Third wave of CCGs approved but 80% face restrictions

Eighty per cent of CCGs authorised by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) still face restrictions on their independence, just six weeks before they take over from PCTs.

Dame Barbara Hakin: CCGs have made fantastic progress
Dame Barbara Hakin: CCGs have made fantastic progress

On Wednesday, the NHSCB authorised a further 62 CCGs as part of the third wave of commissioning groups to be assessed. The move takes the total number of CCGs authorised to 163, out of the total 211 across England bidding to become statutory NHS organisations.

However, all but 33 CCGs in the first three waves have been authorised with 'conditions' - meaning they were unable to meet in full the 119 criteria for authorisation set out by the NHSCB, and will face additional checks on their work.

A total of 56 third-wave CCGs were authorised with conditions, including five that could be forced to work with staff appointed directly by the NHSCB to oversee improvements because of the severity of their failings.

These five - NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG, NHS Herefordshire CCG, NHS Newham CCG, NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG and NHS Vale of York CCG - have also been identified as needing higher levels of support. These groups have received 'legal directions' - legally binding instructions from the NHSCB that formalise arrangements for intensive management support.

Criteria not met by some CCGs in the third wave include not having satisfactory arrangements in place to take over from PCTs, not having adequate quality, innovation, productivity and prevention (QIPP) plans or adequate financial plans.

Map of CCG authorisation waves

Dame Barbara Hakin, the NHSCB national director of commissioning development, said: ‘CCGs will have wide-ranging responsibilities with regard to patient safety and will manage very large budgets, so it is vital that they are robust and capable of making important decisions. The NHSCB has a duty to ensure CCGs have that capability across all their responsibilities, and we take that duty very seriously.

‘CCGs have made fantastic progress in a very short time. It has always been clear that some of the new organisations would be at different stages to others, often dependent on their previous commissioning activities. All four CCGs will continue to receive this focused support from the NHSCB and we are confident that they will be able to further develop their capabilities within the coming months.

‘At the point of authorisation, a CCG has sufficient building blocks in place to become a mature and developed commissioning organisation. Even those CCGs authorised with no conditions at all will be working to make further improvements in the future, and the NHSCB will continue to support all CCGs in their development.’

The six CCGs authorised without conditions today were Central Manchester CCG, Erewash CCG, Newark and Sherwood CCG, North Derbyshire CCG, North Tyneside CCG and Southern Derbyshire CCG.

Conditions imposed on the first wave of CCGs, authorised last December, are due to be reviewed next month as the fourth and final wave of CCGs undergo authorisation.

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