North East Lincolnshire’s clinical commissioning group has developed a novel governance structure including representation from councillors, allowing it take on the adult social care budget.
Health and adult social care have been jointly commissioned in the area by North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus since 2007.
The adult social care budget was delegated to the care trust by North East Lincolnshire Council, while the care trust passed public health duties to the council. There are two councillors on the care trust board in appointments which were agreed as a condition of the partnership.
Leaders in the area wanted to continue the joint commissioning arrangement but in June the government said councillors would not be allowed to sit on CCGs’ governing bodies. Regulations applying the rule were passed by Parliament last month.
The council would not agree to delegate its adult social care budget to the clinical commissioning group (CCG) without its members overseeing it.
The CCG and council have therefore decided to delegate most of the powers and roles of the CCG governing body to a subcommittee, which will include councillors. The government’s regulations do not apply to sub-committees.
The name and details of the sub-group are yet to be finalised but it may be called the “partnership committee”.
Cathy Kennedy, deputy chief executive of the care trust and CCG, told LGC’s sister title Health Service Journal: “It has always been very important that the elected members of the council have a place within our governance arrangements.”
She said the sub-committee would have “significant delegated authority and have elected members on it”.
Some powers, such as deciding who holds which delegated powers within the CCG, will have to be retained by the governing body, but Ms Kennedy said both member GPs and the council were satisfied with the arrangement. It will be written in to both the CCG’s constitution and a new legal partnership arrangement between the CCG and council.
She said no other existing care trusts – of which there are a handful nationally – were believed to be continuing their joint arrangement once they are abolished in April.
LGC reported in July that councillors were frustrated about being banned from CCGs’ boards, arguing that they could play a valuable role by helping the health service to communicate better with local communities.
Information provided to HSJ