Commissioning Explained

Commissioning is a relatively complex concept and process which is fundamentally about service reform, re-design or re-configuration. 

The context

Commissioning is rooted in challenge and change and requires a process of re-evaluating need, re-thinking what services ought to be, looking at new ways of working and being open to how and in what way a service is delivered. 

In Scotland, there is ongoing transformation of public services and a strong desire for change to deliver meaningful outcomes and improvement.

What is the role for commissioning in this changing landscape? Can your organisation do more to improve your approach to commissioning to ensure more effective planning and delivery of services?

The training

Join us at Commissioning Explained on Tuesday 17 October in Edinburgh to gain practical knowledge and insights into commissioning processes and to learn what more you can do to improve. 

Who would benefit from attending?

This course is open to all to attend, but will be of particular benefit to those working within a role that requires comprehensive knowledge of commissioning in Scotland such as:

  • Heads of commissioning
  • Strategic commissioners
  • Joint heads of commissioning
  • Heads of policy and policy officers
  • Service planners
  • Service designers
  • Procurement and purchasing officers

Your trainer

Mike Bennett is an international consultant, researcher and trainer. Starting his career as a political researcher for BBC Radio Scotland, Mike then worked as Policy Officer for the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) in Scotland and as a Research Fellow at the Scottish Local Authorities Management Centre in the University of ​​Strathclyde. Later, based in Westminster, Mike held senior policy roles for SOLACE before becoming Managing Director. 

In 2011 Mike set up Public Intelligence and in 2013 co-founded RCS. Both companies provide bespoke research, consultancy and strategic advice services to public and private clients in the UK and abroad. 

An experienced trainer, Mike has designed, developed and delivered training on issues across the public sector to local and central governments, as well as civil society representatives, in the UK, Kosovo, Tunisia and the People’s Republic of China.

Mike is a Honorary Fellow of the University of Andrews School of Management, a Senior Adviser to Newton Europe, a member of the editorial board of Public Money and Management and founder and presenter of the Local Government Leaders podcast: listen here.


09:30 Welcome and Registration

09:45  Session 1: Understanding Commissioning: Overview and Context

  • What is commissioning?
  • What do we understand by commissioning and how is this reflected in practice?
  • Recent examples and the scope of commissioning 
  • Different contexts and spread of commissioning across sectors i.e. local government, health
  • Key approaches including outcome-based commissioning 

11:15  Refreshments and Networking

11:30  Session 2: The Commissioning Cycle: Risks, Challenges and Opportunities 

  • Exploring key elements of commissioning 
  • The role of the needs analysis
  • Commissioning as a part of strategic management 
  • The role of politicians and non-executives in commissioning
  • Community engagement and public campaigns 

13:00  Lunch

13:30  Session 3: Next Steps for Improving Commissioning

  • Recognising what could be improved 
  • How can we better align supply and demand in complex or innovative services?
  • Looking ahead to future change and planning the next steps you want to take

15:30  Close of Training

*Agenda is subject to change

A certificate of attendance will be given to all attendees, which may contribute towards CPD hours.


Holyrood Communications, 32 Calton Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8DP | Map


Delegate prices (excluding VAT)

  • Discounted rate: £245 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: £345 for 1 place | £295 per place if 2 or more are booked (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: £395 (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)
17 October 2017



Share this page