The government will amend the Care Bill so it can force clinical commissioning groups to share a chunk of their budgets with local authorities, a health minister has told HSJ.
The £3.8bn integration transformation fund, which will mainly come from health budgets, was announced in June as part of the spending round for 2015-16. However there has been uncertainty over how the fund will be governed.
Although ministers said the cash would be held by councils, a letter sent by NHS England to clinical commissioning groups when the spending round was announced suggested that the funding should be allocated from NHS England via CCGs. However, it did not have the legal means to do this. “We believe it would be helpful to route the funding for the integration transformation fund through CCGs,” the letter said. “This will require changes to primary legislation.”
Care and support minister Norman Lamb told HSJ: “There will be amendments to the Care Bill which will facilitate [the fund]. We’re working on the detail but we simply want to make sure we can deliver the spending review plan precisely.
“We want to make certain that it works as intended. It can be consistent with the accountability of the organisations involved and with the way the reformed systems works, but the legislation does need tweaking to make sure we can deliver.”
Although he said “work is well advanced” on the changes, Mr Lamb would not give details on what the amendment would do.
The Care Bill has passed through the Lords and is now awaiting its second reading in the Commons.