Using the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation payment framework

The CQUIN payment framework makes a proportion of providers’ income conditional on quality and innovation. Its aim is to support a shift towards the vision set out in High Quality Care for All of an NHS where quality is the organising principle. The framework helps ensure quality is part of the commissioner-provider discussion everywhere. It has been designed based on feedback from partners in the NHS and the evidence available

The Department of Health has produced guidance on the payment framework available  here (here455.34 KB).   There is also a set of frequently asked questions.

SHA CQUIN leads met in July 2009 and agreed a list of characteristics of a good CQUIN scheme (a good CQUIN scheme56.97 KB).

In the first year of the CQUIN framework (2009/10), there has been lots of activity across England to develop and agree CQUIN schemes. This is a developmental process for everyone and you are encouraged to share your schemes (and any supporting information on the process you used) to meet the requirement for transparency and support improvement in schemes over time.  To share examples of local work please email Rachel Hinde.

Click here to view examples of CQUIN schemes.

Click here to view examples of local quality incentive schemes that existed prior to the CQUIN payment framework. 

These pages will be updated with details of support available in your area as well as any national products and support. A nationwide event on quality was held on 16 February 2009 in Birmingham; presentations from the day are available here.

If you have additional questions on the framework please email the CQUIN mailbox.

Useful links:

NHS Operating Framework and National Contracts (
High Quality Care for All (
Measuring for Quality improvement (
NHS Institute commissioning support (