 describes it as The cycle of assessing the needs of the people in an area, designing and then achieving appropriate outcomes. The service may be delivered by the public, private or civil society sectors.

Procurement is not commissioning. In this instance procurement is an element and specific part of the commissioning process.

i,e the procurement process will help appoint a supplier to carry out services

negotiate the best deal to ensure value for money

Monitor contract performance to ensure that it’s running effectively

Commissioning is useful when:

  •  Competition exists and suppliers want to provide their services
  • There is a compelling need for change
  • Change needs to be managed and should not be left to market forces

A procurement exercise to acquire goods and services is a key part in securing local services. Procurement strategy is driven by intelligence gathered in a commissioning strategy and can support in the following ways:

  • Invitation to Tender
  • Develop a robust SLA
  • Appoint a supplier to manage grants
  • Appoint voluntary organisations to do outreach work
  • Set up framework contracts to provide services for individuals at fixed rates

Writing a strategy

  1. Describe how you are going to effect change to meet the needs of the population
  2. Specify the outcome, the desired results
  3. Define the output
  4. Agree on ways of working
  5. Agree on inputs and resources required to deliver
  6. Write a business case
  7. Undertake a cost-benefit appraisal
  8. Write a market position statement to bring together data from the joint strategic needs assessment,  strategies, market, customer surveys into a single document.

This is a brief introduction on how commissioning differs from procurement if you need more information the Institute of Public Care is a good starting point.