These legal documents don't make for light reading, but they have an important role in setting out rules that a clinical commissioning group should operate by
Posted: 19 April 2016
If you’ve missed yesterday’s episode of this week’s feature on CCG constitutions, click here.
Writer: Rima Evans
CCG constitutions are important legal documents. But to remain flexible and relevant to changes in CCG powers they need to be reviewed and updated regularly.
Constitutions may not make for light reading. But they have an important role in setting out the rules a CCG should operate by. This includes its aims and objectives, how and who makes decisions, the transparency of those decisions, how it governs itself and how it relates back and engages with its membership of GP practices.
As such, it is important that CCGs only exercise powers that are permitted in their constitutions. Constitutions drawn up and adopted (and unchanged) before the era of primary care co-commissioning are unlikely to be up to the job of allowing a CCG to work differently. However, it all depends on the co-commissioning model a CCG has opted to move forward to.
The NHS England guidance Next steps towards primary care co-commissioning set out three models open to CCGs: greater involvement in primary care decision making (level one); joint commissioning arrangements (level two); and delegated commissioning arrangements (level three).
Level one doesn’t confer any actual decision making role upon CCGs – it’s the second and third models that have the most impact.
Joint commissioning will allow one or more CCGs to “assume responsibility for jointly commissioning primary medical services with their area team, either through a joint committee or ‘committees in common,’” according to the guidance.
Delegated commissioning gives CCGs full responsibility for commissioning general practice services.
Rod While, head of corporate governance at Herts Valleys CCG, says constitutions will need to be amended, updated and formally approved by NHS England in the case of the latter two models.
“Most CCG constitutions will probably have arrangements in place for the first model, greater involvement.”
Join us tomorrow for the third episode of this week’s feature as we’ll be discussing amending CCG constitutions