• The 12 CCGs across the North East and Cumbria have drawn up proposals to form a joint commissioning committee
  • The new committee would have delegated decision making powers

Commissioning leaders across three sustainability and transformation partnership footprints are considering creating a joint commissioning committee with delegated decision making powers.

The 12 CCGs in the North East and Cumbria have drawn up proposals to form the new committee, which will be written into their constitutions if it gets the green light.

The committee will build on the work of the Northern CCG Forum, which is made up of the same CCGs but does not have decision making powers.

North Cumbria CCG’s governing body agreed in principle to establishing the new North CCG Joint Committee at a meeting last week, but it is not known how many CCGs have approved the proposals so far.

A report to North Cumbria CCG’s governing body on 7 June said each group will be represented on the committee by its chair and accountable officer, with named a director from NHS England also expected to attend.

The 12 CCGs in the new committee

  • Darlington CCG
  • Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG
  • Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG
  • Hartlepool and Stockton CCG
  • Newcastle Gateshead CCG
  • North Cumbria CCG
  • North Durham CCG
  • Northumberland CCG
  • North Tyneside CCG
  • South Tees CCG
  • South Tyneside CCG
  • Sunderland CCG

These CCGs are part of the North Cumbria; Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and North Durham; and the Durham, Darlington, Tees, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby STPs.

The CCGs have a number of shared work programmes including the North East and North Cumbria Urgent and Emergency Care Network vanguard, regional QIPP and medicines optimisation groups, and joint commissioning arrangements for ambulance services.

The committee would meet four times a year and only make decisions on issues relating to all the CCG areas in Cumbria and the North East. These include:

  • any service reconfiguration across the whole region or which has implications across the whole health and social care system;
  • procuring services and awarding contracts including commissioning specialist acute and ambulance services;
  • shared clinical policies and pathway redesign; and
  • policies on ICT, data management and digital care.

However, CCG governing bodies will retain autonomy over:

  • finance;
  • strategic planning such as primary care;
  • commissioning, contracting and performance of hospital, community, mental health and primary care services;
  • health and social care integration; and
  • continuing healthcare and nursing funded care arrangements.

The report said: “This proposal is not about reorganising CCGs, or taking away the statutory decision making authority of local commissioners. Nor will this entail setting up a new organisation, or incurring any additional administrative costs.”

All decisions made by new committee must be unanimous.

Neil O’Brien, chair of the Northern CCG Forum, said the CCGs will retain their autonomy and local accountability.

He said: “Twelve CCGs are exploring the potential for streamlining decision making on issues that affect us all, while taking steps to ensure that individual CCGs retain their autonomy and local accountability.

“This would help us to work together more effectively on regional issues such as commissioning of specialist acute and ambulance services, and areas where we can usefully develop shared policies.”

The committee has not been signed off and the proposal will need to be approved by each of the 12 governing bodies before it can be incorporated.