Health and wellbeing boards should include the integration of commissioning in their “key success criteria”, according to a new guide published by the Good Governance Institute.
The think tank also said local authorities, providers and commissioners should be closely examining their progress in developing a board in their area.
The boards are intended to bring together councils, health commissioners and others. Their roles include having a say in whether clinical commissioning groups should be authorised, and overseeing commissioning plans.
The Good Governance Institute published a guide to help areas Monitor their progress last week. It says “key success criteria” for boards will include creating “better use of resources through coordinated, integrated commissioning”. This could mean working to combine planning and budgets of CCGs and local authorities.
Another success criterion, the report says, is to develop “productive relationships with commissioners and providers”. Boards should also “effectively [use] joint strategic needs assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategies to drive local change”.
The board assurance guide, published with London Councils and NHS London, identifies some signs of poor development. These include local authorities not having started work on boards; leaving it to individual organisations to plan commissioning; and failing to provide skills development for likely members of the board.
Meanwhile, senior Liberal Democrats are calling for amendments to the Health Bill to change health and wellbeing boards’ power and membership.
Baroness Shirley Williams and former MP Evan Harris last week said they would campaign for a debate on the Health Bill at the party’s conference next week. They are supporting an emergency motion calling for, among other changes, the boards to “have a majority of elected members and to be able to refer unresolved disputes with local commissioners to the secretary of state”.
At present they must have a minimum of one elected councillor, and if they disagree with CCGs’ plans can refer the decision only to the NHS Commissioning Board.