About Commissioning NSW

The Commissioning NSW (previously Commissioning and Contestability Unit (CCU)) has been established in NSW Treasury as a centre of excellence to implement a whole-of-government approach to commissioning.  The Commissioning NSW supports the Premiers’ priority of improving government services.

The Commissioning NSW reports to the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance, Services and Property.


CCU reporting structure



CCU is responsible for:

  • the whole-of-government NSW Government Commissioning and Contestability Policy and Practice Guide
  • ensuring that agencies adhere to the requirements set out in the Policy
  • embedding commissioning as a new way of doing business across Government, and building on the significant reforms already underway
  • building and maintaining expert capability in commissioning, for agencies to draw on to provide specialist support and advice for the commissioning of services. The level of assistance provided by the CCU will vary according to agencies’ levels of relevant experience
  • partnering with agencies to deliver, co-lead or lead commissioning and contestability projects with accountabilities to be established on a case-by-case basis
  • working with agencies to identify services that would benefit from a commissioning approach
  • supporting the development of commissioning capability (including capturing lessons learnt) across the sector alongside the Public Service Commission
  • representing Treasury on governance committees for commissioning and/or contestability initiatives
  • reporting to Government on the state of commissioning and contestability activity across the sector.

Commissioning NSW context

Commissioning is available to government to get the best possible service delivery outcomes for the people of NSW.

The NSW Government’s vision for commissioning provides:

A whole-of-government strategic approach to the delivery of quality services to sustainably provide improved outcomes for NSW citizens.


Commissioning policy

The NSW Government Commissioning Policy outlines the Government’s vision, guiding principles and mandate for NSW Government agencies to drive customer-centric service reform and explore ways to create better service outcomes, that puts the customer at the centre of everything we do.

It sets out the requirements for the commissioning of services with a view to designing, funding and enabling services that enhance people’s lives. The Policy is the responsibility of the Commissioning NSW within NSW Treasury.

Under the Policy, commissioning is defined as:

An approach to considering the outcomes that need to be achieved, and designing, implementing and managing a system to deliver these outcomes in the most effective way. It leverages the strengths of the public sector and where appropriate, involves private and non-government organisations and individuals to transform outcomes for customers.

The NSW Government will use commissioning to understand customer needs, determine its role in meeting customer needs, and decide how to create, fund, manage, regulate and evaluate ongoing service delivery systems.

Commissioning enables government to adopt new models and approaches that result in more efficient and effective public services.


Application of the policy

The Policy applies to all NSW Government agencies, and is to be used in the following situations:

  • in developing new service delivery policies and proposals, or when service delivery policies undergo significant review
  • when undertaking portfolio or service delivery reviews
  • where commissioning services impact annual and mid-year budget submissions
  • when undertaking strategic planning and whole-of-agency and/or cross-agency organisational redesign.


Commissioning Practice Guide

Commissioning and contestability process
The Commissioning Compass















The Policy is supported by a NSW Government Commissioning Practice Guide that has been developed in consultation with Government agencies and advisors, as a body of knowledge to support practitioners.

It is an evolving document that will be updated to reflect current need and practice.

The Practice Guide outlines the six primary steps in the commissioning process:

  1. defining outcomes
  2. designing
  3. testing
  4. implementing
  5. managing
  6. evaluating a commissioning system.

It sets out the objectives and considerations for each step in the life cycle.



The Commissioning NSW can be contacted via ccu@treasury.nsw.gov.au

Last updated: 19/01/2021