Interested parties have until 5 January to respond to the Modernising Commissioning green paper, which does not contain specific new proposals, but instead seeks views on the government's current plans for action.
These include payment by results, setting targets for service delivery by independent providers, streamlining the procurement process and giving voluntary organisations a new 'right to challenge' local authorities when they think they can provide better services.
The consultation also asks for feedback on its plans to launch a new website called Contract Finder in March next year. The free site will host all central government tender documents and contracts.
The green paper says "the government will consider the relationship between Contracts Finder and Funding Central".
Nick Hurd, the minister for civil society, said the green paper would feed into a public service reform white paper next year.
"We need smarter commissioning processes that take into account the social and environmental impact of organisations awarded contracts," he said.