Our Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) clients are increasingly exploring new ways to work collaboratively. This has been motivated by financial pressures, the opportunity to achieve economies of scale, the need to improve the resilience of their organisation and a wish to present a single commissioning voice to providers.
Currently, the most common method of collaboration across commissioners is the introduction of a shared accountable officer (SAO) across a group of partnering CCGs. Other practises include shared back office teams and the increased use of ‘committees in common’, with some practitioners seeing the advent of formal mergers as an ‘end game’.
To support sector thinking on how to collaborate successfully, our latest report draws together learning from industry case studies and a round table discussion, to share key recommendations.
Our recommendations to CCGs fall across six key themes:
Commitment to governance
- Maintain sight of your organisation’s individual responsibilities so that your obligations to the local population are not compromised in the move towards collaboration
- Implement arrangements for obtaining assurance over decisions taken at the group level – this is paramount to the future success of collaborative working and to ensuring that decision-making powers are not moved away from accountable individuals while leaving them responsible for the actions of the CCG
- Be clear on the legislative responsibilities around the ability to delegate in a collaborative arrangement
Ensuring stakeholder engagement
- Achieve sufficient 'buy in' to effect the required cultural change and that key stakeholders are not left behind
- Ensure that the pace of change ensures the continued support of lay members and GPs as this is crucial for future success
- Take into account the value GPs place on their independence and address issues of a perceived loss of 'local control' in a future merger or collaborative arrangement
Finding strength in numbers
- Face the market jointly to ensure a single, coherent commissioning voice is heard to deliver positive outcomes across local health economies as 'One NHS'
Innovation for improved services
- Explore alternative delivery models and greater use of technology for services
- Emulate and share examples of best practice from across the sector to develop resilience and efficiency
- Prepare robust business plans with joint partners to support the proposed changes
- Get the finances right to ensure any newly merged CCG or MCP starts off on a sound basis
- Subject proposals to independent validation
- Nurture a collaborative culture with common values and purpose, both within the organisation and between organisations
- Maintain a collaborative culture by demonstrating high behavioural and accountability standards
For more information please email Sarah Ironmonger, Head of Commissioning or call 01293 554 072.