The DH has published the first draft of the new mandate for the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB), which will determine how the service is to be held to account by the Secretary of State in the new reformed health system. The draft mandate sets out twenty two objectives for the delivery of NHS care by the NHSCB. A public consultation is now taking place to enable all stakeholders to have their say on the improvements in health outcomes that the NHS will be expected to deliver in the coming years.

The mandate focuses explicitly on outcomes – such as reductions in premature deaths, and improving the experience of patients – rather than on processes and operational targets. The idea is to give clinical leaders the freedom to innovate, essential for future change that puts the patient at the centre of the system.

The Mandate is a multi-year document. This Mandate sets objectives for the period from April 2013 to March 2015, and will set ambitions for improving outcomes over five and ten years.

It will be revised each year to ensure it remains up to date, but the Government’s intention is that objectives will roll forward until they have been achieved. This will provide continuity for the NHS commissioning system, while recognising that many outcomes may take several years to deliver.