Commissioning and Procurement

What is Commissioning?

Commissioning is the process of finding out about public needs, then designing and putting in place services that address those needs. In this context, it's a process undertaken by public bodies, like central government department or local NHS bodies. It's a decision making process that most frequently involves the procurement (purchasing) of services by either grant-funding or competitive tendering for contracts (a process of which voluntary and community organisations are frequently a part).

Commissioning is carried out by local and national government and public bodies (like local councils or hospitals) who have a statutory responsibility to commission services to meet needs. Commissioning has grown in significance as more and more public services are delivered by external organisations (like the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE)) and as social needs change.

The Commissioning Cycle

  1. Assessing need
  2. Mapping existing services and identifying gaps
  3. Planning to meet needs, deciding priorities, outcomes, identifying resources 
  4. Procuring services
  5. Delivering services
  6. Monitor, review and evaluate

What is Procurement?

Procurement means the purchase of goods or services by a public sector organisation from another, external organisation. The procurement department ‘score’ the pre-qualifying questionnaires (PQQs) and tender documents to ensure that the best provider is awarded the contract, and the services are good value for money and of the required quality. There are strict rules that ensure that the staff ‘procuring’ services are separate from those ‘commissioning’ in order to ensure open and fair competition.

Useful links






Sell goods or services to the public sector



Commissioning and procurement






Commissioning resources






Salford City Council


The Chest - NW Local Authority Procurement Portal



Commissioning pages

Support available

Salford CVS can support VCSE sector organisations that wish to become 'commissioning ready'. We have a range of toolkits that can support you, following a checklist exercise which our development team can support you with.

We also offer introductory training on commissioning and procurement, and a more detailed effective tender writing course. Please contact us for more information.

You can search for tender opportunities here.

Find out about Salford Third Sector Consortium and opportunities for your organisation.


Where To Find Tender Opportunities

GOV.UK - Contracts Finder

Launched on the 26th February 2015, the contracts finder can be used to explore and search for business opportunities with the government for contracts worth over £10,000.

Register with the Contracts Finder.

Watch the video below for tips from Sally Collier on how to win government contracts.

Northwest Chest

Click on current opportunities to view tenders across Greater Manchester and you can also filter opportunities that are specific to Salford. There is also a good FAQ section.
The Chest is free to view and to register.

Skills Funding Agency eTendering Portal

This website provides a suite of collaborative, web-based tools that enable procurement professionals and suppliers to conduct the strategic activities of the procurement lifecycle over the internet. It provides a simple, secure and efficient means for managing tendering activities reducing the time and effort required for both buyers and suppliers.

My Tenders

Search and register for opportunities free.

For further information and support about tendering please contact us at Salford CVS

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Get In Touch

Salford CVS & Volunteer Centre
Registered address 
The Old Town Hall 
5 Irwell Place 
Salford, M30 0FN

Tel: 0161 787 7795 


Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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