The Department of Health has worked with partners to develop guidance that will support effective scrutiny by local government of the commissioning and delivery of local services, helping to ensure they are effective and safe.
The guidance is aimed at local authorities, health and wellbeing boards, NHS commissioners and providers, and local Healthwatch. The guidance underlines the importance of all partners in the system understanding their own and each other’s roles and responsibilities, and working together to improve the quality of services.
The guidance also describes the new powers provided to local Healthwatch by the Local Authorities (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny) Regulations 2013, and describes how health and wellbeing boards and local Healthwatch can work collaboratively with local government scrutiny committees to ensure that the views and concerns of patients and public are heard throughout the scrutiny process.
The guidance is due to be published in November 2013.
In June 2014, the Department issued guidance to local authorities on how to scrutinise local health systems. The guidance supports local government, the NHS and other local partners to understand and develop their roles in relation to health scrutiny, and ensure that it adds value for local communities. The publication of the guidance was put back in order to ensure consistency with related policy around local consultation on proposals for service reconfiguration, and to allow additional engagement with local authorities and other system partners.
The Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England have jointly commissioned a programme of support for 2014/15 for local authorities in exercising their health scrutiny powers.