What is Commissioning?

Commissioning is the process by which services are planned, purchased and monitored. It can comprise of a range of activities, including assessing needs; setting priorities; planning services; procuring services; and monitoring quality.

How are we working together in the VCSE sector?

The Commissioning and Investment working group of the Leadership Group aims to work in partnership and collaboration with cross-sector colleagues to support the delivery of the VCSE Commissioning Framework, by driving forward the Commissioning and Investment ambitions of the Accord, and also being responsive to current events.

10GM is the lead partner under the VCSE Accord agreement on this work. They employ a part time Strategic Lead to support the work of the VCSE Commissioning and Investment Group.

The VCSE Commissioning Group meets on a monthly basis, with Task and Finish groups meeting in between to progress key priorities.

Working with NHS and GMCA partners, and in collaboration with the Alternative Provider Federation, we aim to improve commissioning and procurement practices through joint working to develop standards and demonstrate good practice. We use lobbying to create new opportunities and investment, and position the VCSE Sector as a key design and delivery partner within Greater Manchester systems.

We recognise that the VCSE sector is part of the solution to tackle the systemic and societal challenges faced by people and communities across Greater Manchester, as community-led organisations offering social value and flexibility in approach to reach those under-served by mainstream services. However, current commissioning practices can stifle innovation, and impact on service delivery.

Overall, we are aiming for a model of commissioning that is planned over the longer-term, fairly funded, and with inbuilt contractual flexibility. A three-year norm for contracts would provide a healthier system, with grants and funds established to encourage VCSE organisations to develop novel solutions.

We aim to ensure that the VCSE sector is included as key system shaping and delivery partners, with an equal place at decision-making tables; and that the system is making use of greater flexibilities and freedoms around procurement.

The scope of this work is commissioning and investments in all parts of the GM public service system. This includes the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, NHS Greater Manchester, the 10 Local Authorities and the Acute and Mental Health Trusts.

2023 – 2026 VCSE Accord Commissioning Priorities 

  1. Commissioning and procurement standards and pathways are developed and embedded in the GM public service system
  2. Grants, investment and social value are optimised in the GM public service system
  3. Commissioning for inclusion is maximised in all parts of the GM public service system
  4. Through influencing activity, the VCSE sector is embedded as a key co-design partner in shaping and delivering Greater Manchester systems
  5. Market Supply is developed through partnership-building; design and delivery of new solutions; and securing capital investment.

The Commissioning Framework

In 2019 a partnership of VCSE organisations, in collaboration with commissioning partners, reviewed existing commissioning with the VCSE sector and developed a VCSE commissioning Framework to support commissioning practices in Greater Manchester. This Framework was signed off by the Joint Commissioning Board in February 2020p; and then refreshed with a new preface in July 2021, outlining its future in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; the development of the Greater Manchester Integrated Care System; deepening inequalities experiences by communities and the publication of the Greater Manchester Independent Inequalities Commission report.

  1. Embed the importance of the VCSE sector
  2. Invest strategically in the infrastructure required for building VCSE and community capacity
  3. Better knowledge, understanding and access
  4. Accessible procurement and a strategic approach to grants
  5. A core focus on co-design and co-production
  6. Embed Social Value
  7. Develop and implement evaluation framework

Underpinning Priority: Ensure tackling inequalities is at the centre of all decision making

View the VCSE Commissioning Framework 

How can I get involved?

To connect to this work, get in touch with the 10GM Strategic Lead at

Meetings are held on alternating Thursdays and Fridays each month.

Key Documents
GM VCSE Commissioning Framework

The Commissioning Working Group has close links with the work of the Alternative Provider Collaborative (APC), read about the APC here.