A senior management merger has saved £2m in Lancashire and helped shape service delivery
Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire is creating a fully integrated senior management team across the care trust plus and council to deliver around £2m savings on management costs across both organisations.
We believe this collaboration will bring about real and immediate savings and greater service coherence
The first phase of the new structure is already in place with the appointment of Graham Burgess as the joint chief executive and a new single executive team made up of a deputy chief executive and two managing directors dedicated to health services and local government respectively.
In the second stage of the management merger this autumn, the proposed new joint director structure will remove duplication of managerial roles and bring in key posts like the director of public health ahead of the government’s schedule for councils taking on local health improvement and prevention work.
At the same time, a merging of back office functions is planned and this will be subject to consultation with staff over the coming months.
This follows the creation in June of the first shared service for the care trust and council - a joint communications and marketing team.
Together with a restructure across the whole of the care trust, the new single integrated management team will make a significant contribution to the £564,000 in-year management cost reductions that must be achieved by next April.
As well as the financial benefits, the new structure puts the two co-terminous organisations in a strong position to respond to the white paper reforms, in particular the planned creation of health and wellbeing boards within local authorities to support the enhanced health commissioning role for GPs.
While the care trust and council will remain as separate organisations, the new structure will jointly manage a combined spend of £800m, providing real opportunity to tackle tough challenges around deprivation and poor health in the most cost effective way and without the sort of duplication that might have happened in the past.
The reduction in overheads was seen as vital so that money could be used for commissioning services rather than on administration.
Chair of the care trust plus Sir Bill Taylor says: “While we must respect and protect the interests, identity and governance integrity of both organisations, we have to recognise the new local, national and global political and economic realities.
“We believe this collaboration will bring about real and immediate savings and greater service coherence. It will bring obvious and almost instant benefits for face to face staff who service the needs of our communities.”
In April this year, no one could have predicted the rapid turn of events that would follow the formation of the Blackburn with Darwen Teaching Care Trust Plus out of a partnership between the former primary care trust and council to bring together health and social care commissioning.
But the challenging financial climate, combined with the NHS reforms, required decisive action to reshape service delivery.
Chief executive Graham Burgess explains: “This has been born out of our long standing commitment to work with the local NHS.
“Even with such a strong partnership there will always be duplication of activity and expenditure, but now more than ever we need to find ways to save money to protect frontline services.”
Having a shared senior management team is also in keeping with the commitment of both organisations to commission services on a Blackburn with Darwen footprint and protect the borough from becoming part of a wider Lancashire commissioning structure.
It falls in line with the trust’s strategic plan to 2014, which sets out the aim of delivering integrated community health and local government services based on the principles of Total Place.
Although it is still unclear what GP commissioning will look like, it has been suggested that this could prove to be a ready made structure to support the changes ahead.
Improving services and saving cash
Communications and marketing was the first shared service to cover local government and NHS sectors in Blackburn with Darwen.
The service was created out of two separate teams and has saved £100,000 in staffing costs. The team reports to a new joint communications board.
Director of policy and communications Tom Stannard heads up the shared service. “Clearly, set against the challenges we face in tackling health inequalities we need to reduce costs so this arrangement will tick both boxes by improving our ability to communicate and engage with the public around health and at the same time deliver cashable savings,” he says.
“We are looking to establish deeper partnerships across a wide range of back office functions and we expect this to be the first of many that will improve services and save money for taxpayers.”
Making the savings
Total saving across both organisations
At the heart of the proposal was the creation of a single chief executive post.
Further reorganisation of management across the two organisations, including heads of service, managers and other senior officers.
In some areas PCT managerial posts have been “added in” to local authorities. In Blackburn with Darwen, the restructure of senior management will ensure managerial roles are not duplicated.
Supporting the new single chief executive is an executive team of three positions - a deputy chief executive and two managing directors.
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Blackburn with Darwen Teaching Care Trust Plus