Commissioning & Procurement

What is Commissioning?

Commissioning is the process of finding out about public needs, then designing and putting in place services that address those needs. In this context, it's a process undertaken by public bodies, like central government department or local NHS bodies. It's a decision making process that most frequently involves the procurement (purchasing) of services by either grant-funding or competitive tendering for contracts (a process of which voluntary and community organisations are frequently a part).

Commissioning is carried out by local and national government and public bodies (like local councils or hospitals) who have a statutory responsibility to commission services to meet needs. Commissioning has grown in significance as more and more public services are delivered by external organisations (like the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE)) and as social needs change.


The Commissioning Cycle

  1. Assessing need
  2. Mapping existing services and identifying gaps
  3. Planning to meet needs, deciding priorities, outcomes, identifying resources
  4. Procuring services
  5. Delivering services
  6. Monitor, review and evaluate


What is Procurement?

Procurement means the purchase of goods or services by a public sector organisation from another, external organisation. The procurement department ‘score’ the pre-qualifying questionnaires (PQQs) and tender documents to ensure that the best provider is awarded the contract, and the services are good value for money and of the required quality. There are strict rules that ensure that the staff ‘procuring’ services are separate from those ‘commissioning’ in order to ensure open and fair competition.


Support available

Communities 1st can support local organisations across the districts of St. Albans and Hertsmere that wish to become 'commissioning ready'. We have a range of toolkits that can support you, following a checklist exercise which our development team can support you with.

We also offer introductory training on commissioning and procurement, and a more detailed effective tender writing course. Please contact us for more information.


Where to find Tender Opportunities

GOV.UK - Contracts Finder

Launched on the 26th February 2015, the contracts finder can be used to explore and search for business opportunities with the government for contracts worth over £10,000.

Skills Funding Agency eTendering Portal

This website provides a suite of collaborative, web-based tools that enable procurement professionals and suppliers to conduct the strategic activities of the procurement lifecycle over the internet. It provides a simple, secure and efficient means for managing tendering activities reducing the time and effort required for both buyers and suppliers.

My Tenders

Search and register for opportunities free.

For further information and support about tendering please contact us at email us