Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

New care fund metrics 'risk creating burden'

  • 1 Comment

New metrics to keep tabs on progress towards health and social care integration must not increase the reporting burden on councils, senior local government figures have warned.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans for a “set of unified metrics” to measure performance against the better care fund objectives and the broader integration of health and social care at the Local Government Association conference last week.

He praised the work of councils and the NHS in delivering the better care fund but said effective measurement was the “missing” piece of the jigsaw.

He told delegates the new measurement regime would “help ensure that the process of integration carries on at the pace we need over the coming years”.

The LGA and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers have called for the metrics to minimise the burden on councils.

Both described the Department of Health’s previous reporting requirements in relation to the better care fund as onerous.

Solace director Graeme McDonald said: “When the BCF plans and monitoring system first came out it felt like a return to days of centralised form filling so hopefully this is a mechanism for avoiding that in the future.

“We need to see the detail to understand what’s being proposed but we would hope any changes to the monitoring system would be with a view to rationalising it and focusing on the things that are important, rather than being a box-ticking exercise.”

Izzi Seccombe (Con), chair of the LGA’s wellbeing board and leader of Warwickshire CC, told LGC any reporting associated with the metrics must be “proportionate and relevant”.

“We will be working with the DH to understand what that means and what level of burden it’s going to put on and whether we can help to influence how it’s rolled out,” she added.

The metrics will be published for the first time in December and then every quarter.

Ray James, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, warned this timetable could be challenging.

“I am sure we can make a productive start, but we must allow space for new measures to emerge. If we do not, I fear that if we count what we have always counted, we will get what we have always got.”

Key objectives of the BCF include reducing emergency admissions to accident and emergency departments by providing enhanced out of hospital care and preventative services.

Reducing the number of delayed transfers of care and improved data sharing between NHS and local authorities are also central objectives of the programme and could form part of the metrics.

Mr Hunt told the conference that the methodology would be agreed by the Department of Health, the Department for Communities & Local Government, the NHS and the LGA.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • A very positive start might be to deal with the current nonsense of the central BCF metric for Non Elective Admissions which for target-setting and reporting is based on the (MAR - Monthly Activity Return) data set. In all its dealings with CCGs, NHS England is focussed on a different data set (SUS – Secondary Uses Services) which measures slightly different activity, with different methodology. Surprisingly, NHS England has been pushing CCGs hard to explain why their operational plans set out different targets for this activity than the BCF plans…. It really shouldn’t be this difficult.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.