Speaking on a DH web-chat, national managing director for commissioning development Dame Barbara Hakin discussed issues regarding CCGs, including preferred size, commissioning support and relationships with local authorities.
Despite fears that some CCGs will struggle to cover their running costs, Dame Barbara said that the £25 per head management allowance, which she described as ‘fair and reasonable’, would not change.
She added: ‘It has been decided that funding for the quality premium will be separate from this £25 per head.'
Dame Barbara also confirmed that CCGs would be free to choose their own preferred source of commissioning support and that the any qualified provider (AQP) model would make it easier for small organisations to provide those services.
She said: ‘With regard to commissioning support, CCGs will certainly be able to use voluntary and third sector organisations but they will need to adhere to the law.'
Discussing the relationship between CCGs and local authorities, Dame Barbara confirmed that local authorities would have the power to scrutinise CCG decisions if they were not signed off by health and wellbeing boards.
She said that any decisions about services funded entirely from NHS budgets would rest with the CCG, but should be based on joint strategic needs assessments - an analysis of local health needs agreed between the NHS and local authorities.
She added that it would be ‘good practice’ for major CCG decisions to have the sign-up of the health and wellbeing board. ‘While the local health and wellbeing board cannot veto a decision about the CCG's use of its resource it is important to remember that local authorities still have a scrutiny role so any decision made without health and wellbeing board sign-up would always be liable to intervention from the overview and scrutiny committee.’