Health and Wellbeing Boards and Clinical Commissioning Groups Round Table
What are the activities that Health and Wellbeing Boards and Clinical Commissioning Groups can carry out to develop the credibility and authority needed to lead the integration of local health and care services?
Health and wellbeing board chairs, CCG chairs, senior local authority and NHS officers and NHS providers and commissioners attended a roundtable discussion event at Church House Conference Centre on Wednesday 30 April 2014, chaired by Professor Paul Corrigan.
The event was helpful in reaffirming several key ways in which HWBs and CCGs can develop credibility and authority. Three major themes arose from discussions held:
1. Health and Wellbeing Boards can develop their authority and credibility through better public understanding of what they do and what they are trying to achieve
Effective communication and engagement with the public around the role and function of HWBs is an important means of increasing authority and credibility. HWBs’ authority will naturally increase in time through greater public recognition of their purpose and impact. HWBs can encourage this by:
- Developing a simple, high level vision and narrative that can be easily understood by members of the public, and that a wide range of partners can support.
- Carefully considering the language used in any public HWB communications to make sure this is meaningful, simple and resonates with members of the public.
- Establishing an honest, direct dialogue with members of the public, such as directly consulting on HWB priorities or involving the public in budget allocation processes.
2. Health and Wellbeing Boards and Clinical Commissioning Groups must spend time ensuring they have the right membership and internal governance structures if they are to be effective and have impact.
Getting governance and membership right was again identified as vital in ensuring that HWBs and CCGs were as effective as possible. Attendees reaffirmed the importance of:
- Ensuring boards have impact by focusing on the most important partners needed to take decisions, rather than an expecting all members to attend every meeting.
- Asking councillors and local MPs to support and promote HWB agendas with their electorate, to help raise Boards’ profile and increase the legitimacy of their work.
- In two-tier local authority areas, for Boards to work closely with district councils to build credibility at a local level to establish authority from the ‘bottom up’.
3. Health and Wellbeing Boards can widen their authority by involving a broader range of providers to have a more preventative, whole population health approach and affect a broader range of outcomes.
HWBs have the potential to focus on preventative approaches to population health, and taking a more radical approach to involving a broader range of partners to affect change. They can bring together partners who would not ordinarily work together, such as:
- Working with wider, local public services like housing and environmental services and other non-medical providers to affect wider population health outcomes.
- Working with voluntary sector providers or ‘neighbourhood networks’ to help to tackle localised problems like social isolation and the delivery of care in the home.
- Involving local hospitals in their work, given their influence and impact.