Hello again everyone,

Isn’t it lovely to see the sun showing its face after such a wintery start to the week?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that care and health has been in the news a lot this week thanks to the ADASS budget survey results published yesterday and Simon Stevens’ announcements on the Success Regime and the Fast Track Commissioning Collaboratives on Wednesday. Sarah Mitchell and I will be on the oversight groups for these important programmes and we will need to work with Councils to make sure that their interests and skills are fully included.

I am also pleased to let you know that we have signed off the Memorandum of Agreement on our programme with the Department of Health.

Following our recent development of a new peer challenge on commissioning for better outcomes, and of ‘deep dives’ on care act readiness we have been looking at the growing range of peer challenges on offer to Councils in health and care and decided that we should try to align them a bit better. So, I have held discussions with colleagues in LGA about aligning the leadership based challenges, and about using our new risk awareness tool to define a menu of service based challenges. I have also met with NHS Confed and NHS Clinical Commissioners to look at how we can involve health colleagues in defining and delivering more ‘place based’ peer challenge. We’ll be taking this thinking forward over the summer with a view to aligning the offer from the autumn, so please contribute to this as you get the chance. Dennis Skinner and I will give you further information in the near future.

At the weekly integration catchup yesterday we discussed the ADASS budget survey and key emerging issues from it, health devolution and the Better Care Fund.

Jo David explained that a clear message from the ADASS budget survey is local authorities are running out of ‘efficiencies’ and will make service reductions in 15/16 to people needing care and support and their carers. A breakdown in the efficiencies shows much has come from the provider sector. This is turn is leading to a rise in workforce issues. It was acknowledged that workforce issues are now key in many programmes and cuts right across Care Act, Better Care Fund, Pioneers, Vanguards and Community Wellbeing Boards work.   

The Devolution Bill has been published with no specifics on health devolution but the options are within it. It’s getting quite a lot of media interest. Alyson Morley will be working with Piali DasGupta to develop our support offer to councils on devolution. 

The Better Care Fund’s (BCF) first quarter’s data has been received and is currently being analysed, we should have more to report on this in the coming weeks. Tom Shakespeare explained a new initiative under BCF where a £140k is going out to each of the four NHS regions to recruit additional capacity with localities to support the implementation of BCF. It is a similar role to the LGA Care Act Leads. They will work closely with Care and Health Improvement Advisors (CHIAs), who will tend to have a much more senior level conversation, primarily focussed on social care, and also with the regional leads within the Better Care Support Team.

This week I’m using my blog to introduce you to Jackie Rowe. Jackie Rowe is the programme manager responsible for the Care and Health Improvement Programme (CHIP). Since joining in March she has been working to pull together information on each of the work packages to support the memorandum of understanding with the Department of Health (DH).  Jackie’s team has worked with the wider team to produce logic models for each work package. These models show the activities of each work package together with the offer to the sector and the outcomes that will be evaluated.

These documents are also used to underpin Jackie’s quarterly reporting to DH. She is currently working to simplify some of the reporting and communication for the programme to ensure any cross programme issues are identified and addressed. Her particular focus is  ensuring the ‘added value’ of the LGA is recognised is some of the wider DH programmes.

Jackie works closely with other teams in the LGA such as communications and research to programme manage key messages and to identify any risks of our work not being adequately joined up. A priority for her at the moment is to review the website content for the CHIP programme. This will ensure the information is up to date and can be found easily by all users.

Prior to the LGA, Jackie worked for Macmillan Cancer Support programme managing a national roll out of a digital care planning system.  Her experience as a programme manager includes both Health and Local Government and also includes project managing at the Olympic Park for the Olympic Games in 2012.