A financial competence test could be reintroduced in next year’s round of world class commissioning competency assessments.

Other changes on the cards include “tweaking” the definitions of tasks in the programme and moving panel assessments to April and May – traditionally a quieter time for primary care trusts.

NHS Confederation PCT network director David Stout said the Department of Health was considering “introducing an actual measure of financial competence along with the other 10 competencies” next year.

Last year, finance started out as one of the competencies before it was shifted into the governance section of the assessment.

But Mr Stout said there was a suggestion that financial competence should now be measured separately from the assessments of PCTs’ board and strategy strengths.

He said a debate was also under way about how to recruit and train non-NHS staff on the assessment panels that judge PCTs’ commissioning plans.