Commissioning support services are likely to be closely involved in the four national scale commissioning support functions, HSJ has learned.

A letter from DH commissioning development director Dame Barbara Hakin said there had been a “great deal of progress” over recent weeks in developing commissioning support. The letter, leaked to HSJ, gives an update on the DH’s latest thinking on each of the “scale” services.

  • Communications: CSSs hoping to supply communications support to clinical commissioning groups should offer the national NHS service, which will be locally delivered but nationally networked. A national communications team and several CSS leads are working together to draw up a delivery model.
  • Business intelligence: There will be no single business intelligence provider. The DH is working on a model based on a central “data collation service”, around eight CSS-based “data management and integration centres”, and local data analysis carried out by each CSS for clinical commissioning groups.
  • Clinical procurement: Likely to be offered by a small number of CSSs with the required specialist skills.
  • Back-office functions: CCGs will want to access HR, payroll and procurement support from “a range of providers”. CSSs wanting to provide these services will be assessed through the CSS assurance process.

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