By Accountable Care Journal-
On 7 September, NHS England published a new model constitution for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), together with FAQs and supporting notes. This is the first time that the model has been revised and updated since it was introduced in 2012, when CCGs were established.
The review and update of the model constitution was led by Nicola King, Managing Director of thiNKnow Ltd.
Gerard Hanratty, Partner at Browne Jacobson, and Charlotte Harpin, Associate, provided legal support to Nicola, building on the extensive experience they have in advising both CCGs and NHS England on matters relating to CCG constitutions over the last five years.
The new model has been significantly shortened and made more flexible. One of the key objectives throughout the review process was to ensure that the new version supported CCGs in developing integrated or collaborative working arrangements and the new model enables this by:
- Recognising the speed of change associated with integration, as well as the fact that arrangements evolve over time. For instance, CCGs will be able to describe the detail of their committee structure outside of the constitution, meaning that this will not be subject to the formal NHS England constitution approvals process. Where this approach is adopted, a committees handbook (or equivalent) must be maintained and published,
- model wording is included for various joint and collaborative working arrangements, with clear guidance on what these options are in the FAQs and supporting notes,
- the Scheme of Reservation and Delegation is no longer part of the constitution, enabling updates to be made without NHS England approval being required,
- with the agreement of members, CCGs can agree certain aspects of the constitution that are not 'material' and which can be revised without member approval being required,
- ensuring that the legally permissible options for who decisions can be delegated to by a CCG governing body is clearly set out.
Adoption of the model is not mandatory but we would encourage all CCGs to have a look at it, as well as the FAQs and supporting notes, and use it as the basis for any review and update of their constitution. This is particularly where, as part of any integration plan, new governance arrangements are being developed.
The new documents can be found here.
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