Information for Commissioners and Policymakers

Achieving clinical excellence

To ensure clinical excellence and the highest standards of care, commissioners of SRH services should ensure that both the doctors and nurses in their workforce are appropriately trained and follow the most up to date clinical standards and guidance – FSRH has the tools to help you achieve this.

We produce regularly updated clinical standards and evidence-based guidance to help those who work in sexual and reproductive healthcare achieve the highest possible standards of care and efficiency. For more information visit our sections on standards and guidance.

Likewise, we believe that successful and efficient service delivery hinges on a well-trained, confident workforce. FSRH offers SRH qualifications and training packages for both doctors and nurses and we are proud to be one of only a few medical bodies to welcome nurses into our membership and help them achieve the full career equivalent of FSRH diploma – the NDFSRH . Find out more by visiting our Careers and Training pages.

Providing independent clinical advice for tenders

FSRH has a number of experienced sexual and reproductive healthcare clinicians who are willing to act as ‘advisors’ to commissioners or managers wanting to review or tender their SRH service. These clinicians are based across the UK and can travel outside of the area that they work in to ensure no conflict of interest.

For more information please contact Harry Walker at

Key policy documents for service planning, delivery and commissioning

In the below tabs are some of the key Government, local government and wider sexual and reproductive health sector policy and best practice documents, which can be used to help inform and support local planning and commissioning decisions in each of the four UK nations.

Nb Many of the best practice recommendations made in these documents can be applied across all 4 of the UK nations. 


Read more about key guidance that can be used to support service planning, delivery and commissioning

Data and cost benefit tools


Public Health England (2018) - Contraceptive services: estimating the return on investment
A resource to help policy-makers and commissioners estimate the return on investment for publicly funded contraception.

Public Health England (2018) - Sexual and reproductive health: Spend and Outcome Tool (SPOT)
Guidance to help Local Authorities on using SPOT for improving sexual and reproductive health.

Public Health England (2018) Sexual health, reproductive health and HIV in England: A guide to local and national data
This guide explores where and how to access the wide range of SRH datasets available to inform service planning, commissioning and the evaluation of SRH initiatives.

Public Health England (2017) Sexual health, reproductive health and HIV: commissioning review
Findings from a national survey of commissioning arrangements for sexual health, reproductive health and HIV.

Public Health England  Sexual and Reproductive Health Profiles: Fingertips data
The Sexual and Reproductive Health Profiles have been developed by Public Health England (PHE) to support local authorities, public health leads and other interested parties in monitoring local and national trends in sexual and reproductive health, enabling them to compare local figures against the national average and neighbouring local authorities

Bayer (2016) “Impact of unplanned pregnancies on local authority budgets calculator”
Bayer have developed a modelling calculator to help local authorities better understand healthcare and wider public sector costs of unplanned live births. With public health and local authority budgets under significant pressure, the calculator uses a robust and very conservative methodology to demonstrate that investing in contraception is highly cost-effective, even when NHS spending is excluded.

Best Practice Guidance


Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (2015) Better care, a better future: a new vision for sexual and reproductive healthcare in the UK
FSRH’s Vision sets out the fundamental principles that should underpin SRH provision for all to ensure that service users can access high quality SRH as standard

Public Health England (2019) -  Using Audit in Commissioning sexual health, reproductive health and HIV services. Guidance for commissioners
Guidance for commissioners on how audits can contribute to assuring both the quality of service provision and the continuous quality improvement in sexual health, reproductive health, and HIV services.

Public Health England (2019) -  Pharmacy offer for sexual health, reproductive health and HIV
Information to raise awareness with commissioners and providers of the community pharmacy offer for sexual health, reproductive health and HIV services.

Public Health England & Local Government Association (2018) -  Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Framework
Guidance for local teenage pregnancy prevention programmes to help young people avoid unplanned pregnancies and develop healthy relationships 

Department for Health & Social Care (2018) -  Sexual Health Services: Key Principles for Cross Charging. Updated guidance for commissioners and providers of sexual and reproductive health services in England
Guidance is aimed at both Commissioners and Providers to support the development of fair and transparent cross charging approaches across footprints in England. It includes examples of cross-charging agreements from local authorities.

Public Health England (2018) -  Public Health Matters. The sexual health commissioning cycle: doing and reviewing
Third blog in a series on sexual health commissioning authored by Kate Folkard, PHE's National Chlamydia Screening Programme Manager and the project lead in the development of PHE’s framework for national commissioning of HIV, sexual and reproductive health services.  

Public Health England (2018) -  Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV: applying All Our Health
A framework of evidence to guide healthcare professionals working in the SRH and HIV sectors

Public Health England (2016) A framework for supporting teenage mothers and young fathers
Public Health England outlines models of best practice for multiagency support for young parents across different care settings. See FSRH’s quick reference guide for applying the framework here

NHS Clinical Commissioning (2016) Making Difficult Decisions: Commissioning healthcare in changing times
This document sets out ways in which CCGs can command the confidence of the public, local populations and patients. It also gives top tips on evidence-based decision making and identifying opportunities for improvement and safe and cost-effective change in service provision

Public Health England (2015) Making it Work: A guide to whole system commissioning for sexual, reproductive health and HIV
A guide to sexual and reproductive health and HIV commissioning, focusing on how to foster a whole system approach

Public Health England (2013) Commissioning regional and local HIV sexual and reproductive health services
Outlines responsibilities for commissioning SRH services and how to develop service specifications and contracts

Department of Health (2013) A Framework for Sexual Health Improvement in England
This document aims to provide the information, evidence base and support tools to enable those involved in sexual health improvement to work together effectively.

Local Government Association (2013) “Sexual Health Commissioning FAQs”
A guide to sexual health commissioning

NICE Best Practice Guidance


Below you will find NICE best-practice guidance and standards relating to different aspects of SRH care. All of these guidelines and standards are accompanied by tools and resources to support commissioning and help put this guidance into practice:

Policy Makers


In this section FSRH provides useful documents and evidence for policy makers to help guide their decision making process surrounding SRH policy.

Public Health England (2018) - Contraceptive services: estimating the return on investment
A resource to help policy-makers and commissioners estimate the return on investment for publicly funded contraception.

FPA (2015)

Unprotected Nation

In FPA’s updated Unprotected Nation 2015 the financial and economic impacts of restricted contraceptive and sexual health services are explored.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the UK (2015) 
Breaking down the barriers: The need for accountability and integration in sexual health, reproductive health and HIV services in England

A comprehensive report raising the need for national accountability in SRH, improved integration between services, a national standard contract which sets out minimum standards for service providers, continued professional development for the SRH work force, a clear outline to Local Authorities about what services they must commission to ensure ‘open access SRH services’ and the need for Local Authorities to be held to account for their spending of the public health budget.


Guidance on Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) delivery


Terrence Higgins Trust (2016)

SRE…shh no talking: LGBT-inclusive sex and relationships education in the UK
THT use this report to highlight the lack of high quality sex and relationship education across the UK and emphasise the importance of LGBT-Inclusive SRE from a young age. THT make several UK-wide recommendations, including making SRE a universal, comprehensive statutory part of the curriculum in all schools, as well as individual recommendations for each of the UK’s devolved nations.

PSHE Association, Brook and Sex Education Forum (2014)

Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) for the 21st Century

This advice compliments guidance the PSHE Association have previously produced for schools with information that addresses 21st century challenges such as the impact of sex and pornography in the media.

Department for Education (2000)
Sex and relationship education guidance

This Government document aims to guide schools and teachers on some of the sensitive issues they may have to deal with when teaching sex and relationship education. It also outlines some practical strategies for teaching and addresses some of the issues for schools concerning confidentiality.

Other Useful Documents


Public Health England (2016) 

Health child programme 0-19: health visitor and school nurse commissioning

PHE’s guide to assist Local Authorities in the commissioning of health visiting and school nursing services for children aged 0-19

National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network (2016)

Teenage parent outcomes modelling tool

This tool gives Local Authorities the opportunity to model the potential impact of services that aim to improve outcomes for teenage parents and their children, bringing together data on conception rates and factors that influence outcomes for teenage parents and their children.

Local Government Association (2016)

The community pharmacy offer for improving the public’s health

This briefing for councillors, senior council officers and commissioners outlines community pharmacy’s increasing role in public health and how several SRH services could be commissioned from community pharmacy.

Local Government Association and Public Health England (2015) 
Good progress but more to do: Teenage pregnancy and young parents

The LGA’s document provides case studies of best practice and innovative whole system approaches to reducing teenage pregnancy across England

Public Health England (2015) 
Action Plan 2015-16: Promoting the health and wellbeing of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men

Public Health England’s evidence and action plan to address the health and wellbeing inequalities affecting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men 



Read more about key guidance that can be used to support service planning, delivery and commissioning in Wales

Welsh Assembly Government Documents and Links


Welsh Assembly Government (2013) 

Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation

This guidance is designed to assist practitioners in preventing child sexual exploitation (CSE), protecting children and young people who are at risk of abuse or are abused through sexual exploitation and prosecuting those who perpetrate this form of abuse

Welsh Assembly Government (2010) 
Sexual Health and Wellbeing Action Plan for Wales 2010-2015 

This document highlights the importance of prevention, education, individual responsibility, and access to healthcare services in relation to sexual and reproductive healthcare. It also aims to promote a culture where sexual health and sex and relationships are spoken about comfortably and openly in Wales.

Welsh Assembly Government (2005) 
National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services

This document sets out the quality of services children, young people and their families have the right to expect and receive in Wales.


Read more about key guidance that can be used to support service planning, delivery and commissioning in Scotland

Read more from the Scottish Government


The Scottish Government (2016) 
Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy

The Strategy emphasises the fact that supporting young people in this area cannot be achieved by health interventions alone and promotes tackling deprivation, inequality and lack of aspiration and opportunity head on.

The Scottish Government (2014, updated 2016) 
Equally Safe: Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls 
Equally Safe focuses on the importance of prevention of violence against women and girls, prioritising how to achieve greater gender equality, early interventions and tackling perpetrators.

The Scottish Government (2015) 

Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework 2015-2020 Update

This Framework seeks to strengthen and improve the way in which the NHS in Scotland, the Third Sector and Local Authorities support and work with individuals at risk of poor sexual health and blood borne viruses.

The Scottish Government (2015) 
Communications Toolkit Health and Social Care Integration: A guide to support the local implementation of Health and Social Care Integration
A toolkit containing practical resources and information aimed at anyone involved in the implementation of health and social care integration to help local areas to communicate the purpose and outcomes of integration.

Social Work Services Strategic Forum (2015) 
Social Services in Scotland: A Shared Vision and Strategy 2015-2020
Developed by key stakeholders working in social services in Scotland, this strategy recognises the unique role of social services. The document shares a vision for sustainable social services and sets out where additional action is needed to ensure high-quality social care services that empower, support and protect better outcomes for people and communities.

The Scottish Government (2012) 
Health Promoting Health Action: Action in Hospital Settings
CEL setting out the importance of the concept that "every healthcare contact is a health improvement opportunity" and recommended Board actions to implement this.

Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) (2010) 
Reducing Teenage Pregnancy: Guidance and self-assessment tool

Guidance on reducing teenage, reflecting the best national and international evidence on the most effective interventions and approaches in reducing teenage pregnancy.

The Scottish Government (2010) 
The Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHS Scotland
The Quality Strategy centres on putting people at the heart of the NHS and cultivating its staff’s commitment to providing the best possible care by making measurable improvement in care quality.

The Scottish Government (2010) 
Getting it Right for Every Child (GIFREC)
GIRFEC supports children, young people and their parent(s) to work in partnership with the services that are best placed to help them. It aims to improve the outcomes and wellbeing of children and young people in Scotland by promoting the provision of the right help at the right time from the right people.

NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (2008)
Standards for Sexual Health Services
NHS Quality Improvement Scotland’s service standards for sexual health services, which focus on six key areas: access to services, coordination of approach, capacity of services, equity of service provision, choice of service provision and quality of care delivery.

NHS Health Scotland has also launched a new, interactive web resource for the outcomes framework developed for the Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young Parents (PPYP) Strategy. Outcomes frameworks can help the planning and evaluation of health improvement work.

N Ireland

Read more about key guidance that can be used to support service planning, delivery and commissioning in Northern Ireland

Read more from the N. Ireland Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety


Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (2016) 

Guidance for Health and Social Care Professionals on Termination of Pregnancy in Northern Ireland

A clarification of the laws regarding abortion in Northern Ireland to enable clinicians to undertake their medical duties with confidence

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) (2013) Review of Sexual Health Services in Northern Ireland
This document makes 16 recommendations for improving specialist sexual health services in Northern Ireland, including integrating commissioning arrangements between SRH and GUM services and the development of regional service frameworks

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (2008) 
Progress and Priorities: Addendum to the sexual health promotion strategy and action plan (2008-2013) to December 2015