Commissioning for specific populations

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Information sources on commissioning for particular populations, plus case studies that illustrate how health libraries support work in this area.

Tips on searching the web:

When searching the internet, suggested terms include…

  • Use language, jargon and abbreviations which you might expect to find in trust and government documents to focus your search more effectively, e.g. “Everyone Counts” , “Putting patients first”, “Living well for longer”, “outcomes strategy”, “outcomes framework”
  • When searching for information relating to specific populations, try using the term ‘people with…’ for example the phrase ‘people with mental health…’ is far more focused than ‘mental health’ and uses the language you will find in NHS papers.  This can be used for a wide range of populations such as ‘people with physical disab*’ / ‘people with learning diff*’
  • To limit to NHS papers, try combining your results with: (ccg OR nhs). To look for CCG publications add the following to your google search:  site: (note the space before the CCG.)
  • You can search for terms such as “board paper” / “strategy” to help to locate Trust papers

Also have a look at our summary of tips on searching the web.

List of contents


Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) includes a range of resources to support commissioning of adult services, including adult safeguarding

Department of Health – vulnerable adults [Archived Content]
An introduction to policy and guidance relating to the delivery of adult social care, focussing on vulnerable adults.

Violence against women and girls – Commissioning guidance on related topics
A collection of resources including the Commissioning Guide: Commissioning services for women and children who experience violence or abuse – a guide for health commissioners.


Carers Trust – resources for commissioners and health professionals

Carers support resources from Social Care Institute of Excellence

Carers support page on RCGP website includes a guide for commissioners.

Maternity, children and young people

NSPCC library catalogue
The largest UK database specialising in published material on child protection and child abuse and neglect.

Key Data on Adolescence 2015 (Association for Young People’s Health, National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network, Public Health England. September 2015) – A compendium of publicly available data on young people including demographics, social determinants of health, health behaviour and lifestyle, sexual health, mental health and wellbeing, physical health, long term conditions and disability and  healthcare.

Poor Beginnings: Health inequalities among young children across England (National Children’s Bureau, September 2015).
Analysis of variations in young children’s health outcomes across the country, both at regional and local authority level. The report focuses on four key areas: obesity; tooth decay; injuries; and development or ‘school readiness.Includes an interactive map setting out health outcomes data for young children in all English local authorities, along with data tables.

Resources for Commissioners of Women’s Health Services (RCOG 13 August 2013)
This digital resources aims to support CCGs and NHS England in the commissioning of women’s health services. It  brings together all standards for hospital-based obstetric and gynaecological care, and community-based sexual and reproductive health care produced by the RCOG, FSRH, Royal Colleges and Professional Societies, with standards derived from policy documents such as joint consensus statements and reports.

Defining staffing levels for children’s and young people’s services, RCN June 2013
Guidance and standardsfor all areas in which infants, children and young people receive care, as well as across all types of services and provision commissioned by the NHS including the acute and community, as well as third sector and independent sector providers.

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Information on a wide range of areas, including:

Children and Maternal Health  Intelligence Network (formerly ChiMat) support for policy makers, commissioners, managers, regulators, and other health stakeholders working on children’s young people’s and maternal health. ChiMat is now part of Public Health England.

Using ChiMat to improve commissioning – ChiMat tools and services are listed under each stage of the commissioning cycle, and in some  instances allows you to generate the appropriate report. ChiMat is now part of Public Health England.

PREview Planning Resources – a set of planning resources from ChiMat to help commissioners to target preventive resources, in particular around the Healthy Child Programme, where they are most needed. PREview is based on evidence identifying the factors in pregnancy and infancy that are associated with outcomes for children at five years.

C4EO – The Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People’s Services provides a range of products and support services to improve outcomes – a best practice hub for ‘what works’ in children’s services. Not specifically health services.

Children with complex needs – see An Ordinary Life on the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities website.

Youth Justice system. CCGs are responsible for commissioning a number of services in the reformed health and care system (see Health and Justice Health Needs Assessment Toolkit for Prescribed Places of Detention  Table 1) and therefore may find the Youth Justice Health and Well-being Needs Assessment Toolkit useful..

Every Child Matters [Archived Content]
Every Child Matters: Change for Children is a new approach to the well-being of children and young people from birth to age 19.  (Note that since the Coalition government in May 2010 these page are no longer updated and are held on the government national archive pages) This site has many resources relating to commissioning for children and young people.

College of Emergency Medicine Paediatric EM guidance from external organisations

Commissioning maternity services: a resource pack to support clinical commissioning groups
Produced by the NHS Commissioning Board in 2012.

Commissioning Guides: antenatal and postnatal mental health servicesThis NICE commissioning guide provides support for the local implementation of NICE clinical guidelines through commissioning, and is a resource to help health professionals in England to commission effective antenatal and postnatal mental health services. NICE, 2011.

Reports to support North Wales maternity and child health review, Public Health Wales , July 2011
A set of literature reviews on maternity, neonatal and paediatric services – What is the current evidence base on

  • the delivery of safe and sustainable maternity services,
  • best practice in relation to the delivery of safe and sustainable neonatal services,
  • best practice in relation to the delivery of safe and sustainable paediatric and child health services?

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Joint commissioning of children’s services across local authorities and primary care trusts
Briefing paper produced by the Faculty of Public Health, April 2008

Knowing where to look: How to find the evidence you need – Resources compiled by CAMHS Evidence Based Practice Unit (2008) to support practitioners, managers and commissioners.

Improving the quality and outcomes for services to children and young people through effective commissioning: A self-assessment tool for commissioners [Archived Content]
This self-assessment tool is designed to assist PCTs and their partners in assessing their knowledge and capability to commission children’s and young people’s services. Department of Health, April 2007.

Commissioning counselling services for young people: a guide for commissioners  – Report by Youth Access to assist commissioners charged with the responsibility for services for young people on how to commission counselling services. 2007.

Joint planning and commissioning framework for children, young people and maternity services [Archived Content]
DfES, March 2006

Modernising maternity careA toolkit from the Royal College of Obstetricians (2006) which aims to guide primary care trusts, practice based commissioners and local authority children’s trusts in commissioning maternity services and providing support for parents during the transition to parenthood.

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Ethnic minority groups

Better Health briefing papers are written by experts to provide the latest evidence on the health experiences of black and minority ethnic communities. The papers identify good practice examples, and include detailed references to help practitioners explore the evidence further. Topics include dementia, dental health, tobacco use and organ donation.

Race for Health – a Department of Health-funded, NHS based programme which publishes guidance on commissioning for BME groups.

Ethnic health intelligence – Health of ethnic minority groups
Resources compiled by the London Public Health Observatory.

Mental Health Services for Irish Residents
A case study from the LondonLinks Alignment Toolkit. Further resources are being allocated to mental health services for Irish residents of Islington following a literature review requested by the Public Health Department. The work will inform future service planning, recognizing the needs of the community.

Older people

(See Data sources below.)

NHS England Integration and Frail Elderly tagged items.

National Service Framework for Older People

Falls and fracture consensus statement: supporting commissioning for prevention (PHE 2017) provides approaches to interventions and activities helping prevent falls and fractures to improve health outcomes for older people.

Integrated care for older people with frailty: Innovative approaches in practice (RCGP, British Geriatrics Society, November 2016) 13 case studies from across the UK showcasing how GPs and geriatricians are collaborating to design and lead innovative schemes to improve the provision of integrated care for older people with frailty.

Commissioning services for an ageing population and those living with frailty.
East Midlands Clinical Senate Advisory Report (March 2016)
A summary of recent national publications with valuable guidance on delivering services for older people and those living with frailty. Comprehensive geriatric assessment is described along with evidence for benefits realisation.

The Healthy Ageing Collaborative from Yorkshire & Humber AHSN is implementing the electronic Frailty Index (eFI) tool to help identify older people with frailty in primary care using routinely collected information within a patient’s electronic health record

Commission on Improving Urgent Care for Older People (Jan 2016) A report  to the Commission on Improving Urgent Care for Older People to provide  guidance for people involved in designing care for older people. The Commission  drew up eight key principles to be used as a touchstone in any redesign of services, to ensure older people’s needs and wishes were being met. The report is accompanied by number of resources including  case studies  and a literature review on what is known to work in improving older people’s urgent care.

Commissioning services for an ageing population and those living with frailty by East Midlands Clinical Senate [2014?] This report summarises recent national publications with guidance on delivering services for older people and those living with frailty.
“a useful, practical resource for commissioners and an opportunity to explain the language and help understanding, and ensure that value adding priorities and standards drive commissioning.”
See the presentation by the author to the RCS conference November 2014

Integrated care for the frail and elderly; a review of the evidence by Susan Smith and John Gale, JET Library, Mid-Cheshire NHS Foundation Trust (with permission from John Gale).

Evidence reviews from Age UK – in-depth reports providing evidence to underpin decision making, commissioning, service development, fund-raising and influencing. Includes Loneliness, Evidence of effectiveness of Day Centres,  Digital inclusion, Information and advice.

Older People – Social Care Institute of Excellence – Resources covering a wide range of topics, including mental health issues, particularly dementia; coping with hospital stays; restraint; and dignity in care.

Older People in acute settings Benchmarking report 2014 (NHS Benchmarking Network April 2015) – Report of the first phase of a national benchmarking project looking at older people in acute settings involving 47 trusts and health boards. Findings of the project across the four areas of the pathway : admission avoidance in A&E, assessment units, inpatient care and supported discharge.  Within each area of the pathway the service models, activity, workforce and finance data is explored.

Expected lifetime costs of social care for people aged 65 and over in England
Costs based on Unit Costs of Health and Social Care 2010 published by University of Kent Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU)

Safe staffing for older people: RCN full report and recommendations (Sept 2012)
Guidance and recommendations for the provision of good quality, compassionate and safe nursing care for older people in hospital.  Also available Safe staffing for older people’s wards: An RCN toolkit and Safe staffing for older people’s wards calculator

Driving improvement in elderly care services
A benchmarking exercise by the Foundation Trust Network (March 2012) of elderly care across 16 acute trusts outlines outcomes from ward-based models, peripatetic specialist team models and C to C referral models. It also examines the impact of screening in A&E or MAUs, discharge planning and social care packages on length of stay, readmission and quality of care.

End of life care – Social Care Institute for Excellence – Information and links for professionals who support people and their families at the end of life

Department of Health – Older People [Archived Content]
The Department of Health’s policy for older people and their carers seeks to promote social inclusion and control over their lives.  This webpage provides links to a range of initiatives in services for older people.

National End of Life Care Programme now archived and some workstreams moved to NHS Improving Quality.

National End of Life Care Strategy [Archived Content]
A collection of models of delivery including policies and stratetgies, frameworks and tools.

Length of stay in care homes PSSRU Discussion Paper 2769, Jan 2011
This report from the Personal Social Services Research Unit and commissioned by Bupa, gives an accurate picture of how long people live in care homes before they die.

Unplanned admissions of older people: exploring the issues NIHR Service Delivery and Organisation programme; 2011.
An analysis of how nine English councils and their partners approached the challenge of reducing emergency bed days for older people, the interventions they adopted, the opportunities and difficulties encountered, and the consequences for patients. The analysis “found no simple association between the model of governance adopted within the study sites and the outcomes achieved.”

Data sources:

Facts ‘n figures from the British Geriatrics Society which may be of interest to health professionals, older people, their carers and researchers in demographics and developments within the NHS

The Bigger Picture: Understanding disability and care in England’s older population – Analysis of disability and care in the over 65s  at a national, regional and local authority level in England based on census data.

Case studies:

RCP Future Hospitals programme includes a three hospitals which are developing services for frail elderly. See Future Hosptials Development sites.

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People who are homeless

Health support for homeless – results of a search By Anne Gray April 2012

People with disabilities

Making Disability Data Work for You: A Community Data Toolkit – Department for Work and Pensions, September 2014

  • Part 1- how to find and use existing data that has been published at national, regional and local levels, and how to use it. The eight main themes are Disability, Education, Employment, Income, Health and Wellbeing, Transport, Housing, and other disability data. Under each section there are links to key data sources. Includes a summary of the datasets described in the report and a description of the key types of data, their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Part 2 is a basic guide to conducting social research to obtain data that is not available elsewhere.

Department of Health – People with Disabilities [Archived Content]
This website provides an introduction to the Department of Health’s policy relating to disabled peole.

People with learning disabilities

Learning Disability – policies and issues  (Commons Briefing papers SN07058, 12 December 2014) – an examination of the key issues and policy areas affecting people with a learning disability, and looks at what is being done to ensure people with a learning disability have equal rights, access and opportunities.

Improving Health and Lives Learning Disabilities Observatory including:

Search on Sexual health services for people with learning disabilities
Alison Price shares an example of a recent search on this topic using Google and Yahoo.

Autism – overview of policy and services- House of Commons Briefing paper May 2015.

Commissioning learning disabilities services – a collection of resources from Social Care Institute for Excellence

Commissioning healthcare for people with learning disabilities- NHS Confederation briefing (2009) discussing issues in the commissioning of services for people with learning disabilities that meet their specific needs and enhance the development of mainstream services that are fit for purpose.

People with substance misuse problems

Alcohol Resources
A collection of resources from the North West Public Health Observatory.

Commissioning Strategy for Substance Misuse 2012/2015 East Sussex Health and Social Care, March 2012
Includes needs analysis, gap analysis and commissioning intentions.

Drug misuse [Archived Content]
DH page on drug misuse. (This page is no longer updated May 2010)


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