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Publish date: 06/12/2021

Last week the Health and Social Care Bill finished its report stage in Parliament and is now working its way through the House of Lords. If the Bill reaches Royal Assent, it will see the existing integrated care systems (ICS) placed on statutory footing in April 2022 and the NHS split into multiple parts, with 42 boards making decisions regarding local practice funding and services.

The ICSs will have two statutory components: integrated care boards (ICBs) and integrated care partnerships (ICPs). If the Bill passes, the ICBS will take over the commissioning of GP services when the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are disbanded, taking accountability for NHS spend and performance.

Local government will play an important role in ensuring that planning and services are connected as the new integrated care systems develop. There will, in consequence, be much for us to digest. Rest assured that LLG will be providing bespoke training on this area in the New Year and beyond to help you navigate through the changes and highlight the important legal changes required at your authority.

On the theme of public health, the re-emergence of some restrictions and identification of the Omicron variant has prompted many of you to re-evaluate your council meetings and the manner in which they are held. We have already heard from authorities that are moving to restrict the number of councillors who are able to attend, whilst live streaming for those who cannot attend for health reasons; reducing the number of items to be discussed and minimising those items that require voting. No doubt you are undertaking your own assessments. In light of these circumstances, we have written this week to the Minister at DLUHC to ask that the government look again urgently to make provision for local authorities in England to hold remote, decision-making meetings.

Looking ahead in December, we are busy populating our exciting new website and getting ready for launch, finalising our new and improved bursary scheme and cementing the strategy for our branch and national lead review. There is also still plenty of time to register for our Development Consent Orders training on 14th December and if you are in the first five years of your career, why not come along to the free Junior National Lead Group meeting on 16th December which you can register for at membership@llg.org.uk

Best wishes

Helen McGrath

Head of Public Affairs