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The Queen has delivered her speech to the House of Lords setting out the Coalition Government’s programme for the next Parliamentary year. In this briefing, we highlight the bills relevant to local government. We also provide a full list of all the bills and draft bills announced as well as the relevant links.
A recent report considers three means of enabling users of health and social care services to have greater control of how services are commissioned: pooling personal budgets; drawing on service users’ own choices and insights to inform commisioning; and developing peer support from service-user and staff-led mutual organisations.
This briefing outlines the findings of a new LGiU report, supported by Home Group. ‘A Good Death: the role of the local authority in good end of life care’ looks at the role of local authorities in end of life care provision and considers how councils can best develop their part in this important service provision.
The framework has been developed in collaboration with third sector organisations campaigning on mental health issues. It provides a systematic outline of the potential contribution and the expectations of Government for a number of sectors and organisations in relation to improving mental health. Unlike previous outcomes frameworks for health and social care, it does not list specific mental health outcomes against which progress can be measured. Instead it refers to the outcomes in the other frameworks and indicates that they will be used to measure progress in improving mental health. To assist this process a “dashboard” listing the relevant outcomes will be published in the autumn.
The framework does not contain any surprises, but does reinforce the instruction in the Mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board that mental health should be given parity of esteem with physical health. There is a further commitment to producing a “payment by results” system for mental health which will reward service providers for achieving certain defined standards. There is no further detail given on the proposed system. The framework is to be welcomed for reinforcing a commitment to improving mental health. The role of Health and Wellbeing Boards in ensuring that this commitment is implemented in practice could be very significant.
This briefing summarises and comments on a report and recommendations by the National Association of LINks Members (NALM) on a recent survey of local authorities and LINks on the progress made in each area towards setting up a local Healthwatch organisation. The briefing will be of interest to local government officers and Members with responsibility for overseeing the transition to Healthwatch and also to LINks members.
Many councils are grappling with how to ensure their services promote better outcomes for their local communities, and nowhere is this more true than adult social care. Although outcomes are generally acknowledged to be the future of commissioning (recent LGiU …
This policy briefing summarises and comments on a Department of Health consultation which seeks views on some major changes to how health scrutiny operates; these include a proposal to require the full council to agree to refer contested NHS reconfigurations to the Secretary of State.
The Bill, which in large part accepts the recommendations of the recent Law Commission review, aims to bring together all the underlying rights powers and duties that underpin the national legislative framework for social care. While retaining the principles of means testing and eligibility thresholds, it introduces into legislation principles of well-being, integration, prevention and early intervention. It also gives new rights to carers and new duties to local authorities to provide a universal information and advice service and to promote a local diverse market in social care. It provides a statutory requirement for local authorities to enable individuals to defer payments (with interest) against the security of their homes. ‘Portable’ assessments are introduced to ensure greater continuity of care for people moving authority areas. Regulations will permit the setting by the Secretary of State of a national eligibility threshold, although local authorities will be able to lower this threshold if they wish (but not raise it). Most of the underlying principles of the Bill have been welcomed by professional and voluntary sector organisations, but there has been universal criticism of the Government for not simultaneously introducing a future funding strategy for social care, although it has said it accepts the principles of the Dilnot report.
The annual report which is a requirement of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 gives the Secretary of State’s assessment of the NHS in 2011/12, including public health. It picks out certain topics for further comment, such as health inequalities, health and wellbeing and integrated care, which will be of interest to local authorities. It assesses the NHS’ achievements in relation to national targets and gives a brief overview of areas in which the NHS could do better as compared with other European countries. Although some of the document reads like a defence of government policy rather than an objective report, it also contains useful information in text and graphic form and touches briefly on the role of Health and Wellbeing Boards.