Government reforms have led to repeated structural changes in the way we commission health and social care services in England. With specialised commissioning from the Centre (via NHS England), Clinical Commissioning Groups holding 'hard' commissioning budgets and local government taking a lead on public health, commissioning remains central to both the NHS and social care. These changes are also taking place in difficult financial conditions and in a rapidly evolving policy context. While tough times call for tough decisions, there is also a major opportunity for more locally-based approaches to commissioning and for innovative practice to emerge in the face of adversity. For local and national bodies to deliver in this tough financial climate, the capacity and capability of individuals and organisations involved in commissioning needs to be strengthened.
A key specialism is current work around decision making and priority setting in health and social care. HSMC's interest in decision making concerns the exploration of the different priority setting tools and processes being utilised in health and social care.