Local areas 'not supported' to spend cooperatively

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
19 October 2018

Current legislation makes it difficult for local areas to pool funds and work together to combine health and social care, according to MPs.

In a report the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the system does not “support efforts to spend cooperatively” as the government attempts to integrate health and social care services.

MPs said the government lacked an “effective overall strategy” to integrate the sectors and it should set out a costed 10-year plan for social care, alongside the 10-year plan for the NHS.

The PAC said local authorities had reduced real terms spending on adult social care by 5.3% between 2010-11 and 2016-17, while the number of people in England aged 85 and over rose by 28% between 2006 and 2016.

“The current legislative framework makes it unnecessarily difficult for local areas to pool funds and work together, causing additional cost and wasted resources,” said the report. “Legislation currently emphasises the need for individual organisations to balance their books. But this does not support efforts to spend cooperatively.”

The report added: “We heard examples of where leadership is effective in driving the NHS and local government to work well together, such as Bradford and Greater Manchester, but these are too few in number.”

PAC chair Meg Hillier (Labour) said: “Government must step up efforts to break down barriers to integration across the country.

“Its departments and agencies need to work together more effectively to support the rollout of best practice, as well as the leadership necessary to drive change at local level.”

• SM has spoken to Neil Hind, who is leading on the Greater Manchester Procurement and Supply Chain Programme for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, and will be publishing an interview on the work he is doing to develop a centralised procurement function and increase collaboration across health trusts.

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