STRUCUTRE: A timeline produced by the cluster said it hoped to have “Pathfinder Commissioning Support Units” in place by January 2012

The document produced by the former chief executive of NHS Redbridge and now cluster director of commissioning support Conor Burke shows commissioning support units developing in tandem with consortia and starting life as independent entities as consortia are, in theory, authorised in April 2013.

His report said: “Consortia have indicated that they will need support in order to commission services effectively. Consortia are likely to focus on the clinical side of commissioning although recognise that management support functions will need to be supplied from within as well as from other organisations.

“NHS London is working to create a legacy that provides consortia with the skills and resources they need to become effective. This includes developing support services, some of which exist in the current structure.
“The London Commissioning Support programme seeks to enable existing commissioning staff to play a role in developing future commissioning support functions, and establish a relationship between PCT clusters and consortia based around the needs of consortia as customers.
“ONEL cluster has expressed interest in being part of the commissioning support programme. As a first step a cross directorate project is being established to take forward the development of a commissioning support unit (CSU) as a distinct part of the cluster and closely aligned to support consortia delivery.”

The document said cluster CSUs would be assessed in June and go through a formal assurance process in October or November “to identify which commissioning support functions are ‘good enough’”