Commissioner support

Helping you to work with primary care

With our expertise in primary care contracting, finance and premises we have an unrivalled record of support for commissioners. Find out why so many rely on PCC for long-term support with our events, helpdesk, team development services, webinars, bespoke local workshops and virtual training options.

Our team of advisers covers the full range of primary care contracting types and between them have experience of working at local, regional and national level. Some began their NHS careers working with providers of primary care before moving on to commissioning organisations, and we also have advisers who have worked closely with the policy leads at Government level supporting the development of policy and regulations in England, Wales, Isle of Man and the States of Jersey.

We can support you via either our annual contracts or through our consultancy service. Here is a flavour of the areas of expertise and support we can offer you.

Our support and expertise:

Understanding the legislative and contractual frameworks

We understand that reading pages of regulations and the contract isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. We also appreciate that in today’s busy environment you may not have time to keep up with changes to the regulations and directions. Our advisers can help you with this. Whether it’s a specific query that you have or a particular issue that you are wrestling with our helpdesk is available to those with one of our annual contracts . Here are some of the recently asked questions that our team has dealt with.

Our advisers also provide training on the legislation and the accompanying primary care contracts either via one of the local workshops in your annual contracts, national events that are open to everyone (charges do apply for those without an annual contract), or via a consultancy contract. These workshops are interactive and we use case studies or your scenarios to help you apply the theory to issues that you will face in your day to day work.

Ensuring that your decision and actions are in line with the legislative and contractual framework will reduce the risk of a successful challenge.

Needs assessments

Pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNAs) have been around in England for some time now and Wales will be implementing them soon. Having worked with both the English Department of Health and Social Care and Welsh Government with the policy and regulations for PNAs we have gone on to support a number of English health and wellbeing boards and Welsh health boards in the development of their PNAs. This has ranged from providing virtual support and acting as a critical friend, through to project managing the whole process and drafting the document.

Whilst there is not a regulatory requirement to undertake needs assessments for the commissioning of the other primary care services we can support you in assessing the need for new dental or medical contracts, linking with the findings of the relevant joint strategic needs assessment.

Procurement/market entry

For each of the four primary contracting routes the ability by which a contractor can start to provide NHS services varies.

Whether you are looking for a workshop to understand the rules around procurement for yourself or your providers, or would like hands-on support on a medical or dental procurement then we have a range of associates with the appropriate expertise. We can also provide workshops on bid-writing if you are looking to develop your providers.

Pharmacy market entry requires a detailed understanding of the regulations and process. We can support you in this by running workshops looking at how applications are processed, the decisions that will need to be made as they are processed and how to make the final decision.

In relation to the provision of general ophthalmic services (GOS) we can support you to understand who can hold a GOS contract, how applications are requested and received, which forms to issue and sections to be completed depending on the contractor type, an understanding of how applications are approved, what to do when things go wrong and who needs to be involved at what stage.

Contract and performance management

Once contracts are in place they need to be monitored. Whether it’s dental mid and end year reviews, requests for contract variations, mergers, assigning patients to GP lists or relocations we can provide a range of workshops to assist you in understanding your contracts and what they allow, or require, you and your providers to do. We can also help you, via our consultancy service, ensure that your contracts are up-to-date and robust.


Making reasoned and consistent decisions, avoiding any conflicts of interest, is paramount. We use scenarios in our workshops to help you apply the regulations to those situations that you face in your day to day work whether that’s a relatively straight forward decision or one which could have implications for the rest of the country.


Payments to contractors may be set out in directions, the Drug Tariff, or the contract itself. Can you be confident that you are always making payments as you should? Do you understand the various payment mechanisms? Do your contracts support all the payments that you are making? We can help you with our range of workshops whether they are provided under an annual contract or via our consultancy service.


PCC has historically helped you understand how to apply the Premises Costs Directions. However, the ongoing development of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) means that GP organisations are increasingly working together to deliver services at scale and a common sticking point is the availability of suitable premises to underpin service delivery.

Commissioners of GP led services, GP provider organisations and broader integrated service providers need to navigate the transition from the current estate and ownership models towards a system of estate management and provision that is fit for the future. This is a complex area and there are no easy answers, but PCC has significant knowledge in this area and can provide expert advice to support strategic planning and operational management.

Working with PCC’s experts can remove some of the unknowns and save you valuable time on your journey to a viable future estate. We can provide one to one advice, attend local meetings or provide local workshops as required. Please contact with the subject line “Premises” for more information.

Surgery sessions on hot topics

We are increasingly running surgery sessions for our clients. You bring the queries and we work through them with you. We can either run these sessions in your offices or virtually, either for your team or with our other clients who hold an annual contract. As we work nationally we can share what others are doing and how they are tackling a particular issue. We have also provided these sessions on a national basis for our subscribers so that they can benefit from networking opportunities.

If there is something that you are interested in that isn’t listed above then do contact us. Our adviser team is supported by a team of associates who broaden the expertise and experience that we can offer you so we are confident that we will be able to meet your needs.

For information on specific primary care areas please use the following links:

Ask our advisers

Our helpdesk is available to clients who hold an annual contract with us. It gives you access to the knowledge and expertise of PCC’s adviser team and we answer even the most complex queries within a few working days.

Commissioning and the PCN DES

Our half-day introduction session for commissioning teams is aimed at providing an understanding of the requirements of the PCN DES and what effective delivery means for patients and providers. The session allows time for analysis and discussion on common (and not so common) commissioning issues to support effective decision making.

Events and Workshops

Dental commissioning (primary care) – an introduction to contract management

Over three interactive virtual sessions this course introduces commissioners to the areas of contract management that they will face in their roles that whilst managing the primary care dental contracts. This course is useful to primary care dental commissioners, particularly those new to their roles or those looking for a refresh. For those who are new to their role it would be beneficial to have attended the Dental commissioning – an introduction to dental contracts, covering finance and the contracts course first but it is not mandatory.

Finance for partners in general medical practices

All general medical practice partners, and those considering partnership, should understand financial management and the monetary implications of being a partner. This training includes the essential information all partners need to know, such as the practicalities of being a self-employed partner, managing your tax and personal finances under a non-PAYE model, how partners are remunerated, capital requirements and funding options, including surgery property and pension implications of being a GP partner.

Getting ahead for winter planning 2021/22

PCC and the NHS Confederation PCN Network invite primary care network (PCN) leaders to join this free virtual event to help you to get ahead with winter planning. The event will reflect on your experience, share a winter planning toolkit and our speakers will share their practical experience to inspire you to think creatively about managing your winter pressures, drawing on what worked for your practice and PCN during the pandemic.

Employment law update, including Covid-19 considerations

This workshop supports managers in understanding current employment law including considerations relevant to Covid-19. The session includes managing leave including long term sick leave and the impact of Covid on short term sick leave records, managing quarantine, managing working time and time off, managing health status of employees and hybrid/blended working models. Recruitment to new roles including through the additional roles recruitment scheme are also considered.

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