The NHS Commissioning Board has higlighted the “inherently high risk” of recruiting “nearly 4,000 people… over a short period”, and lack of clarity around its functions and design.

The risks are identified in an update on the NHSCB’s development and implementation programme, which will go to the organisation’s board meeting next week.

The report says: “Although the NHS CB programme continues to make solid progress, it also faces some key challenges. The people transition challenge remains key. This is an inherent risk across the programme, and although plans are being developed to set out a clear recruitment strategy for the organisation, these will require further detail.

“This is being worked on urgently. It is vitally important that we make sure the NHS continues to deliver safe services to a high standard throughout this transition. This means carefully balancing the resource and staff needed for both day-to-day delivery and the need to design the future.” The problem is exacerbated by the potential for decisions on the NHSCB’s “design and directorate structures [to be] delayed due to lack of clarity on key issues (for example functions of the NHS CB in future)”.

However, the report says overall there is “good progress in all work programme areas”.

A separate report to the board on the NHSCB recruitment strategy says: “The recruitment exercise is a major undertaking and there are a number of challenges to successful implementation.” These include that, “while significant progress has been made in defining directorates and senior roles, complete structures have not yet been developed for all directorates”, and that “practical arrangements for managing the recruitment are not yet fully confirmed”.

The recruitment report says those issues are being addressed as quickly as possible.

It also says the four NHSCB regional directors will be appointed this month. Recruitment to other very senior manager roles in the board will take place between May and June and other posts between July and December.