A9 - DfES Joint Planning And Commissioning
Guidance for children, young people and maternity services

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7 - Standards And Structures

  • - Did you know? -

National Occupational Standards for Commissioning, Procurement and Contracting will be launched during 2007. National Standards are about standards of performance; they describe the knowledge, understanding, and skills required to perform a task and the performance criteria for the task.


These standards are based upon one key purpose and four functions:


Key purpose


Commissioning, procurement and contracting is to “direct, shape and secure services, responses and projects to achieve strategic objectives and fulfil the organisation’s responsibilities to meet the needs of individuals, families and communities.”




  1. Engage individuals, families, colleagues and communities in working out and agreeing how strategic objectives and outcomes will be identified and achieved.
  2. Design, develop and deliver sustainable strategies to achieve the organisational objectives and the identified outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
  3. Ensure that all strategies for achieving objectives and outcomes will meet legal, ethical and regulatory requirements.
  4. Establish a culture that promotes good practice within the organisation and in commissioned services.

The quality of commissioned services is most commonly measured against national minimum standards.

The Department of Health provides standards for best practice, used during inspection, for the following social care services:

  • Residential family centres
  • Fostering services
  • Children's homes
  • Boarding schools
  • Residential special schools

Did you know? 

Skills for Care and Development is developing National Occupational Standards for Commissioning, Procurement and Contracting. As at May 2007 the functional map is finalised and work has begun on the development of the units of competence.