Dental commissioning policies and procedures

NHS England is responsible for commissioning high quality primary care services for the population of England. NHS England’s commissioning policy is to move towards more place based, clinically led commissioning and is sharing or delegating commissioning of primary medical care services to integrated care boards (ICBs).

In addition to commissioning primary care services. NHS England has responsibility for commissioning of all dental services including specialist, community and out of hours dental services.

The following documents form part of a suite of policies and procedures to support commissioning and contract management of primary care.

These policies and procedures support quality and consistency of commissioning and eliminate duplication of effort in the management of the four primary care contractor groups

All policies and procedures have been designed to support the principle of proportionality. By applying these policies and procedures, commissioners should be able to respond to local issues within a national framework.

Primary care professional bodies, representatives of patients and the public and other stakeholders were involved in the production of these documents.

The policies are underpinned by five key principles;

  • To support the continuous improvement of primary care
  • To maintain the right balance between operating in a consistent fashion, maintaining appropriate local flexibility
  • Clear alignment with NHS England commissioning policy and business plan.
  • Compliance with legislation
  • To support a reasonable, proportionate and consistent approach across the four primary care contractor groups.

This suite of documents will be refined in light of feedback from users. Please send your feedback to clearly stating in the subject header “Policy feedback: policy name”. This email address should only be used by NHS colleagues and contractors. Members of the public, patients, and their representatives should contact our Customer Contact Centre:

Accreditation of performers and providers of level 2 complexity care

These documents aim to support NHS commissioners in the procurement process of level 2 complexity services. Currently these documents focus on periodontal, endodontic and oral surgery care. The vision is to support the workforce to provide patient care in the right setting with an appropriately skilled clinician, moving away from hospital-based care to primary care settings.

The documents set out what is required from those wishing to provide facilities for level 2 complexity treatment. It also gives clear guidance on the evidence required and process to be followed by applicants wishing to gain accreditation to competently perform Level 2 services.

Dental policies and guidance

NHS England has published a set of 37 interim commissioning policies for non-specialised services which will be subject to public consultation next year.

Please see below to access additional policies:


Improved signposting around dental complaints will help patients and providers

A new dental complaints joint statement is set to help patients, providers and other health organisations involved in this area of work.

Produced by the Regulation of Dental Services Programme Board (NHS England, the NHS Business Services Authority, the Department of Health, the Care Quality Commission, the General Dental Council and Healthwatch England), it will help ensure there is a shared understanding of the correct route for complaints among regulators, commissioners and providers.

Previously the dental complaints system has been seen as complex and confusing, experienced overlap and revealed a lack of consistency across organisations.

A report on the work of the Regulation of Dental Services Programme Board is now available.