BS 11000 for health commissioning: Lessons from history for managing the commissioning relationship

Quayle, Adrian, Ashworth, David and Gillies, Alan Cameron (2013) BS 11000 for health commissioning: Lessons from history for managing the commissioning relationship. Clinical Governance: An International Journal, 18 (1). pp. 18-29. ISSN 1477-7274

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to consider how BS 11000 may be usefully deployed within a commissioning situation in the light of the Department of Health's suggestion that it represents “best practice”.

Design/methodology/approach – The study uses case studies from other sectors (criminal justice) and IT outsourcing to consider the nature of the commissioning relationship at the heart of the English NHS post-2013. It looks at how BS 11000 is intended to support business relationships and how this can address potential problems identified in the case studies.

Findings – The study finds that business relationships are often regarded in a reductionist manner based on a simple contractual relationship. The case studies suggest that a richer more collaborative business relationship is required for effective provision of services. The authors suggest that BS 11000 can help organisations put in place the foundations of such relationships.

Research limitations/implications – The Clinical Commissioning Groups are still being formed, and the marketplace for service providers in the NHS is expanding dramatically. This means that there are limited opportunities for studying this issue in situ, and therefore it is necessary to use case studies from other domains.

Practical implications – This study suggests that the commissioning relationship is more complex than a simple contractual relationship, and a genuine partnership is needed between the new Clinical Commissioning Groups and their providers.

Social implications – From 2013, the NHS is intended to be a commissioner of services rather than a provider. Effective health and social care will depend upon an effective commissioning relationship.

Originality/value – The study provides insights from related fields into an area that cannot yet be studied itself, as it is still being formed. It has access to unpublished data from an ESRC funded study to provide new insights from a related public-sector context.

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