Council leaders claim victory over care trust appointments

Local authorities will be responsible for selecting members to
represent their interests on voluntary care trusts, the government
has confirmed.

In what the Local Government Association described as a
“significant breakthrough”, health minister John Hutton has given
written assurances that the responsibility for choosing local
authority representatives for voluntary trusts would lie with
councils, not the Independent Appointments Commission.

The IAC will, however, retain responsibility for screening those
selected before they are appointed to ensure they meet the
requirements for serving on public bodies as set out by the Office
of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

It is not yet clear whether the same arrangements will apply in
cases where care trusts are imposed by the health secretary because
local partnerships are deemed to be failing.

The breakthrough came as a result of an emergency meeting
between Hutton and LGA leaders, after a demand was issued by the
LGA and other voluntary and public sector partners for the removal
of Care Trusts from the Health and Social Care Bill all

They were disappointed that the bill – which is set to reach the
statute book before an anticipated June election – establishes care
trusts as NHS bodies rather than “new, truly joint organisations”,
and wanted reassurances about how such bodies would be set up

“The LGA has sought assurances from the minister for health that
councils will be equal partners in the proposed care trusts,” LGA
chairperson Sir Jeremy Beecham said.

“The LGA is delighted that the minister has responded positively
to our concerns that local authorities can nominate members for
care trusts, subject to checks for probity by the Independent
Appointments Commission.”

Hutton also agreed in his letter to Beecham that it would be
“sensible and pragmatic” to appoint council members to serve as
care trust board members for their term in office as

He promised to continue to explore the issue of accountability
of local authority-nominated members to their authority in more

The LGA is concerned that locally elected representatives must
be fully accountable to both service users and tax payers for
decisions about services for which they are legally

* The Health and Social Care Bill was delayed at the report
stage of the House of Lords in order to rush through emergency
legislation to postpone the local government elections. The report
stage has been rescheduled for the end of April, after which the
bill will return to the House of Commons for ratification.



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