Commissioning services externally

Where local authorities engage external third parties to provide the service.

Through several policies and programmes, including the Department of Communities and Local Government's Our Place and Delivering Differently, Public Service Transformation Network and the Commissioning Academy, the UK government is supporting local commissioners to design and implement commissioning models. Drawing on these programmes, together with other examples of excellent and innovative commissioning, they have gathered together emerging exemplars of commissioning practice with the aim of inspiring and assisting other commissioners in their public service transformation.

These case studies reflect different commissioning scopes, from local authority through to neighbourhood level, across a breadth of services ranging from public health, mental health, adult social care and early intervention with families who have complex needs, through to preventing re-offending, domestic violence and transferring assets (parks and libraries) into community ownership.

New research published by Local Partnerships suggests that a commissioning approach is genuinely challenging the established forms of delivery, but that local authorities have yet to develop a holistic and mature approach to market engagement. The research, based on interviews carried out with chief executives and heads of commissioning in more than 15 local authorities across England, finds that commissioning practice is rooted in challenge and change.

  • Commissioning top tips