University of Chester

Programme Specification
Health and Social Care Commissioning PGCert
2014 - 2015

Postgraduate Certificate

Health and Social Care Commissioning

Health and Social Care Commissioning

University of Chester

Faculty of Health and Social Care

As determined by the Faculty of Health and Social Care, including Clatterbridge, Chester, Leighton and Warrington campuses.

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year

3 Years

Biannual - February - September



17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Health and Social Care Health and Social Care

  • Knowledge and Skills Framework.
  • QAA Subject Benchmark Statements.
  • National standards, local action: Health and social care standards and planning framework 2005/06-2007/08.

Learning outcomes will be mapped to benchmarks to demonstrate achievement of specific knowledge, skills and competencies, which will be evidenced within the programme management document.

Health and Social Care, Postgraduate Programme Assessment Board

Sunday 1st July 2007

The programme aims to: 

  • offer a flexible and dynamic programme that prepares students to develop the qualities necessary to become effective leaders within their own professional area relevant to health and social care commissioning.
  • promote opportunities for students to work in partnership with others through inter-professional education, and to enhance the provision and quality of care delivery within health and social care commissioning.
  • enable students to consider the impact of the professional role on their organisation, and in the wider context of health and social care commissioning.
  • facilitate the development of a range of students from diverse backgrounds and occupations through provision of contemporary theoretical underpinning, including key areas of competency in health and social care commissioning.
  • enable students to be proactive in recognising the need for change in the working environment, and to contribute, innovate and apply best evidence to promote research-based change and communicate conclusions clearly.
  • enable students to be cognisant of the depth and breadth of health and social care commissioning, and to gain comprehensive higher level knowledge, expertise, judgement and problem-solving skills.
  • develop and promote skills of synthesis, together with critical, analytical and reflective thinking within academic and health and social care environments, to encourage development in others, and to promote an ethos of lifelong learning.

Knowledge and Understanding

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • Systems approaches and the importance of collaboration and participationin their practice.
  • Key concepts, principles, theories and policies in health and social care commissioning.
  • Uniqueness of their own rolein health and social care commissioningand how this can be utilised to empower individuals, groups and communities.
  • Evidence-based approach to the ongoing development of their role and the dissemination of information.
  • Application of the research process and relevance to their own scholarship.
  • Professional, legal and ethical issues.

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

  • Demonstrating self-direction, independence of thought, and the ability to think logically and critically.
  • Accessing, analysing and processing information applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.
  • Working autonomously when exercising need assessment skills to support health and social care commissioning.
  • Utilising higher level analytical skills when evaluating professional work from the student/service user/carer perspectives.
  • Demonstrating independent learning ability when working reflexively and autonomously.
  • Demonstrating originality when exercising innovative and creative thinking strategies.

Practical Skills

  • Exercising innovation and personal responsibility when comprehensively applying a range of relevant assessment,commissioning and evaluation strategies to the role.
  • Communicating effectively with purchasers and providers of health and social care services.
  • Demonstrating innovation in the application of evidence-based practice.
  • Demonstrating leadership within collaborative, inter-disciplinary working practices and partnerships.

Key Skills
  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Change management.
  • Organisational analysis and development.
  • Research skills.
  • Information processing and retrieval.
  • Criticalappraisal.
  • Evidence-based decision making.
  • Leadership.
  • Inter-professional collaboration.
  • Partnership working.
  • Negotiation.

Transferable Professional Skills

  • Demonstrating self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments.
  • Communicating effectively at both individual and organisational levels.
  • Being competent in the use of information technology.
  • Working autonomously and collaboratively, and leading a team.
  • Demonstrating higher literacy and numeracy skills.

The programme will be offered on a modular basis, two thirds of which will be delivered via e-learning. It is designed to meet the NHS Knowledge & Skills Framework (DH 2004) where applicable to the health and social care sector.

The postgraduate certificate contains three accredited modules and can normally be completed within one year.

All modules are worth 20 credits at level 7. All modules have internal integrity and can be linked together to form a coherent programme of learning, but they may also be undertaken as discrete stand-alone modules, or as options within other programmes.

The underlying philosophy of the programme is that of lifelong learning and enhancing inter-professional learning and working. It is envisaged that students studying the programme will become leaders in health and social care commissioning, and will be able to exercise higher levels of judgement and discretion.



Please note, that having been granted derogation from the University Regulations, the following applies to this programme:-

Students must pass every component and module, with a minimum mark of 40%

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
NM7008 7 Health and Social Care Commissioning 20 Comp
NM7012 7 Leadership Development and Change 20 Comp
NM7062 7 Creativity and Innovation in Health and Social Care 20 Comp

Three modulesat 20 credits each = 60 credits at level 7, cumulatively permit students to achieve a postgraduate certificate.

  • Applicants will normally hold a first degree (second class honours or above) or equivalent qualification.
  • Applicants without a first degree will be considered based on their potential to undertake academic study at master's degree level.
  • All applicants must have a current and relevant workplace, or access to a relevant workplace during the period of study.
  • All students should provide evidence of recent study or writing at an appropriate level.
  • All applicants will be invited to attend an interview and induction day, where they will be provided with information regarding study at master's degree level and further programme details.
  • The postgraduate certificate is aimed at a range of professionals who have an interest in health and social care commissioning.

Location within National Standards, Local Action: Health and Social Care Standards and Planning Framework 2005/06 - 2007/08

The core and developmental standards as listed in Standards for Better Health (DH 2004) provide the foundation for this programme. These are specified within the following seven domains: safety; clinical and cost-effectiveness; governance; patient focus; accessible and responsive care; care environment and amenities; and public health.

Location within the National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

The NQF as identified by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2001) is designed to provide and promote academic standards via benchmarking and specifications.

PG Certificates are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

  • A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice.
  • A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.
  • Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline.
  • Conceptual understanding that enables the student:
    To critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline.
    To evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  • Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.

and will have:

  • The qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:
    The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.
    Decision making in complex and unpredictable situations.
    The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

This programme complies with the credits per module and for award as recommended in the Framework and with the NQF qualifications descriptions at each level. The module descriptors clearly demonstrate the competencies expected at the appropriate level, and the amount of student effort required. The level characteristics as described by the QAA in the NQF also relate closely to the overarching characteristics of learning as defined by the University of Chester.

Location within the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework

Although this programme does not directly assess practice, the theoretical underpinning can be mapped to the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework. Some adaptations have been made to account for the clinical bias within the framework.

Two thirds of the programme will be delivered via e-learning.

Knowledge and understanding are gained through small group work, discussion, interactive lectures, seminar presentations, project work, case discussions, tutorials, problem-based learning, action learning sets, experiential learning activities, audio-visual material, e-learning and blended learning, work-related activities, peer learning and self-directed learning.

Intellectual skills are developed through facilitative approaches during interactive lectures, seminar presentations, tutorials, discussion groups, problem-based learning, case studies, learning through practice, peer learning and self-directed learning.

Further opportunities to practise and develop these skills and competencies will be provided during interactive lectures, simulation activities, seminar presentations, tutorials, discussion groups, problem-based learning, and peer and self-directed learning.

Experiential learning, tutorial and seminar work focusing on the student's learning context, and the challenges and skills presented therein, will be encouraged.

Information and communications technology, through the University intranet and other online resources, will be used in the delivery of most aspects of the programme, providing a framework for the provision of the course materials.

The assessment strategy employs a variety of methods to fully assess students' knowledge, understanding and intellectual skills.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Health and Social Care Commissioning uses the following methods of assessment:

Knowledge, understanding and intellectual skills, including thinking and cognitive ability, are assessed through written assignments, seminar presentation, contribution to online discussion, analysis and evaluation of a proposal, self-analysis, action planning, and reflective evaluation.

All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national standards.

All assessment methods are outlined within the module descriptors. Further details are available in the programme management document and module handbooks.

The programme offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a postgraduate, and the assessment criteria, based upon QAA and University of Chester documents, define these characteristics as follows:

  • Reasoning:
    Demonstrate critical reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.
  • Knowledge:
    Critical evaluation of key concepts of knowledge. Extensive systematic reading and demonstration of insight and originality.
  • Theory/practice link:
    Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques which are at the forefront of professional practice.
  • Analysis:
    Demonstrate synthesis and be able to deal with complex issues in an original manner.
  • Problem solving:
    Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current and/or new insights, many of which are at, or informed by, the forefront of professional knowledge and practice.
  • Evaluating evidence and argument:
    Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship and, where appropriate, propose new hypotheses.
  • Communicating:
    Excellent communication skills which can reach a wider audience.

The above criteria highlight the characteristics of postgraduates which are fundamental to their roles in health and social care commissioning, and to their future career pathway. It is envisaged that students who successfully complete the programme will utilise these criteria to become leaders and innovators in the area of health and social care commissioning.

Students undertaking this programme may increase their employability where additional knowledge in health and social care commissioning is a desirable or an essential requirement. This may be applicable to many areas of potential employment within health, social, independent and voluntary sector organisations.

This programme will appeal to students from a variety of backgrounds and workplaces, such as: ambulance service, general practice and professions allied to medicine, child health and social care services, primary care services, police and prison services, public health services, occupational health services, social services, elderly care services, special needs services, mental health services, and services for vulnerable groups.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.


Department of Health (2004). Knowledge and Skills Framework (NHS KSF) and Development Review Process. London: DH Publications.

Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) ( 2007). Statement of common purpose for subject benchmark statements for the health and social care professions. Accessed May 30th 2007 from

Department of Health (2004). National standards, local action: Health and social care standards and planning framework 2005/06-2007/08. London: DH Publications.

NSF National service frameworks and strategies

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