PHN Commissioning Resources

Page last updated: 18 October 2018


Primary Health Networks (PHNs) use a commissioning approach to procure medical and health care services. PHNs decide which services to commission based on the priority needs of patients in their regions.

However, commissioning encompasses more than just procurement. It is a continual and iterative cycle. The cycle involves strategic planning, procuring services and monitoring and evaluation.

PHN commissioning approaches should result in consistent, comparable and measurable outputs and outcomes. They should also support PHNs to realise their local vision.

The Department of Health (the department) has developed a range of guides and tools about commissioning to help PHNs build their capabilities. These resources are not intended to be prescriptive.

Literature and evidence review on health service commissioning

A literature and evidence review on health services commissioning was completed in March 2016. This review identified the key features of health service commissioning systems, best practice, key challenges and risks.

PHN commissioning capability building

In 2015-16, the department developed guidance, resources and training for PHNs to support them in their commissioning role. These materials focus on the strategic planning phase and the procuring services phase of the PHN commissioning cycle.

In 2017-18, additional commissioning guidance and toolkits were co-designed with PHNs. These materials give further support to PHNs on other key aspects of their commissioning role. The materials were co-designed with the PHN Commissioning Working Group.

Information sheets for providers

It is important that primary health care providers understand PHN commissioning. In 2017-18, information sheets for providers were co-designed with the PHN Commissioning Working Group. These can help providers understand how they can work with PHNs in a commissioning environment.

The information sheet pack includes:

  • Commissioning overview
  • Co-design
  • Procurement approaches
  • Markets
  • Monitoring and evaluation

For more information

For more information on PHN commissioning, go to the PHN: Commissioning Health Services fact sheet.