NHS Commissioning Board chair Malcolm Grant has promised the body’s forthcoming operating “mandate” will “liberate” the health service.

Professor Grant used his showpiece speech to the NHS Confederation annual conference this lunchtime to discuss the guiding principles of the document in which the health secretary will give the commissioning board guidance on how it should operate.

It will “for the first time [see] the government putting out its expectations for the NHS for the coming one year, five years and 10 years”, Professor Grant revealed.

A draft version of the document is likely to be published next month, he said.

“It can become the most inspiring and liberating part of the new dispensation,” he said of the document.

However, Professor Grant admitted there had been “resistance from those who want to stuff the mandate full of stuff”. He urged people to “resist trying to get included into it every clinical condition or sectional interest” enshrined in the document. Avoiding this would give local commissioners room to operate, he said.

Professor Grant also warned of the dangers of the transition. “We will make mistakes,” he said. “Every one of us here want to deliver a culture in which mistakes are an opportunity for learning, not blame. We need to focus on the future.”