NHS England publishes generic commissioning policies

NHS England has published a number of interim generic policies, ensuring fair and consistent decision-making across its direct commissioning function.

The 14 policies cover all aspects of NHS England’s direct commissioning responsibilities including specialised services, primary care, screening, military and offender health.

The policies, agreed by the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (CPAG), set out NHS England’s approach on a variety of funding issues including Individual Funding Requests; access to treatments for patients moving between different sets of commissioners and services providers, and the process that NHS England will adopt for implementing guidance produced by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Other policies include the Ethical Framework for Priority Setting and Resource Allocation which sets out a fair and consistent approach to decision-making.

The policies are being adopted on an interim basis to enable NHS England to carry out further engagement with patients, carers and the public over the next 6-12 months in refining and agreeing final versions.

NHS England plans to bring together a steering group which will lead development of the policies, working in partnership with a range of stakeholders. This group will test the principles on which the policies are based and will revise them, where appropriate, in order to make them more accessible. This transparent approach to policy development reinforces NHS England’s commitment to ensuring that patients and carers are at the heart of the planning and development of NHS services.

Access the individual policies.


  1. Judith Livesley says:

    The Ethical Framework for priority setting could also include sustainability (social, economic and environmental) and choice & shared decision-making (ie to what extent do the proposed services promote and enable choice & shared decision-making).

  2. Michael Vidal says:

    How can patients and the public have input into this process including those who do not have access to the internet? Also what input was there from patients or the public in draft the interim guidance.

    • NHS England says:

      Hi Michael
      Thank you for your comment. NHS England is currently developing its engagement process for all policies and is committed to ensuring that public and patient views and input are part of this process. This will include consideration of a range of engagement methods. If people require print copies we can arrange this, and we always welcome examples of good practice and views on how to improve our practice. NHS England plans to develop opportunities to engage with people by making digital technology more accessible via working with community partners, for example getting more computers into public spaces such as community centres.

      Engagement with patients and the public was via the lay representatives on NHS England’s Clinical Priorities Advisory Group, which ratified the policies prior to publication. However, it is recognised that due to the time constraints of transition to the new commissioning system, engagement has been limited. For this reason the policies that are in place are interim, and will be subject to review once NHS England has developed a consistent and system wide process for policy development that includes patient and public engagement.

      Kind regards

      Digital Communications Officer
      NHS England