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Effective GP commissioning. Part 2: Ensuring your commissioning plan ticks all the boxes

The second instalment in our three-part serialisation of Dr Sunil Gupta's new book Effective GP commissioning provides a checklist for GPs to refer to when commissioning a new service

For the commissioning of a new service to be successful, a wide variety of factors needs to be taken into account. Not all of these are necessary for every case, but it is useful to have a checklist so that something major is not overlooked.

This article provides such a list, including the key elements that most commissioned services will have if they are to be successful.


- Who is the project lead?

- Who is the clinical lead?

- Who is the finance lead?

- Who is the information lead?

- Who is the IT lead?


- Is the activity information reliable and robust?

- Is the financial modelling sound and the planning assumptions appropriate?

- Is the financial information included in the commissioning case correct?

- Is there a sound basis for the forecasts going forward into procurement?

- Will there be a set cost for service provision or will potential bidders be expected to submit a cost bid for the service?

Contract and contract management

- What are the contract implications of the commissioning case for the service?

- Do the aims of the commissioning case link with the GP consortium's strategic plan, and general direction for service development?

- Has the projected impact on other services (including secondary care services) been considered and is it appropriate?

- Is there evidence that public and patient involvement has been sought in the development of this commissioning case and is there ongoing patient and public involvement it?

- Has an equality impact assessment been undertaken?

- Are there clear success measures that can be monitored sufficiently?


- Does the case for the service demonstrate the proposed changes to clinical care pathways/redesigned services are sensible and workable (including details of how pathways will work among providers)?

- Does the case demonstrate the quality of clinical care provided will be maintained or improved rather than reduced?

- Will the implementation of the commissioning case address the needs of the target population and help to reduce health inequalities in the area?

- Are there any medicines management issues that need to be considered in the commissioning case proposed?


- Is the proposed procurement methodology appropriate?

- Is the proposed timetable and process reasonable?

- What procurement issues need to be considered?

Information management and technology

- Are IT system implications being addressed?

Information governance

- Are the information governance implications addressed?


- Have communication elements been addressed?

- Are there consultation requirements relating to this project?

Public health

- Are there public health requirements relating to the project that need to be addressed?


- Are there estates implications in the commissioning of this service?

Provider market

- Has the market been researched?

- Has the market been developed?

- Does the commissioning case consider all market sectors including voluntary, third-sector, private and so on?


- Factors to consider when preparing a case include finances, strategy, clinical issues, information management and technology, estates, procurement, contracting, information governance, communications, public health and the provider market.

Dr Sunil Gupta is a GP in Benfleet, Essex, chair of the Professional Executive Committee of NHS South East Essex, and joint clinical director of Castle Point GP Consortium

Dr Gupta is author of Effective GP Commissioning, a practical guide designed to provide GPs with essential knowledge, skills and attitudes to succeed as commissioners. Chapters include Assessing local health needs, Budgets and Patient safety. It is published by Radcliffe Publishing and costs £21.99. ISBN 978-1-84619-520-4

Commissioning case checklist