Primary care trusts have been told to report how funding transferred to councils for integrated health and social care activities is being spent.
When announcing PCT revenue allocations for 2011-12 last December, the Department of Health said £648m should be used to support joint working between health and social care. PCTs were expected to agree jointly with councils how their share of the money was to be spent.
A DH letter to PCT directors of finance, published today, asks for details of what has happened to the funding, giving PCTs barely a month to complete returns.
The letter, from deputy NHS chief executive David Flory and director general for social care, local government and partnerships David Behan says quarter one returns “provide assurance” that the funding transfer is taking place between PCTs and local authorities.
But it states: “We now need to establish the areas of investment that have been agreed between local authorities and PCTs for the £648m transfer.”
The letter says one of the key reasons behind the request is a call for evidence by the Commons’ health select committee on 2011 public expenditure, which “explicitly asked for information on the funding transfer”.
It also notes that the DH needs to “ensure” the money is being spent in accordance with 2010 comprehensive spending review commitments, adding that the information will also help inform a new mechanism for allocating social care funding in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
The letter identifies seven categories in which it will be looking for evidence of spend – prevention services; community equipment and adaptations; telecare; crisis response services; maintaining eligibility criteria; re-ablement; and mental health.
Finance directors have been given till 23 September to send the DH the returns, which must also be signed off by the PCT’s chief executive.
The social care returns demand follows a similar letter issued by the DH on 12 August, which called on PCTs to resubmit their 2010-11 public health spending returns by 16 September, due to “unexpected values and omissions” identified in the first audit.
PCTs were also told to provide returns on their overall expenditure broken down to the level of individual GP practice level by 23 September.