Integrated Personal Commissioning deadline looms – get your skates on, or not

Posted on September 8th, by geoff in CT blog. 4 comments

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

Last week, NHS England announced a complex commissioning initiative to provide services for people with complex needs. The ‘Integrated Personal Commissioning’ (IPC) programme will see health and social care budgets pooled with service provision commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups and/or local authorities.

In announcing the programme, NHS England said voluntary sector organisations would have a key role to play. Indeed, applications to join the programme must include at least one voluntary sector partner as a joint applicant. The online prospectus does mention other providers but shies away from using the word “private”:

“Applications must be made jointly by one or more CCG and local authorities and at least one voluntary sector partner,” says the IPC prospectus.

“They can include other commissioners and providers. Conflicts of interest would need to be managed if providers are included. Other providers should not be disadvantaged by the involvement of the VCS as partners in the programme.”

Who will be making the commissioning decisions is not at all clear. Apart from NHS England the other bodies behind the IPC programme are the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Think Local Act Personal (TLAP). IPC was announced by NHS England, which already directly commissions specialist services, so it seems likely that NHS England will have executive oversight in approving the projects. Certainly applications must be made to NHS England.

At the time of the announcement (Thursday, September 4), interested parties had just two months and one day (the closing date for applications is November 7th) to decide what services they’d like to commission, find their joint partners, sort out any conflicts of interest and put together their bid.

ADASS president David Pearson has described the IPC programme as a “massive, decisive and encouraging step forward”. I beg to differ – as it stands, it sounds very much like a ‘toe-in-the-water’ exercise and nothing to get too worked-up about, apart from the waste of our money spent on cooking-up the scheme, its implementation and the snubbing of private providers.

No doubt the IPC facilitators have been working up a couple of pet projects behind the scenes. At the appropriate time, they will trot them out and claim to have done their bit towards joint commissioning and health and social care integration. Do I hear the sound of one hand clapping?

  • – The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

4 responses to “Integrated Personal Commissioning deadline looms – get your skates on, or not”

  1. Bob Ferguson says:

    I think you have a firm hold of the wrong end of the stick, Geoff. It’s all very well pandering to what is already a well-developed feeling of exclusion among private providers, but this isn’t your run-of-the-mill commissioning prospectus. Read the criteria applicants will have to demonstrate and then ask yourself how many mainstream private providers will be interested. No abacus required!

  2. geoff says:

    That is one of the points I was making. Perhaps I was being overly subtle, but the brevity of a blog does not allow an exhaustive critique.

    • Bob Ferguson says:

      Wrong stick, Geoff! Private providers will not be excluded by the complexity of the application criteria. My guess is that they simply will not be interested in getting involved in the type of services that are necessary.

  3. Geoff Hodgson says:

    Precisely. I quote the passage which says providers will not be excluded, and then imply, in both the headline and the text, that they will not be interested.

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