Launching the framework last week, Bill McCarthy, director of policy and strategy at the department, said it would give local councils and primary care trusts the green light to spend NHS resources on the services they think will best suit local needs.
"This frees up local health services to make their own decisions on how to spend NHS money," he said.
Also speaking at the launch, Andy Burnham, the department's minister of state for delivery and reform, said the framework could see a bigger role for voluntary agencies keen to deliver user-focused services.
"There are several good examples of how services can be enhanced by engaging the voluntary sector," he said.
The department has opened a consultation on the framework, called the Commissioning Framework for Health and Wellbeing, which will run until May.