Engaging in Commissioning

Commissioning is a central part of the approach to redesigning services because it offers a means of joining-up resources to focus on improving outcomes for citizens in the most efficient and effective way both now and into the future

Sport and culture have an excellent track record in contributing to improved outcomes for local communities, but in the changing environment for public services there is a greater need to demonstrate evidence of that impact, increased value for money, and continued service excellence.

Engaging in Commissioning is a resource pack, jointly produced by the Local Government Association (LGA), Sport England, Arts Council England and the Chief Culture and Leisure Officers Association which outlines how, by engaging in commissioning, the sport and culture sector can meet the wider objectives of councils and their communities.

In broad terms, the pack is for the sport and culture sector. Specifically it will be of most use to:

  • Council culture and sports teams
  • Culture and sport partnerships and networks
  • Individual culture or sport organisations
  • Cabinet portfolio-holders for culture and sport.

The pack seeks to address a range of levels of experience – from those who know very little about commissioning to those who have some experience and want to develop this to the next level or in new service areas.

What are the costs?

It is a free web resource.

What can it be used for?

It will depend on who you are, your experience to date, what you are eager to know and how you want to organise yourself and your organisation or team.

You can use the pack in any order.

You may find it interesting to read through the lessons learned or the mapping document to get a flavour of the material and then move to the step-by-step. Or you could begin with a self-assessment and then start on the step-by-step and use the lessons learned along the way.

The components have been separated so that there is flexibility according to your needs and the material is available in digestible elements to use when it helps you most.

You may want to use it in conjunction with the Culture and Sport Outcomes framework, which will help you demonstrate sport’s contribution to better outcomes for individuals, communities and places.

What will it tell me?

There are five components to the pack. Each component is a separate document.


This component is a simple introduction to the pack and how to use it.

Lessons learned

Based on extensive research and development, with both commissioners and culture and sport organisations, this component distils some lessons learned and includes a number of short case studies to illustrate what this means in practice.


Engaging in commissioning requires some thinking and planning. This component suggests a framework for this and includes lots of practical information on who commissioners are and where you might find them, how to find out how commissioning is working in your area and different ways and entry points to get engaged.

Sample mapping document

This document is an illustration of what a map of the commissioning landscape might look like. It is drawn from mapping exercises undertaken in a number of areas and gives a flavour of the kind of information that can be gathered through the process, how commissioners describe their priorities, the opportunities for working with culture and sport and barriers that may need to be overcome.


There are three sets of self-assessment guides, aimed at different audiences: elected members and their relationship managers and regional improvement leads; service managers in local authorities; and individual organisations. These guides frame the questions that will help to assess where you are and the actions you need to take to move forward. They are linked to other parts of the pack.

Where can I find out more?

Access the resource on the LGA’s website though the launch button below.

Or contact your Sport England Local Government Relationship Manager in the relevant local outreach team.