As part of its statutory obligations to monitor the performance of CCGs, NHS England has now published its CCG Assurance Framework which outlines how it will approach regularly assessing whether CCGs are meeting their objectives.

This Assurance Framework sets out the framework for quarterly assurance meetings which will assess the performance of CCGs in the following six domains:

  1. Are patients receiving clinically commissioned, high quality services?
  2. Are patients and the public actively engaged and involved?
  3. Are CCG plans delivering better outcomes for patients?
  4. Does the CCG have robust governance arrangements?
  5. Are CCGs working in partnership with others?
  6. Does the CCG have strong and robust leadership?

The fourth quarter assurance meeting will feed into the CCGs annual assessment and NHS England is keen to stress that this process should build on existing data and reporting processes so should involve minimal additional paperwork.

NHS England is also keen to stress that this framework “is a model for the mature relationships” it wishes to build with CCGs and there is some room for local discretion in the agenda for meetings, and potential for less frequent assurance meetings where a CCG has demonstrated strong performance. However, how this will work in practice remains to be seen.

Operational guidance has been published to help CCGs understand the assurance process and is available here: http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/d-com/assurance/.