Clinical commissioning groups in Greater Manchester have established a shared support service function.

The move is a response to the developing devolution plans in the city region, along with NHS England’s rejection of the North West Commissioning Support Unit’s bid to be included on the lead provider framework for support services.

The arrangement is being described as an “interim” solution, and is not currently expected to last beyond the end of 2016-17.

A range of permanent options are under discussion, including establishing the shared function on a permanent basis.

Manchester skyline

Source: Al Grant

The arrangement in Manchester is an ‘interim solution’ not expected to last beyond the end of 2015-16

Developing a shared support function for Greater Manchester was originally mooted in June. HSJ can now reveal that Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group is hosting the parts of North West CSU serving Greater Manchester.

Staff will continue to be formally employed by NHS Business Services Authority, although Oldham will assume responsibility for them, including line management duties.

Julie Daines, chief finance officer of Oldham CCG, is now the interim managing director of “Greater Manchester Shared Services”. The unit will be run by a joint committee of Greater Manchester CCGs.

The shared function has been agreed with NHS England, which has been strongly encouraging all other CCGs to use the lead provider framework to choose an accredited support services provider. A spokeswoman for the Greater Manchester devolution programme said the CCGs have been allowed to establish their own function under the “flexibilities” given to the region under the devolution deal.

“This gives Greater Manchester time to determine the future model for commissioning support services,” she added.

CCGs in Cheshire and Merseyside are still expected to bring in an external supplier of support services via the framework, although it is not yet known whether they will bring many services previously run by North West CSU in house.

  • This article was updated on 8 September to correct inaccurate information regarding the dates of the interim arrangement that was supplied to HSJ by the devolution programme.