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Header image for the current page Direct Commissioning

Business Intelligence Support for NHS England Directly Commissioned Services

NHS England directly commissions a range of health services including specialised, specialised mental health, health and justice, armed forces, secondary care dental, as well as some public health (schedule 7a).

With almost £20 billion per year currently spent on directly commissioned services, NHS England relies on accurate, timely and meaningful information to ensure service quality and value. This is particularly crucial for specialised services which account for 90% of the spend and include a range of treatments from more well-known interventions such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy through to pioneering procedures such as prenatal surgery and proton beam therapy.

From April 2024 onwards, it is anticipated that a significant portion of specialised services (65 services out of 160) will be delegated to Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) as part of a more holistic, joined up approach to local commissioning.

Arden & GEM, supported by NECS, provides BI services to NHS England for directly commissioned services. This is delivered in two parts and includes a national and regional footprint. The service possesses extensive subject matter expertise across all areas of direct commissioning which enables it to manage the end-to-end data and analytical journey.

We provide analytical capability to a wide range of stakeholders including commissioners, service specialists, transformation teams and pharmacy teams. The service is tailored to meet each stakeholders needs and priorities, working in collaboration to ensure priorities align and deliverables are of a high quality.

We have delivered an extensive range of projects and accomplishments, including:

  • Developing and maintaining a national data repository and reporting suite including all data relating to direct commissioning
  • Data processing, loading and oversight of a large range of NHS England Schedule 6 data flows
  • Identifying and supporting the resolution of key data quality and compliance issues associated with NHS England Direct Commissioning data flows
  • Development, delivery and maintenance of a national drugs and CDF (Cancer Drugs Fund) validation
  • Delivery of clinical registry data sources, making them available within the NCDR for onwards reporting by a range of stakeholders
  • Operational support to NHS England priorities such as planning, delegation and transformation
  • Service specific analytical support focused on patient pathways, clinical services and outcomes
  • Support to Clinical Networks including data availability, subject matter expertise and analytical capability
  • Supporting delivery of Long Term Plan objectives and the Triple Aim duty.


As NHS England delegates some of its statutory responsibilities, in relation to directly commissioned services, to ICSs, Arden & GEM is at the forefront of this process, supporting on a number of workstreams and outputs.

This includes the delivery of a range of ICB packs which provide an overview of specialised service areas being delegated. These packs are designed to give ICBs a basic understanding of the services being delegated and an opportunity to investigate those services for their population. There are also reports that look at patient flows for certain services, identifying where patients live and where they are travelling to for treatment. 

All data relating to NHS England Directly Commissioned services is managed centrally by the Arden & GEM data processing and reporting unit (DPRU) and can be made readily accessible via the NCDR.

We are keen to work with any stakeholders in support of the delegation agenda and ensure full utilisation of our subject matter expertise developed over the last ten years. Support can include simple service expertise through to a full bespoke service offering, depending on your needs. You can contact us by filling in the form below.

Clinical Networks

Through our work in direct commissioning, we have a wealth of expertise and experience in relation to Clinical Networks.

Clinical Networks have the potential to enhance services and improve outcomes by encouraging communication, interaction and collaboration. We are currently supporting a wide range of Clinical Networks, at a system, regional and national level, with a focus on effective implementation and increasing influence. This work has enabled the team to further develop and hone their clinical and service specific subject matter expertise in areas such as renal, cancer and neonatal critical care.


You can find out more about our business intelligence services and support for direct commissioning by accessing the resources below:


For more information or support relating to direct commissioning business intelligence please complete the form below: