The Legislative Reform (Clinical Commissioning Groups) Order 2014 amends the NHS Act 2006 (2006 Act) so that from 1 October 2014:
- two or more Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be able to form joint committees to exercise any of their commissioning functions jointly; and
- one or more CCGs and NHS England will be able to form joint committees to exercise the functions of a CCG.
CCGs being able to form joint committees
Currently although the 2006 Act allows CCGs to exercise their commissioning functions jointly, there is no provision in the 2006 Act to enable CCGs to exercise functions jointly by means of a joint committee. This means that CCGs are unable to set up a binding joint decision making body. CCGs who want to exercise their functions jointly have been creating “committees in common” to exercise their functions jointly. But as such committees do not have the authority to make decisions, CCG representatives sitting on them need to go back to the CCG appointing them for separate ratifications of matters discussed at the committee.
The inability of CCGs to form joint committees has created practical problems for CCGs when working together when jointly commissioning services and in areas such as continuing healthcare.
CCG/(s) and NHS England forming joint committees to jointly exercise functions of a CCG/(s)
Currently under the 2006 Act, NHS England may, at the request of a CCG/CCGs, exercise any of the CCG/(s) functions where requested by the CCG/(s).
The 2006 Act does not currently provide for a CCG/(s) and NHS England to create a joint committee to carry out CCG functions jointly. Paradoxically the 2006 Act does allow NHS England to form a joint committee with a range of other bodies (including CCGs) for the exercise of its functions.
Joint committees between CCGs and NHS England for the exercise of CCGs’ functions could be used to assist in joint decision making when there is a need to reconfigure services that cut across both NHS England and CCG commissioned services.
Allowing CCGs to create a joint decision making body either with other CCGs or NHS England will remove administrative burdens, allow CCGs greater flexibility in their commissioning arrangements, in discharging their functions and allow them to operate more efficiently and effectively in the future.