Integration: Birmingham to create £315m health and care budget

Birmingham Council and its NHS partners are set to create a pooled budget of £315m, in what is believed to be one of the biggest social care and health partnership arrangements in the country. 

On Monday the city council’s cabinet will decide whether to link up its adults and communities directorate with Birmingham’s three primary care trusts to jointly commission learning disability and mental health services.

The move is designed to help save money and reshape services in line with the personalisation agenda, providing greater choice for users.

If this goes ahead, as part of a section 75 agreement under the 2006 Health Act, the council would take the lead for learning disability commissioning for all four partner organisations, and NHS Birmingham East and North would lead on commissioning mental health services.

At present, the four partners commission mental health and learning disability services separately, in many cases from the same providers.

Sue Anderson, cabinet member for adults and communities, said the partnership would eliminate “duplication and bureaucracy” and allow resources to be redirected to the frontline. She said: “The section 75 agreement is a step-change in partnership working in Birmingham. We will make the public pound stretch further by working together across agencies, as well as helping people with disabilities and mental health illness to take more control of their own lives.”

The new partnership wants to reduce the proportion of the city’s learning disability budget spent on residential care from 55% to 40% over the next three years through more supported living and home-based support arrangements.

The council is also putting an extra £100m into frontline social work for children and young people, but at the expense of children’s homes and other support staff.
The jobs of up to 1,300 residential care workers, care assistants, administrators and other staff in children’s homes  have been declared “at risk” of redundancy by the council.

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