Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are being encouraged to work in closer collaboration with voluntary sector organisations.
The NHS Alliance has joined forces with the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) to launch the Clinical Commissioner's Guide to the Voluntary Sector, in which it calls for a revolution in NHS and community links and closer collaboration between clinical commissioners and voluntary sector organisations.
It is claimed CCGs and the voluntary sector have a lot to learn from each another if they are to maximise the potential of strong local partnerships.
Dr Michael Dixon, Chairman of the NHS Alliance, said the NHS has in the past failed "to make the most of the potential" of the voluntary sector.
"This needs to change," he said.
"The [voluntary] sector is key to developing health services that are integrated, innovative, patient-led and meet the needs of local communities.
"Clinical commissioners will have to develop strong relationships with the sector to create a platform for collaborative commissioning and strengthen links with organisations and the people they benefit."
In exploring three key areas – QIPP, patient and public involvement and collaborative commissioning- the guide aims to provide commissioners with a road map to working and developing partnership with voluntary sector organisations.
Sir Stephen Bubb, CEO of ACEVO, said commissioners can "benefit greatly" from the voluntary sector's close links to communities and beneficiaries, its understanding of patients' needs and priorities, and its capacity for innovation.