Effective joint planning and commissioning is at the heart of improving outcomes for children and young people through children’s trusts. Every local area both plans and commissions children’s services but current examples of the joint planning and commissioning process are often limited to specific services such as child and adolescent mental health services and youth offending teams.

The framework is designed for people working in all sectors of children, young people and maternity services, including political leaders, senior management, planners, commissioners, finance, legal and other support staff, central and regional government officials.

The publication aims to help local planners and commissioners design a unified system in each local area, creating a clear picture of what children and young people need, and how to link services and use resources more effectively.

This paper sits alongside the Department of Health's joint commissioning framework for health and well-being, and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Best Value guidance.

Visit the ECM Planning and Commissioning website


  • Look at outcomes for children and young people
  • Look at particular groups of children and young people
  • Develop needs assessment with user and staff views
  • Identify resources and set priorities
  • Plan pattern of services and focus on prevention
  • Decide how to commission services efficiently
  • Commission – including use of pooled resources
  • Plan for workforce and market development
  • Monitor and review services and process
  • Annex