Setting levels of ambition for outcomes in local NHS commissioning: process evaluation

Closed 11 Dec 2014

Opened 17 Nov 2014


The NHS planning guidance (Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2014/15 to 2018/19) asked commissioners to plan on a five year trajectory for the first time, to enable the NHS to capitalise on opportunities for transformational change and improvement.  

For 2014/15, all Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), together with their NHS England Area Teams, were asked to jointly set ‘levels of ambition’ against seven overarching outcome areas, five of which were to be quantifiable ambitions. These outcome areas spanned the 5 domains of the NHS Outcomes Framework, providing an opportunity for the NHS to articulate for the first time at a local and national level the outcomes it will achieve for patients for the taxpayers money invested in it.

Setting levels of ambition for outcomes is one of a number of stimuli encouraging CCGs to commission on the basis of population outcomes.

NHS England now asks relevant colleagues in CCGs, Area Teams and Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) to complete this short survey, which should take no more than 10-15 minutes.

Why your views matter

NHS England, in partnership with the NHS Commissioning Assembly Quality & Outcomes Working Group, is committed to supporting local commissioners to set outcome ambitions that are as credible and ambitious as possible in order to drive improvement across the outcome areas locally and nationally.  The aim of this survey is to:

  • Understand any early impact of setting levels of ambition for outcomes;
  • Improve the process that local areas are asked to follow when setting levels of ambition for outcomes in future exercises;
  • Determine the level and type of support required for future exercises by:
  • assessing of the usefulness (and take-up) of the central support resources provided;
  • ascertaining what additional support resources would be useful in future

The setting of levels of ambition is a new process. We recognise that the process will develop and improve over time. The information provided will not be used for any other purpose other than those listed above.    

Who should complete this questionnaire within my organisation?
This survey is directed at colleagues within CCGs, NHS England Area Teams and CSUs.  We would like to hear from colleagues who were involved in setting levels of ambition for outcomes (see Key Lines of Enquiry 2(c) for further informaiton on where the 'ask' appears in the planning guidance  – Improving quality & outcomes’ of the NHS England Planning strategy template).

What happens next

NHS England will use your feedback to improve our processes and procedures.  If you provide your contact details, we may get in contact with you for further information.


  • Area Team directors


  • NHS Outcomes Framework
  • System wide approach to quality
  • Commissioning