Please see below a statement from the Better Care Fund Support Team regarding the planning guidance for 2016-17

1.The Comprehensive Spending Review (25 November 2015), confirmed that the Better Care Fund will continue into 2016-17 – with a mandated minimum of £3.9 billion to be deployed locally on health and social care through pooled budget arrangements between local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups.

2.The process for the development and assurance/approval of local Better Care Fund plans in 2016-17 will be more streamlined and better integrated into the business-as-usual planning processes for Health and Wellbeing Boards, Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authorities.
3.In keeping with this approach, the Better Care Fund planning guidance will be issued directly to Councils and as an annex to the NHS technical planning guidance, which will be published on NHS England’s website in early January 2016.

4.The timescales for submitting Better Care Fund local plans will follow the deadlines set out in the NHS Planning Guidance:

  • First draft – 8 February 2016
  • Refresh – mid-March 2016
  • Final submission (signed off by Health and Wellbeing Boards) - mid-to-late April 2016

5.In acknowledgement of the tight timescales involved, it is expected that the first draft submission of Better Care Fund local plans on 8 February will be high-level, focused around the finances and core principles, while providing sufficient detail to support Councils’ budget setting processes. The detailed requirements for submissions and the exact timings for the March and April resubmissions will be confirmed in the guidance.

6.The Better Care Fund Support Team will write out to areas with the Planning Guidance in early January 2016.