Commissioning health services in the community

The ACT Health Directorate funds a range of services in the community as part of our public health system. This includes agreements with about 70 non-government providers for the delivery of more than 100 health and mental health services. The contracts for these services are due to expire in June 2022.

Until now, ACT Health has used traditional procurement processes to select and fund health services in the community. This is a top-down approach that largely excludes sector partners from detailed service planning and design, and is not keeping pace with our changing health landscape.

Feedback to ACT Health has highlighted the need for a more inclusive approach to determining the services Canberrans need and value, and the way they are delivered.

In response, we are moving towards a collaborative commissioning approach for the future provision of health services delivered by non-government organisations in the community. This aligns with the position increasingly adopted across Australian jurisdictions and internationally, where commissioning is informing investment in community-based health services and delivering improved client outcomes.

We recognise that this is the beginning of the journey. The move to commissioning will be staged and iterative, allowing our approach to be refined based on a shared experience of commissioning. We acknowledge that it will take time for both sector partners and Government to be ready to sustain commissioning cycles. This year, ACT Health will work with our sector partners to commence collaborative design as we strive to support Canberrans to thrive in the community.

Approach to Commissioning

ACT Health and Community Services Directorate (CSD) acknowledge sector partners’ calls for a single approach to commissioning across both directorates. In response, we jointly developed The ACT approach to commissioning for community and health services.

The draft document was made available for comment during May and June 2021. We thank those who provided feedback, which was summarised in a Key Themes supplementary paper. These themes were used to revise and complete the ACT approach to commissioning, which presents our shared:

  • vision;
  • principles of commissioning practice;
  • priorities of commissioning; and
  • way forward.

This document represents a jointly agreed approach to commissioning for ACT Health, CSD and sector partners for now. However, all parties acknowledge this is a living document that will be updated as our thinking evolves and commissioning work progresses.

The ACT Approach to Commissioning guided the development of a Commissioning Roadmap, which provides more detail regarding the four phases of commissioning across ACT Health and CSD from 2021-2023. It includes:

  • information on how and when we will engage with service users, community and health sector partners;
  • a detailed timeline for commissioning and engagement activities up until June 2023; and
  • initial commissioning pathways identified for each subsector.

Funded services are asked to consider the Commissioning Roadmap as it relates to their particular subsector. ACT Health will make contact with subsectors in the coming weeks to arrange meetings with members of our commissioning and policy teams. These meetings will provide an opportunity for us to work with you to corroborate the timelines and pathways set out in the Commissioning Roadmap.


Where can I get more information?

Page last updated on: 11 Aug 2021