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HEALTH - CUMBRIA CC SHOWING THE WAY ON WORKING TOGETHER

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Today, Cumbria CC's cabinet agreed the arrangements to approve the use of Health Act flexibility agreements between...
Today, Cumbria CC's cabinet agreed the arrangements to approve the use of Health Act flexibility agreements between the county council and the health service. The Health Act 1999 enables local councils and the NHS to work together more closely by removing legal obstacles. The three main changes enabling partnership working are the use of:

* Pooled budgets

* Integrated provision of services

* Lead commissioning of services by one organisation on behalf of another

John Mallinson, cabinet spokesman for care and social services explains what the use of Health Act flexibilities means to people using services. He says:

'We have agreed today the management process to promote the use of these flexibilities to improve the delivery of health and social services for people across Cumbria. Where there are significant resource implications or fundamental changes in the way the county council currently provides a service, the cabinet will deal with those agreements. Other agreements within previously agreed strategies or where the county council resources involve less than£500,000 these will be agreed by the director of social services and myself.

'Cumbria CC has led the way on using Health Act flexibilities to better serve users of health and social care services. This is a further commitment to working better with health to best support people in the community. We need to work closely with health care services to jointly fund provide care services. This integration makes access to services easier, reduces duplication of effort and makes best use of available resources. Last year, Cumbria CC agreed used Health Act flexibilities to pool in excess of£20m for people with learning disabilities. The agreed Integrated Commissioning Strategy put Cumbria CC at the forefront of flexible partnership working with the NHS, in line with the Health Act 1999. It is envisaged that over time an increasing percentage of social services expenditure could be managed within such health flexibility agreements linked to the introduction of new single assessment procedures for older adults and people with a disability.'

Notes

1. The full recommendation as agreed is attached for information.

2. Cumbria CC's first integrated commissioning manager (Robert Shanahan) was appointed in October 2000. He was formally welcomed to his post by John Hutton, minister of state for health on 10 November 2000.

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