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Welsh councils and NHS bodies told to pool budgets

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Pooled council and NHS budgets will help create more efficient services according to the Welsh assembly government.

Issuing guidance to local authorities and NHS bodies on how to set up and manage pooled budgets, local government minister Brian Gibbons today said that where there is a clear business case, the sharing of budgets will lead to closer working relationships and better use of resources which in turn will create better joined-up services for local people.

The guidance will help local public bodies make the most of opportunities to work in partnership and has been based on best practice examples from across the UK, said the government.

Joint budgets will help local public bodies plan more effectively and provide clearer direction for people, resulting in joined-up services built around the needs of the citizen rather than the financial constraints of the organisations providing the services.

Budgets could be pooled where councils and NHS bodies provide services for the same groups of people ensuring that funding is directed to those people in most need no matter where the funding originated.

Mr Gibbons said: “We want to have health and social services that provide the very best care for people that is based around their needs. For this to happen we need to make the best use of all of our resources. The key to making these arrangements work is to build up and sustain good working relationships - mutual trust is essential.

“I have already seen good examples in Wales where steps have been taken along the way to achieving pooled local authority and NHS budgets and this can be a pragmatic way to bring about effective improvements in services. Where public organisations are delivering services to the same people it makes sense for the organisations to work together to create a greater alignment or a pooling of their budgets.”

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