Strategic commissioning

Theme 8: To meet the needs of the population, local authorities are best equipped to work with the provider market, achieve the best outcomes for individuals, and do so in the most cost-effective way, when they have an effective strategic commissioning function.

The strategic commissioning function of a local authority provides the foundation for meeting the needs of the population. Optimised functions work to a well-articulated strategy, with clear objectives, built on an understanding of the local and national context, regulation, existing policy, and political priorities.

Key findings:

  • At the heart of the optimal strategic commissioning function is analysis of the population’s actual needs – based on a detailed understanding of residents’ individual strengths and needs in an unconstrained environment, suspending the context of what services are currently provided.
  • Optimised functions work collaboratively with other local commissioning partners such as CCGs.
  • Strategic commissioners go beyond just consulting with current providers, people and practitioners to a process of co-design, where these stakeholders are actively involved and engaged in the process.
  • Strategic commissioners actively work to maintain a healthy thriving market. Alongside value for money, they also recognise the need for sustainable profits.
  • Optimised authorities recognise their role in actively developing the market to be able to deliver the provision their population requires. 
  • Optimised functions have live data and evidence driving the commissioning continuous improvement cycle.