Joint commissioning in health and social care: an exploration of definitions, processes, services and outcomes

Document type
Dickinson, Helen; Glasby, Jon; Nicholds, Alyson
NIHR Health Services Research and Delivery Programme
Date of publication
1 January 2013
Social Work, Social Care and Social Services, Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

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It has long been suggested that it is important that public sector organisations work together more effectively with one another in order to deliver the best possible services for local populations. In recent years this notion of partnership working has been particularly stressed in terms of the joint commissioning of services. Commissioning is the activity which involves deciding what kinds of services should be provided to local populations, who should provide them and how they should be paid for. The concept of joint commissioning is used here to describe the ways in which health and social care agencies work together to determine these factors. Despite the recent interest in joint commissioning there is very little robust evidence available which describes either the processes (what happens in practice) or provides clear messages about outcomes (the types of impacts) which it produces. This project built on previous experience of evaluating public sector collaborative activities to investigate the ways in which joint commissioning operated around the country and the types of outcomes these processes produced for service users and local populations. The approach incorporated a wide range of stakeholders, but in particular front-line staff members and service users within the case study areas which is a factor which has often been lacking in previous evaluations.The project aimed to produce practical knowledge about the types of joint commissioning activities which are taking place in England and the outcomes this produces - with the aim that these practical lessons may provide useful learning for other health and social care communities.

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