Collaborative commissioning

2 min readJun 19, 2024


I’ve previously discussed the concept of embedding a cooperative approach, but how can we effectively apply this in the context of commissioning? Here, I share some practical insights I’ve gained:

  • We must shift our focus from mere cost to the broader concept of social value in commissioning.
  • Our starting point should always be the people we serve, and we should strive to co-produce outcomes with them.
  • Think beyond service structures and invest in outcomes

If, through the commissioning process, you want to set up a new business model like a coop or a mutual, for it to work in practice, it requires:

  • Helping people through the changes and alternative skills needed
  • Considering and assessing risk in a different way
  • Developing strategies that help meet complex challenges and overcome barriers

Cooperative or collaborative commissioning doesn’t have to involve commissioning services but can involve investing in activities or brokering better outcomes with people. However, even the activities and services that are designed cooperatively won’t bring about change without stimulating the motivation and skills that staff, users, and residents need to be involved.

Spinning out should be a different goal than collaborative commissioning, but it should be considered one of the models that could be used. Even if turning a service into a mutual or a cooperative is the best way forward, making it a success still involves support by local authorities, providing a reassuring safety net.

  • Incubating coops so they can grow on their own two feet
  • Developing the local market and supply chains so that providers can achieve the outcomes
  • Creating more flexible contracts to focus on outcomes rather than outputs
  • Exploring innovative ways of building social value into procurement
  • Create systemic change through campaigning for more affordable utilities.

Another business model you could use is to create an accelerator.

Investor-led accelerator

You develop sector-specific expertise to exploit teams’ potential, while mentors act as business angels and “investors in disguise.” You can select mentors from within your organization, and they can play an important role in helping civic entrepreneurs navigate your organization’s internal decision-making system.

Matchmaker accelerator

You can also create a platform for your sector to collaborate on innovation with early-stage ventures and involve other organizations in the selection process of their ventures.

Ecosystem accelerator

They help develop an ecosystem of startups within the region or issue. They can help to incubate the solution or implement the product/idea.




Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese