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Commissioner development - towards informing a strategy

Needs assessment, assessment tool, learning directory | April 2009

This report and the associated products and tools described in it are intended to provide the NHS and local authorities in the North West with the information they need to form a regional strategy for commissioner development in health and social care.

Within the context of the modern commissioning environment, and particularly the aspirations of World Class Commissioning (WCC), the study identifies ways agencies could improve the number and quality of recruits, enhance the commissioning skills of existing staff and, through a unified regional approach, help shape the educational and training market to meet local commissioning needs.

The study describes the construction and piloting of a needs assessment tool built round the commissioning competencies set out in WCC, but modified to broaden its application beyond its NHS origins. Assessments from six local authority and PCT pilot sites across the North West are scrutinised and, from 12 designated skill sections, areas of greatest training need are identified, such as managing knowledge and assessing need, and market stimulation.

Education and training provision is then surveyed, and the study describes the construction and application of a Learning Directory that provides a searchable alphabetical listing of course titles, content, location, supplier and validating institution.

The study identifies main areas of unmet need and suggests possible solutions for improving commissioning standards, including:

  • Negotiating with higher education providers over future course provision;
  • Reviewing internal recruitment materials and processes; and
  • Maximising NHS and local authority purchasing power in the education/training market by working together as a sector.