When do the Commissioning Regulations apply?

From 1 April 2013 commissioners must comply with the Commissioning Regulations. They impose a number of requirements on commissioners and it is essential that you build compliance into your commissioning and procurement strategy.

They apply when a Clinical Commissioning Group or NHS England (formerly the NHS Commissioning Board) procure health care services. They do not apply when a provider, eg a NHS Trust or Foundation Trust, subcontracts health care services to a third party. Similarly they do not apply when a local authority is commissioning health care services.

What are the obligations on commissioners?

We set out overleaf in diagrammatic form the overriding objectives that apply when commissioning health care services and your core obligations.

We set out in a further diagram the new powers of Monitor under the Commissioning Regulations. Do note that some of Monitor’s powers also extend to a failure to offer and publicise a choice of health care provider where this duty on commissioners applies under the National Health Service Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups (Responsibilities and Standing Rules) Regulations 2012. Also note that a bidder cannot lodge a complaint with Monitor under the Commissioning Regulations if the bidder has also brought an action under the Public Contracts Regulations 2006.


Do remember that the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 continue to apply to the commissioning of health care services as does the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (to the extent both apply to Part B services). Your obligations under the Public Contracts Regulations include requirements regarding technical specification and the publication of notices.

Click here to view table.

Click here to view chart.