Policy paper

Principles and rules for cooperation and competition

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

This document sets out revised Principles and rules for cooperation and competition (PRCC) in commissioning and provision of NHS services. 



The Principles and rules for cooperation and competition (PRCC) were first issued under the 2007/08 Operating Framework and are intended to support cooperation and competition in the interests of patients and taxpayers in relation to:

  • commissioning and procurement 

  • cooperation and collusion 

  • conduct of individual organisations 

  • mergers and vertical intergration

The PRCC have been reviewed to ensure they are consistent with the White Paper: Equity and excellence: liberating the NHS which set out the Government’s strategy for the NHS including the commitment that, wherever relevant, patients should have a choice of any willing provider that meets NHS standards, within NHS prices

It should be read in that context and also in conjunction with the Procurement guide for commissioners of NHS-funded services and the national standard contracts guidance.

The original PRCC of December 2007 will continue to remain in force until October 2010. The new PRCC, except Principle 7, will supersede them and come into force from October 2010 onwards.