• Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG making “good progress” on problems, says follow-up report
  • Report follows scathing review very critical of leadership and governance
  • CCG is on right path but has long way to go, PwC adds

An inadequate-rated clinical commissioning group, which was heavily criticised in a review of its governance, leadership and operations, is now making “good progress” on addressing its problems, a follow-up report has said.

Consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers said last March the £1.2bn-budget Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG’s problems were “among the broadest and deepest set of issues facing any CCG we have worked with”, as exclusively revealed by HSJ.

But a follow-up report by the consultants, published this month, strikes a more encouraging tone. It said: “The CCG has made good progress against a very significant improvement agenda, but remains in the early stages of its overall organisational turnaround journey.”

It praised chief officer Jan Thomas, appointed last April, for overseeing “significant change in the CCG’s leadership [and building a] largely substantive executive team in a short time”.

But the report also noted the CCG must “strengthen the capacity and capability of the level below the executive”.

The report added: “The new chief officer was credited [in interviews with staff with] improving the working culture and environment at the CCG, through an improved approach to internal communication from the CCG’s leadership to staff.

“We were told that communications are now more frequent and more transparent, and that senior decisions are more regularly communicated to staff, enabling them to better understand how their work is supporting delivery of the CCG’s strategic objectives.”

The CCG still faces significant challenges, not least with its finances. It has expressed concerns about its 2019-20 control total.

The CCG has submitted a plan for a £35m deficit control total next year – in line with its £35.1m planned deficit this year. The substantial deficit position would be an improvement on the £42m deficit it recorded last year.

But NHS England has set a £25m target, according to a report by Ms Thomas, also discussed at its March board meeting. The report said discussions between the CCG and NHSE were ongoing.

The developments follow the CCG last March stating that it accepted the findings of the review, which had concluded its leadership must take responsibility for “ineffective governance” and a “breakdown” in financial control.

CCG chair Gary Howsam told senior staff at the time: “The governing body accepted the findings and recommendations… I thought it was important to let you know the seriousness of the situation for the CCG and that our focus will be on delivering our improvement and delivery plan, working alongside our partners and communicating regularly with you as important stakeholders in the system.”

The CCG was dropped from being rated “requires improvement” to “inadequate” in NHSE’s annual ratings, which were published last July.