Advanced commissioning course - supporting world class commissioning

Advanced commissioningThe Advanced Commissioning Course is a university-accredited programme for clinicians and managers to develop the skills and capability for world class commissioning in the NHS.

It supports NHS and joint NHS/social care commissioners in developing world-class skills and knowledge. The course is run in partnership with the University of Teesside.

The course provides an opportunity for staff in commissioning roles to develop WCC competencies and gain an in-depth understanding of NHS and NHS/social care commissioning. Course participants are from a variety of backgrounds spanning acute, local authority, PCT and general practice and the learning from the formal and informal network of commissioning expertise that all course participants have access to is invaluable to both the individual and their organisation.

It aims to help participants develop the best services for their patients, facilitate stronger partnership working, and develop the profession of commissioning. A key feature of the course is the development of regional networks to support learning and to develop local commissioning expertise following the course.

There has been two courses to date, 2007/8 and 2008/9, both of which were oversubscribed. A new course is planned for 2009/10 (see below). Previous participants have included practice based commissioners, joint commissioners, specialist commissioners and PCT commissioning managers.  

As a clinician, congratulations to the team for making practice based commissioning and world class commissioning understandable. No mean task. I will be encouraging clinical leads to take the course in the future. I can't thank you enough!

 Comment from a clinician on the 2007/8 Advanced Commissioning course


2009/10 Course

Applications for the updated 2009/10 course will be accepted in early 2009. Please click here to access some background information on the course. (Note that as the 2009/10 course is currently being updated, the content in the attached document is subject to change).  

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What we are doing

The first course was supported by the Department of Health and was designed in partnership with the National Association of Primary Care, the NHS Alliance and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, with the expertise of the London Deanery. It ran from October 2007 to December 2008.

Contributors to the programme include world experts in commissioning, senior academics, leading businesses, NHS and social care leaders, and Department of Health experts. Contributers to the 2007/8 course have included Gary Belfield (Department of Health), Paul Corrigan (NHS London), Angela Coulter (Picker Institute Europe), Richard Lewis (Ernst & Young) and Noel Plumridge (Consultant and Health Service Journal Columnist).

The course is run in partnership with the University of Teesside and participants were able to register for a postgraduate certificate in Advanced Commissioning.

The course involves six two-day national learning events and four one-day regional learning groups, plus individual study time. Participants receive academic support from the University of Teesside and peer support from their regional learning groups and optional special interest networking groups.

There are three modules and all participants complete an assignment at the end of each: 

  • Strategic planning for commissioning
  • Practical commissioning
  • Managing performance and impact.



Course fees will be announced in 2009.  

What is included:

  • National and regional learning events as described in the course outline
  • All learning materials and ongoing learning support
  • Lunch and dinner at course events
  • University accreditation costs for those registering for the postgraduate certificate
  • Assessment of written work and access to University of Teesside facilities (including on-line blackboard) for those registering for the post-graduate certificate.

What is not included:

  • Travel and accommodation costs
  • Funding for backfill or locum costs.


Key results

Participants assess the impact of their own commissioning work undertaken throughout the programme and share their learning and experience with each other, both within their organisations and within their strategic health authority areas. Key outcomes from the programme, around the practice of commissioning, are shared more widely across the NHS and social care. 

Participant case studies from existing Advanced Commissioning Courses:

Please click here to view to case studies from participants on existing Advanced Commissioning courses.

Comments from participants on existing Advanced Commissioning Courses:

 "The Advanced Commissioning Course has high quality speakers, very relevant topics and useful presentations. It fits well with our busy working lives and is a must for all current and aspiring commissioners."
Consultant in Public Health Medicine

"The Advanced Commissioning Course has supported me as a commissioner by offering tools and techniques and guiding and forming my often intuitive common sense into firm principles of good practice."
Commissioner, Planned Care

"During the course you will hear from those making the policy you need to work to, and will hear from and discuss with national commissioning experts how best to move your area of work forward towards world class commissioning.  I have found myself naturally using a range of commissioning tools when negotiating with providers, giving the best chance of improving patient outcomes."
Head of Commissioning

"The course has created and heightened awareness especially as a PBC GP commissioner."

"This has helped me to consolidate knowledge, apply effective tools and techniques and is a really good networking opportunity."
Assistant Director, Commissioning

"Fantastic opportunity to network with like-minded people with protected learning time. About time a decent commissioning course was offered."
PBC Lead

"This has been so valuable, really high in ‘take back to work’ value and provided some real tools that will take commissioning from the ark to suburbia."
Commissioning Manager