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CCG constitutions: reflecting the changes

CCG constitutions: reflecting the changes

Keeping constitutions updated to reflect current needs is crucial, but CCGs must also think ahead of the game

Posted: 21 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.

The requirement to review and, if necessary, amend a constitution should not be minimised in applying to move towards a co-commissioning model. There have been refusals made to CCGs on the grounds that relevant amendments to the constitution had not been ratified and forwarded to NHS England in time for the approvals process.

While keeping constitutions updated to reflect current needs is crucial, CCGs are also thinking ahead of the game. They are building greater flexibility into governance arrangements in anticipation of changes to come, and to keep themselves aligned with their own long-term strategies for local health services.

For example, many CCGs operating at level two already include in their constitutions a clause that sets out delegated arrangements, even where they haven’t opted to move to that model. It gives added room for manoeuvre.

Rod While at Herts Valleys says that NHS England is keen for CCGs to include this. “The broad wording in their template clauses covers a move to the delegated model and gives extra flexibility. At Herts Valleys for any such move to come into effect it would still have to be formally approved by the membership first. Presently, we feel we are not ready to move to delegated arrangements and won’t move until April 2017 at the earliest.”

Thinking ahead

While also explains that they are looking to further review and update the constitution later this year to allow for joint commissioning with their local authority. “This would give us the flexibility to move to more formal and collaborative relationships. We should be open to working with all kinds of partners.

“We are keen that the constitution reflects our future strategy, which is very much centred around integrated working.”

North East Lincolnshire CCG had built in the freedom to work in formal partnership with its local authority from the start.

A spokesperson said: “The CCG has delegated responsibility for adult social care commissioning. Our original constitution was therefore established to reflect these arrangements.”

Paul Courtney, communications manager at Somerset CCG, which is also operating at joint commissioning level, said its constitution incorporates paragraphs covering areas of potential future involvement in specialist commissioning.

“We are not active in that yet at CCG level. But we anticipate a time we may be likely involved in, for example, local commissioning of renal dialysis services. The detail would have to be worked out at and approved at member level first of course. But it gives us options.”

Join us tomorrow for the last episode of this week’s feature on CCG constitutions as we’ll be discussing retaining engagement