FINANCE: Sheffield’s clinical commissioning group and city council have unveiled plans to pool £237m more than required by national rules in 2015-16, with the “ultimate aim” of establishing a single budget for health and social care.

Sheffield City Council and Sheffield CCG are also developing a single large contract for intermediate care in the city, which is currently dispersed between several services and providers.

The joint plans for next year include pooling £278m; £187m from the CCG and £91m from the council.

The national better care fund policy only requires them to pool £41m in total.

An update on the joint plans stated: “During 2014-15 we will develop the details of our pooled budget agreement, finalising which budgets will be included and setting out how we will make decisions and share benefit and risk from the pooled budget, whilst retaining our separate statutory responsibilities.”

It described the joint work as having “the ultimate aim of establishing a single budget for health and social care in Sheffield”.

Such an arrangement will mean that Sheffield health and care providers will need to “work together even more closely than they do now, to provide better and joined up care to service users”.

“This may include possible changes to contractual arrangements,” the statement said.

The papers added that the most developed and central part of plans for the pooled budget are to develop a new specification for intermediate care services.

This would “establish a single service to support people after they have had a spell in hospital or social care, and to provide alternatives to going into hospital for people if they have a crisis, where it is possible to provide care and support in, or nearer to, home instead”.

Commissioners will draw up the plans during 2014-15. A decision will be taken about whether there will be an open procurement to run them.

The specification will consist mainly of outcomes desired, rather than the processes or services required.

It will bring together a current set of around 20 separate but linked services.

These are currently provided by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, Sheffield Health and Social Care Foundation Trust, the council directly, GPs, and by some other small providers.

HSJ understands that the CCG and council are encouraging the providers to work together in anticipation of the new specification.

They could potentially develop joint proposals to meet the new specifications.