Planning for transformation

Between January and June 2016, health and care economies in England will need to embark on a rapid and robust planning process to determine how they will transform services over the next five years.

This section brings together information and resources to help members with the planning process, and to keep track of key milestones.

This page will be regularly updated – add it to your bookmarks and sign up for Member Update to receive the latest news and resources direct to your inbox.

Planning guidance Technical guidance
2016/17 NHS standard contract Approved costing guidance
Sustainability and transformation plans
National tariff 2016/17
Roadmaps Better Care Fund
NHS Mandate Our resources

Planning guidance

Delivering the Forward View: NHS shared planning guidance 2016/17–2020/21, published on 22 December 2015, sets out steps to deliver a sustainable, transformed health service. It includes the key priorities for the system and the business rules and incentives that will support delivery.

Our briefing summarises the points of most relevance to Confed members and can be used to inform discussions over the coming months. The Mental Health Network's summary also provides the key issues and missed opportunities for mental health.

Technical guidance

Most of the supplementary technical guidance for commissioners and providers is now available on NHS England's website

The technical guidance and its supporting annexes provide more information about the planning timetable, where to find support, content and assurance arrangements for operational plans, and guidance on the various data returns and templates organisations will need to use. 

Annex four on the Better Care Fund is available on NHS England's website.

NHS England has also issued guidance on the use of 1 per cent non-recurrent spend to create a risk reserve.

2016/17 NHS standard contract

NHS England is consulting on the draft NHS standard contracts (both full-length and shorter-form versions) for 2016/17 until March 2016. The draft versions can be accessed from NHS England's website.

Updated approved costing guidance

Monitor has updated the Approved costing guidance for providers of NHS-funded services. The guidance:

  • sets out the costing principles and standards, and guidance for both reference costs and patient-level information and costing systems (PLICS) collections for the year
  • explains the approach to costing and cost collection that we are encouraging providers of NHS services to adopt
  • tells providers how to comply with the pricing conditions of Monitor’s provider licence that relate to the recording of costs
  • supports the continuous improvement of costing processes in the NHS.

Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs)

The planning guidance asked every health and care system to produce its own sustainability and transformation plan (STP) for October 2016 to March 2021. 'Transformation footprints', the geographic scope of STPs, had to be agreed and submitted by 29 January.

On 16 February, NHS England wrote to CCG accountable officers, chief executives of NHS trusts, foundation trusts and local authorities and LETB geographical directors to explain more about STPs

The footprints were announced on 15 March, made up of 44 geographic regions ranging in size.

Our Independent Healthcare Providers Network has issued a briefing on the role the independent sector can play in helping individual footprints to meet the stated requirements for STPs and in ensuring the plans are effectively delivered. Download Capital, capacity and capability from the resources library.

NHS Improvement has issued further guidance on the Sustainability and Transformation Fund and financial controls for 2016/17.

To support Confed members and their local partners with this new approach to planning, we’ve compiled a list of five issues to consider when developing STPs

National tariff 2016/17

Monitor and NHS England published the national tariff on 23 March. The tariff specifies "the currencies, national prices, method for determining those prices, local pricing and payment rules, the methods for determining local modifications and related guidance that make up the national tariff payment system for 2016/17." 

The national tariff comes into effect on 1 April 2016.

NHS Improvement also issued the latest economic assumptions for NHS provider inflation over the period 2016/17 to 2020/21.

"We recommend that providers apply these assumptions when undertaking planning and forecasting activities, while also taking account of local circumstances, opportunities and pressures,"  Monitor's website says.

"These numbers supersede the most recently published set of medium term assumptions, published by Monitor in July 2015."


On 11 February, NHS Improvement published the first in a series of 'roadmaps', which set out the key priorities for the organisations responsible for delivering high-quality health and care.

The first roadmap is for NHS provider organisations. The report:

  • outlines the challenges and changes ahead
  • describe a coherent set of activities for NHS providers in the coming years
  • show how providers across the country are beginning to deliver these
  • outline the support providers can expect from NHS Improvement

Better Care Fund

For 2016/17 it has been agreed that the BCF planning and assurance process be integrated as fully as possible with the core NHS operational planning and assurance process. Technical guidance on the BCF, an annex to the planning guidance, is now available on NHS England's website.

Details of clinical commissioning groups' allocations for 2016/17 can also be found on the organisation's BCF planning web page.

NHS Confederation publications

Planning for transformation: Our resources

Make use of these recent NHS Confederation resources when developing transformation plans.


Transformation timeline

Keep track of all the key dates and milestones in the 2016/17 planning process with our interactive timeline and at-a-glance guide.

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