Government remains committed to health integration

Local areas will gain increased flexibility over how to integrate health and social...

Local areas will gain increased flexibility over how to integrate health and social care, a top Treasury official has said.

Speaking at a King’s Fund conference today, Treasury director of public services Helen Bailey said the new government wanted councils and primary care trusts to work together to make efficiency savings.

But she said: “It’s clear the new government is very localised. It’s wanting to do commissioning at a local level. It’s telling local authorities there will be less inspection and regulation but it’s not saying ‘don’t work together’. Different things work in different places.”

The conference looked at progress on the Labour government’s Total Place initiative, under which local public bodies in 13 pilot areas were asked to work together to develop common solutions to problems and make efficiency savings on a “whole area” basis.

It also heard that Total Place was also going to be renamed “place-based solutions” under the coalition government, a shift revealed by David Parsons, chair of the Local Government Association’s improvement board.

The previous government in March offered councils greater freedoms if they made an offer on how much they could deliver better outcomes, redesign services around users’ needs, or make savings.

Among the incentives on offer were a reduction in ring fencing – something which has already been offered to all councils by the new government – and a single capital budget covering all local agencies.

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