Strategic Commissioning

Public managers and leaders across the sector are required to commission a range of services; navigating a complex web of different potential providers and purposes.

It is therefore important that public managers have the knowledge and skills to plan, procure and contract services effectively.

The module will set the challenge of commissioning in context; providing you with a sound understanding of the development of commissioning as a policy priority across a range of UK public services. It will also provide you with the state of the art models of commissioning and procurement, and how these differ across levels of government, within specific service sectors, and internationally. You will also learn the challenges and limitations of applying these models in practice. You will also get the opportunity to apply criteria to analyse the effectiveness of commissioned services, with opportunity to reflect on your own practices. 

The module will be delivered on campus at the University of Birmingham. You will be provided with prior reading and exercises that will inform your face to face learning, which will include problem-led and scenario-based exercises.

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Critically understand the context for strategic commissioning in public services.
  • Critically analyse how commissioning and procurement have developed within the environment of public sector reform and modernisation, and how they are likely to develop in the future.
  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding of key theoretical and conceptual models underpinning commissioning and procurement.
  • Demonstrate a sophisticated level of understanding of the differences and links between the activities of `commissioning' and `procurement', and of how they are understood and executed in different sectors and organisations.
  • Critically review policy and practise using criteria related to effective commissioning and procurement.
  • Critically evaluate joint commissioning based on a detailed understanding of the imperatives, constraints and resource dependencies in multi-stakeholder environments.
  • Critically evaluate a range of commissioning strategies and their contingent use depending on critical factors including: the nature and purpose of services being commissioned; the characteristics of service users and usage patterns; commissioner roles, strengths and expertise; market conditions; and the regulatory framework.
  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding of a range of approaches to assessing need and demand for public services within different sectors and service-user groups.