Clinical commissioning groups’ “quality premium” performance bonus will be separate from - and not funded by - their £25 per head management fund, the national commissioning lead has told HSJ.

Dame Barbara Hakin, NHS Commissioning Board director of commissioning development, said it would be funded from the total national sum designated by the government for administration costs.

There has been speculation the payment would come from the £25 per head fund but CCGs are already struggling to fund their running costs from that sum.

“There has been a misunderstanding,” Dame Barbara said. “Let me be clear, the money for the quality premium is coming out of the overall management cost envelope, but will not come out of the £25 per head [CCG management allocation] which has already been identified.”

She said it had previously been decided the fund for the controversial bonus scheme could be worth up to £5 per head of population. A final decision on the level is likely to be made by the commissioning board in the coming months.

Dame Barbara said the Department of Health was due next month to publish regulations before Parliament which could set rules for the premium.

She said: “Regulations may well set out what the board has to consider, as well as the commissioning outcomes framework, in deciding whether and how much to pay to CCGs. They are also likely to cover what it might be spent on.”