Department of Health commissioning lead Dame Barbara Hakin has said commissioning consortia should outsource many of the responsibilities inherited from primary care trusts.

The national managing director of commissioning development specifically mentioned equality, diversity and patient and public involvement work, saying there were organisations “that did nothing else” and that consortia could take advantage of that.

Speaking at an NHS Alliance conference last week Dame Barbara said: “In my view some of the reasons why PCTs have not done as well as they might [is that] they have been too parochial. They have not tended to use the commissioning support that would have turned [them] into highly professional organisations.”

She said she envisaged consortia “commission[ing] in from a broad range of providers, from teams of experts to outsourcing the bulk of their administration”.

She added that if consortia did not operate differently from PCTs, “we will have a problem”.

PCT Network director David Stout said: “PCTs have been criticised for getting in consultants and contractors; suggesting that it is now a good idea [for consortia] is an irony.”

Speaking at the same conference, KPMG global head of health Mark Britnell said the consultancy’s research indicated “between 30 and 50 industrial powerhouses” would offer to provide commissioning support to consortia.