Adult Social Care 2017 LocalGovernmentLawyer 26 This article summarises: ● what commissioning is in the context of local authority duties to provide health and social care ● the legal requirements in respect of commissioning ● integrated and joint commissioning, and ● the risk of challenges to commissioning decisions. What is commissioning? The term 'commissioning' has not been defined in legislation or case law and does not have an exact technical meaning. 'Commissioning' is an umbrella term used by local authorities and health providers to refer to the process by which arrangements are made with third parties to deliver services, facilities or resources, or to exercise certain functions, on the authority's or health provider's behalf. This includes identifying and selecting a third party provider and agreeing the terms on which such services are provided and measured, and will often include a competitive tendering or procurement process. As such, local authorities do not have a legal duty to commission particular services, or to be involved in commissioning at all. However, it will most often come into play where local authorities have a duty to provide, or arrange for the provision of, various services, facilities and resources which they choose not to provide directly themselves. This is increasingly the case due to an increased focus on providing better quality, flexible services in a 'proactive', user-friendly manner and at lower cost. Key examples include the duties under: ● sections 2B, 6C or 7A of the National Health Service Act 2006 (NHSA 2006) LexisPSL Local Government, in partnership with Ros Ashcroft and Penny Rinta-Suksi, looks at the challenges faced by local authorities when commissioning health and social care. Commissioning of health and social care by local authorities