The Department of Health has published a draft Legislative Reform Order (LRO) to address an issue which many of you will have faced since April 2013. Under the NHS Act 2006, commissioners currently face the following two obstacles in relation to joint working:
- Although section 14Z3 allows CCGs to exercise commissioning functions jointly, it does not allow CCGs to form joint committees. This seems odd, especially as PCTs could previously do this and as CCGs can form joint committees with other organisations.
- CCGs and NHS England can jointly exercise NHS England’s functions and NHS England can exercise CCG functions, where requested. However, CCGs and NHS England cannot jointly exercise CCG functions, or form a joint committee.
The LRO proposes that both of these points be amended in the NHS Act 2006, so as to reduce the administrative burden on commissioners. Consultation on the proposals showed support for the changes. We have certainly been advising commissioners on how they can achieve joint working under the current rules and our view is that these amendments should be welcomed. They should make it easier for commissioners to work together in order to improve service quality, value for money and consistency.