STRUCTURE: East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body has been asked which of its responsibilities it would consider delegating to a county-wide commissioning congress.

The Collaborative Clinical Congress, created in July to implement a region-wide transformation programme, involves the county’s six CCGs, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and an NHS England representative.

In a paper presented to East Staffordshire CCG’s governing body, chief accountable officer Tony Bruce said: “Governing body members should begin to consider what decisions they would be happy to delegate to the congress and what should be reserved for the governing body.”

Staffordshire Moorlands view from the Roaches

Source: Ian Parkes

The congress was created to implement a region-wide transformation programme

Mr Bruce added that any proposals for shared and delegated decision making will be brought initially to the appropriate committees within the CCG and then to the governing body for approval.

The congress, created as a committee in common, will allow the organisations to create a process to bring about large scale change across the region while remaining separate bodies.

Rita Symons, the congress transformation director, told HSJ that discussions about how it would work were ongoing.

Ms Symons added that Mr Bruce’s comments were an attempt to “engage East Staffordshire CCG’s governing body in ongoing debate” about the congress’ work.

She said: “I’m really clear that I’m not looking for lots of delegation of in terms of operational commissioning. It’s not about the sovereignty of the organisations and the congress making decisions.

“I don’t think we’re at a place yet where we’re talking about devolution, we need to sort out the here and now and be clear about what our plans are.”

The congress will be involved in two “tiers” of decisions: those that will be decided at the congress itself, and more significant decisions that will need to be approved by each of the member bodies.

Ms Symons added: “The commissioning congress is not a big infrastructure that’s sitting above the CCGs and local authorities – it’s really a vehicle to get people to coalesce.”