Hello again everyone,

I hope you have all had a good summer. I had a splendid couple of weeks in the Outer Hebrides – wild, beautiful, off line and off grid – really refreshing.

At the integration catch-up on Thursday, we discussed the LGA’s spending review submission, the closure of the Care Act’s Programme Board, changes to the Better Care Fund Programme Board, winter pressures, and the fast track sites within the Transforming Care programme.

On Tuesday, the LGA’s overarching spending review submission, Spending Smarter: A Shared Commitment, was sent to the Treasury and the thematic submission on adult social care, published jointly with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care (ADASS), will be submitted today, although it won’t be published publicly until w/c 14 September.

There will be a separate paper on prevention which looks at the potential cost-benefit of scaling up existing preventative initiatives to a more national-level approach. This is in part designed to start a conversation on the need to go further with prevention and councils’ central role in delivering preventative work.

The Care Act Programme Board will close in mid-March 2016. Roughly £1.5 million from the programme communications budget will transfer over to support implementation of the legislation. Two more stocktakes are planned – one light-touch in September and a fuller ‘one year on’ in April 2016. Legacy work from the Care Act Programme Management Office will be picked up elsewhere in other workstreams.

The BCF Programme Board, chaired by Jon Rouse, has agreed to broaden its membership to include ADASS. It will also widen its terms of reference to include workforce and information sharing. It is also looking at how the BCF can be revised; but all options are dependent on the Spending Review.

Last winter was a particularly challenging one for health and care systems, and delayed transfers of care are still rising. To tackle the coming winter pressures, an Emergency Care Improvement Programme (ECIP) was launched yesterday by Monitor, NHS TDA, NHS England and the Department of Health to offer practical help and support to the 27 urgent and emergency care systems across England that have breached the four-hour wait target.

The draft service model for commissioners across health and care has been tested this summer in the five Fast-Track areas (Greater Manchester and Lancashire; Cumbria and the North East; Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire; Nottinghamshire; and Hertfordshire). Local government has really stepped up and engaged; and the final version of the model should be published this autumn.

Much of our time and energy is spent working directly with councils and health and wellbeing boards across the country and supporting them in very practical ways on numerous issues on a daily basis. On my recent visits to speak with regional leaders about our work they told me how much they valued this support and the learning they got from it.

With this in mind, we need to exploit this and other engagements more systematically. Firstly, we need to understand what works and why; capture where best practice exists, outcomes, and share the sector’s concerns with the Government. Secondly, we must demonstrate the value of our work to our sponsors. I have asked Jackie Rowe to explore, with PAs and others, how we can do this in a light touch but effective way.

Finally, this week we say farewell to four colleagues who are moving on to new pastures – Helen Kay, Lee Simmonds, Femi Adedeji and Michael Edley. We wish them the best for the future.