What is commissioning?

Commissioning is the process of making sure that health and care services meet the needs of the population in each local area. Commissioners set priorities and organisations are selected to provide health services for local people.

NSUN seeks to improve service user involvement by supporting people with lived experience to gain proper input into the commissioning of services they use.

Values-based commissioning

Traditional commissioning relies on scientific and research evidence to make decisions about what kinds of services should be prioritised and paid for. This can overlook the experiences and opinions of people who actually use the services, so what’s provided might not meet people’s needs. In ‘values-based’ commissioning, the views and experiences of people who use services have equal weight to the scientific and research evidence.

“Values-based commissioning is a practice where everyone becomes equal partners. Service users, carers, clinicians and managers all become part of the commissioning model regarding mental health. There’s joint ownership and there’s no power issues really. So, services users and carers have more of a say in what goes on in the services they receive”. (Service user and carer)

We know that this is far from the reality in many places at the moment. Many people aren’t happy with the mental health services in their area and some have had poor or even traumatic experiences. Values-based commissioning could be your chance to have a say and change services for the better. Telling commissioners how it feels to be on the receiving end of services and suggesting improvements could make a real difference to health services and the people who used them.


Influencing Mental Health Services, guide to Values Based Commissioning (NSUN in partnership with Mind).

Values based commissioning report