Sydney North Health Network adopts a commissioning based approach to planning local health services with the aim of improving the health of people living in our region. We work collaboratively with stakeholders across the health and social care economy to set the strategic direction, drive service improvements and achieve system change.

View our commissioning framework here.

What is Commissioning?

Commissioning isn’t just simply purchasing services. It’s a strategic process of working with the market to co-design, co-deliver and actively manage services to most effectively and efficiently meet the needs and improve outcomes of a defined population within resources available.

Sydney North Health Network’s Integrated Commissioning Framework is a continuous process of planning, delivering, monitoring and reviewing health services with a focus on person centred outcomes.

How will Commissioning work at SNHN?


  • Our Needs Assessment forms the basis for commissioning plans and will be based on the health needs of the Northern Sydney population as identified from the undertaking of a regional needs assessment.
  • Stakeholder engagement is an important part of successful commissioning. SNHN will work with patients, providers and the wider community to define problems, gaps and identify appropriate solutions. SNHN will engage both their Clinical and Community Councils along with the wider community.
  • Service co-design – SNHN will work with patients, carers, service providers and wider stakeholders to co-design services. This approach is supported by evidence which shows that involving patients and the public in the planning, design and delivery of health and social care services leads to more coordinated and efficient services. Engagement with stakeholders extends beyond the planning stage and will be included at all stages of commissioning.


  • Co-delivery is building positive stakeholder relationships and co-designing services for implementation. Additionally, it is undertaking procurement processes as required, exploring and securing solutions by buying services to address the needs jointly identified during the planning process.
  • Build capacity – SNHN will invest in the capacity and capability of staff to enable them to undertake activities required of a commissioning organisation and achieve organisational excellence. Capacity building of providers in the potential market may also be required before any formal procurement process is undertaken.
  • Support for wider stakeholder groups throughout the design and implementation of any new service change. This will include market stimulation and development which in turn will drive quality. SNHN will also promote collaboration between providers.


  • Informatics: Will support the development of robust performance frameworks against which to measure performance of commissioned services and the system as a whole.
  • Promote quality: By adopting an outcomes based approach to commissioning, which will develop over time as internal and external capacity and capability increases. Quality standards will be built into provider contracts.
  • Drive improvements: Using active management of contracts and services as a basis for planning future service transformation. Exploring new service models and encouraging providers to adopt innovative approaches to achieving outcomes.


  • Outcomes will be used as the basis of measuring performance of commissioned services.
  • Impact on health outcomes at the population level will determine the success of programs and revised areas of focus for future planning.
  • Inform Re-design – impact on outcomes will inform service redesign. Commissioning is a cyclical process with regular reviews and lessons learnt to inform next steps and no stage being an end point. All stages provide valuable information on areas of need and further development.

Commissioning Principles

Our approach to commissioning is underpinned by Nationally Agreed Primary Health Network Commissioning Principles.

How will SNHN work with you?

SNHN will use our Integrated Commissioning Framework to engage, collaborate and partner with our community in order to improve health outcomes.

Health Consumers & Community

  • The SNHN Community Council provides an opportunity for consumers to help shape local healthcare on behalf of their communities.
  • We also post surveys on our website and hold forums and events to enable the wider community to have their say.

Health Professionals & Service Providers

  • The SNHN Clinical Council brings together local clinicians to provide guidance on clinical issues relevant to primary care, including providing input to determine local health priorities, developing strategies and identifying opportunities for improvements across primary/acute healthcare interfaces.
  • We will also engage with you through forums, events and meetings.
  • Become a member of Sydney North Health Network for an opportunity to have your say on current and future health programs and access a range of other benefits by clicking here.

Tender Opportunities

Funding opportunities including tenders and grants will be posted on our website and can be accessed by clicking here.