Press release

Further steps along the road to a clinically led NHS

Draft guidance to support emerging clinical commissioning groups published today

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Plans to hand more power to clinicians and modernise the NHS moved a step closer to reality today with the latest draft guidance to support emerging clinical commissioning groups.

It is the latest stage in the government’s ambition to make the NHS world-class by giving patients more power, focussing on quality, and giving frontline clinicians greater freedom and a strong leadership role.

There are now more than 253 groups of GP practices across the country which have come forward to directly commission services, focused on delivering the best results for their patients. Once authorised as Clinical Commissioning Groups they will take on responsibility for health care budgets from April 2013.

The guidance comes as the NHS moves towards a stronger and streamlined management system for the new commissioning arrangements which supports the reduction of administration costs by a third. From next month, the NHS will have moved from ten management teams at SHA level to just four SHA clusters.

This will allow the NHS to operate more efficiently so that clinical commissioning groups can take on their new responsibilities faster when they are ready to do so and align themselves with the proposed NHS Commissioning Board.

Principally clinical commissioning groups will have a strong clinical focus which will bring together patients, carers and their communities. They will have robust governance requirements which are accountable to patients as well as arrangements for commissioning with other clinical commissioning groups, local authorities and the proposed NHS Commissioning Board.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

“Clinical commissioning groups are at the heart of our NHS modernisation plans. They will put healthcare professionals in the driving seat so that they have the freedom and responsibility to design services on behalf of their patients - delivering better quality and integrated care.

“We strengthened our plans following the listening exercise to ensure there will be wider clinical leadership within clinical commissioning groups which will lead to stronger collaboration at a local level.
“Above all, our plans will safeguard the future of our NHS so that it is able to meet the challenges of rising demand, an ageing population and the increasing costs of treatment.”

The development of the NHS Commissioning Board shows the end point for all of this - a single, national organisation to oversee the commissioning system and drive better results for patients.

Over the coming months, the shadow NHS Commissioning Board will refine the approach and continue to work with emerging clinical commissioning groups and key stakeholders on taking these proposals forward.



1. For any media enquiries please contact the Department of Health newsdesk on 0207 210 5221.

2. The latest draft of the CCG authorisation document has been developed with other stakeholders including Royal Colleges, Third Sector, SHA leads, the Local Government Authority and National Quality Board.

3. You can see a copy of the authorisation guidance on the Department of Health website.

4. The authorisation process is based on a phased approach:

• A configuration phase so that aspiring CCGs can undertake a risk assessment and understand their geography and responsibilities.
• A development path phase so that CCGs can gain experience on commissioning and establish a track record with local authorities.
• The final stage is the authorisation process where CCGs will apply to the NHS Commissioning Board to be established and authorised.

This will be determined through a robust process of authorisation, run by the proposed NHS Commissioning Board, with input from Health and Wellbeing Boards and local clinicians. This will not be a one-off test but groups will be held to account on an annual basis by the NHS Commissioning Board.

Published 30 September 2011