Policy Research Unit
Policy Research Unit
Current projects
Competition, cooperation and commissioning
Competition, cooperation and commissioning

This project looks at commissioning in the context of competition and cooperation. It will investigate how commissioners manage the interplay of competition and cooperation in their local health economies. It will look at acute services as well as community and primary healthcare.

First, the project will study what commissioners and providers know about the policy and regulatory environment. How, for example, do they understand the incentives for competition and cooperation? This will include strategic health authorities, in their roles as market shapers, while they continue to exist.

Secondly, we will be asking how commissioning organisations and their providers operate together to undertake the planning and delivery of care for patients.

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We will be aiming to provide clear understanding of how competition and cooperation work in this field and how they might be optimised.

Next Steps in Commissioning through Competition and Cooperation (2016-2017): Additional Report

In 2016 we reported our research on NHS commissioners’ and providers’ understandings and use the rules on competition, and our investigation of how commissioners used competitive and cooperative commissioning mechanisms at local level from 2013 to 2015. Since 2015, when the last phase of field work was undertaken, the legal framework governing the procurement of clinical services has not changed. The generally pro-competitive provisions of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA 2012) remain in force. In addition, the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015) came into force in April 2016 introducing further requirements in respect of competitive procurement. Despite no substantive changes in the legislation governing procurement processes, since 2015 there has been a considerable national policy shift towards cooperative methods of commissioning. The aims of this additional fieldwork remained the same as those of the initial study. The project aimed to investigate how commissioners in local health systems managed the interplay of competition and cooperation in their local health economies, looking at acute and community health services (CHS).

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Commissioning through competition and cooperation

This is a final report investigating how commissioners in local health systems managed the interplay of competition and cooperation in their local health economies, looking at acute and community health services (CH).

Download final report [pdf]>>
Download appendix [pdf]>>

This interim report summarising the finding of the first phase of our research on competition and exploring how commissioners and organisations they commission from understand the policy and regulatory environment in which they operate.

Download interim report [pdf] >>