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Commissioning is a now a key task for health and social care - and yet policy aspirations often outstrip the infrastructure needed to support commissioners as they take difficult decisions about future services and to make commissioning a career of choice for future leaders. While commissioning was important under New Labour, it seems set to be even more fundamental now as commissioners think about future services in an era of austerity. Against this background, this is the first comprehensive text on a key area of management practice , exploring what commissioning is, where it has come from and where it might be taking us. With a wide range of leading contributors from fields including health care, social care, local government , the book takes students, practitioners and managers through key stages of the commissioning cycle as well as addressing cross-cutting themes such as the economics of commissioning, user involvement and commissioning in an era of personalisation. It is essential reading for everyone involved in the planning and delivery of health and social care - for social policy students, health and social care practitioners, managers and policy makers alike.