Dear colleagues,

In this week’s update:

  • Invitation to bid for local integration support funding
  • Q2 reporting requirements – returns due Friday 27 November
  • Good practice examples: workforce
  • Insight bulletin: results of data sharing survey
  • Call for examples of good practice: 7 day services
  • Call for examples of local evaluation of integration schemes
  • Integration self-assessment tool – coming soon
  • Survey on patient and service user experience

Invitation to bid for local integration support funding

The Q1 returns and subsequent discussions with local areas have highlighted a clear demand for more bespoke support to more directly address local needs. We have listened to these requests and set aside an initial national pot of £500,000 for local areas to bid against. In the bidding process we are encouraging local areas to think about how they might use the funding in the context of their quarterly return submission, and also the wider integration/transformation agenda. Bids that demonstrate cross-area working will also be looked upon favourably.

There will be two opportunities to put in a bid: 6th November and 11th December, with decisions made shortly after this date. We are working to ensure funding can be allocated as swiftly and efficiently as possible to local areas once approved, and will be able to confirm this process in due course. To submit a bid, please submit the attached completed bid template to your Better Care Manager, or if not yet appointed, your regional NHS E lead. Attached is a short note with further detail about the fund and how to access it. Please do pass this message on to other colleagues in your region.

In addition to putting in bids for local support funding, there may also be funding remaining within your regional NHS England Better Care Support allocation, or support available from the national team. For further information about this, contact your Better Care Manager or regional lead. Or for more detail on national support or any other questions please contact

Q2 reporting requirements – returns due by 27 November (see attachment)

We are planning to issue the Quarter 2 Reporting Template and corresponding guidance at the end of next week. The return deadline for this will be 27th November 2015.

In advance of this we have produced the attached summary of what we will be asking from you in this quarterly return. In doing so we hope to allow areas to begin collating data and timetabling any governance/sign-off processes ahead of the formal template being issued.

You will note there are a number of additional fields and data collections for Q2. These relate to Jeremy Hunt’s announcement at the Local Government Association Conference in July that a new set of metrics is needed to measure the degree to which a health and social care economy is making progress towards delivering integrated, coordinated and person-centred care.  This set of metrics is currently in the development stages having been tested with a number of local areas, and we are taking the opportunity through the Q2 reporting process to trial a small number of these new measurements. The aim going forward is to move towards a single set of measures.

As with previous templates we will be pre-populating as much of the data as possible to make completing the report as simple as possible. We welcome your feedback on the new collections included in the Q2 reporting template using the feedback box in the template, as well as the integration metrics project as a whole: your input will be vital in designing a set of measures that can help to monitor and accelerate the move towards a more coordinated, person-centred health and care system.

Good practice examples: integrated care workforce

Many thanks to those of you who shared your local examples of innovative integrated roles. We particularly enjoyed hearing about Norfolk and Suffolk’s work on rotational health and social care apprenticeships; job descriptions; local workforce initiatives and local principles for integrated care. We will be sharing some of these great examples on the Better Care Exchange in the coming weeks, to facilitate the sharing of local ideas and good practice.

We would still welcome further local examples of integrated workforce initiatives that you would like to send through. Just as a brief reminder, we are looking for any information you’d like to share with other local areas about your integrated workforce plans and strategies; what works in recruitment, retention and redeployment; integrated careers pathways; new roles and practical examples of cultural and behavioural change.

You can send examples to us directly to, or share on the Best Practice board on the Better Care Exchange - Best Practices. These examples will be used to build up a log of good practice from around the country on different themes, that we can share to help others tackling similar issues.

Insight Bulletin – results from data sharing survey

The first insight bulletin has recently been posted on the Better Care Exchange. This includes the findings from the ‘deep dive’ interviews that NEL CSU conducted with senior leaders about the success factors in implementing integration schemes and views about the role of the BCF Policy Framework in driving interviews. The Bulletin also includes the findings from the survey we conducted over the summer about data sharing for integrated care.

Call for examples of good practice: 7 day services

Quarterly reporting returns suggest that the implementation of 7-day services in health and social care  to support patients being discharged and prevent unnecessary admissions at weekends is one of the more challenging national conditions. However 56% of you indicated at Q1 that you had met the requirements of this condition.

We are keen to hear from areas making progress on 7 day services and in particular how you are implementing the requirements for community and social care alongside the national drive to implement 7 day services across primary and acute settings.

Call for examples of local evaluations of integration schemes

From the most recent quarterly returns, we know that ‘measuring success’ is a key area where local partners would like support, particularly in the context of planning for 16/17. We will shortly be undertaking a piece of work in identifying and sharing examples of how local areas are evaluating schemes.

We would be interested in hearing about all types of evaluations that are being undertaken, from qualitative process evaluations looking at implementation through to evaluations looking at outcomes and cost-effectiveness. We will shortly be issuing a short survey to identify good examples we can share. If you have any examples of evaluations that you would like to share please email or post on the Best Practice board on the Better Care Exchange.

Integration self assessment tool – coming soon

The Better Care Support Team has developed a self-assessment tool that will support areas to reflect on progress to date in integrating care. It will allow you test the extent to which your individual BCF schemes are contributing to meeting the overall integrated vision, and to begin planning for how you might use next year’s pooled funds.

We will release this next week through this update note and the Better Care Exchange. The release follows a few weeks of initial testing and refining with a number of local areas and national partners, who have provided some really positive feedback and some helpful ideas for improvement.

The tool will allow and encourage areas to:

  • Check progress against that of those leading the way in integrating care – broken down into each of the key features of integrated care delivery
  • Reflect on what has been working well to date, and in what ways areas can use this insight to plan for next year
  • Identify those schemes that might not be working as effectively, and evaluate what the next steps for these should be.

The tool is not compulsory, and is intended as a facilitative aid to support to local discussions involving reflections on progress and planning ahead. It has been designed to as a basis for discussion in a number of contexts, and we encourage local areas to think about how they might reshape or adapt the content to suit their local needs. We are really looking forward to hearing how different areas make use of the tool, and would be keen to have your feedback and ideas of how it can be used or adapted to best effect.

Survey – How patient and service user experience is being used to improve care

Felicity Carson, an NHS graduate trainee working with the Team, has just sent a short electronic survey to all areas, asking about how information on patient and service user experience is being used to inform commissioning decisions and shape service delivery. The survey has been sent to the contacts who completed the most recent quarterly bulletin. The aim is to identify examples of good, innovative practice that we can share across the system.

Anthony Kealy

Better Care Support Team Programme Director