Better Care Fund struggling with red tape

07-12-2015

The Government’s £5.3bn Better Care Fund (BCF), designed to get health and social care services working together, is being held back by too much red-tape, a report by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) shows today.

The Better Care Fund – Six Months On reveals more needs to be done to ensure the success of the BCF. However, the fund has already begun to produce improved working relationships between NHS bodies and local public services.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA Chief Executive, said: “Government must do more to support effective governance of the Better Care Fund. This is a real opportunity to get health and social care working together – focusing on prevention before cure – saving lives, time and money.  

“I commend the aim of the Better Care Fund but its administration must be simplified to if it is to deliver a meaningful impact.”

Paul Briddock, Director of Policy, Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), said:

“It’s positive that the report shows in just six months of the Better Care Fund being put in place, organisations are already beginning to integrate services and collaborate more. What is now needed as a next step, is for targeted streamlining and simplification of processes to take place.”

The report is based on the results of an HFMA and CIPFA joint finance staff survey of NHS bodies and local authorities representing almost a third of BCF sites.

Many of the 48 organisations that responded, representing £3.6bn of the total fund, said they had already experienced a positive improvement in dialogue across local public sector bodies. 

The BCF has also led to investment in innovative ways that respondents felt would not have taken place otherwise.

However, the number of positive responses was countered by some negative feedback; specifically focusing on complicated governance and unrealistic Government expectations of what can be achieved.

In the response to the survey results, HFMA and CIPFA have called upon the Government to:

Simplify and streamline the administrative and monitoring arrangements of the BCF prior to 2016/17

Ensure there is maximum synergy between BCF and the emerging devolution programme – which is likely to prove the most sustainable model for taking forward integration at scale

Use the lessons learnt from the BCF so far in plans for full integration of health and social care by 2017 to be implemented in 2020.

ENDS

For CIPFA media enquiries contact the CIPFA press office on 020 7543 5830/ 5787 / 5675 or email david.stone@cipfa.org 

For HFMA media enquiries contact the HFMA press office on 020 7010 0861 / 0839 or email hfma@kindredagency.com / elizabeth.hampson@kindredagency.com

About CIPFA

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) is one of the leading professional accountancy bodies in the UK and the only one which specialises in the public services. It is responsible for the education and training of professional accountants and for their regulation through the setting and monitoring of professional standards.

Uniquely among the professional accountancy bodies in the UK, CIPFA has responsibility for setting accounting standards for a significant part of the economy, namely local government. CIPFA’s members work (often at the most senior level) in the public service bodies, in the national audit agencies and major accountancy firms. They are respected throughout for their high technical and ethical standards and professional integrity. CIPFA also provides a range of high quality advisory, information and training and consultancy services to public service organisations. As such, CIPFA is the leading independent commentator on managing and accounting for public money.

About HFMA

The HFMA is the voice of 10,000 NHS finance directors and finance staff working in healthcare. HFMA is a registered charity and the only professional body in the UK dedicated to setting and promoting the highest standards in financial management and governance in healthcare, through encouraging more effective use of resources.

Their membership represents the majority of NHS finance directors and NHS finance staff. As the voice of two thirds of NHS finance staff (with 90% working in the NHS), HFMA’s membership includes CEOs, directors of finance, clinicians and practice managers, as well as other staff at all levels of the finance function.

As well as promoting best practice, they also offer education and CPD resources for the UK health economy through both their local and national networks

Further information about HFMA activities can be found on their website – www.hfma.org.uk or through their Twitter channel, @HFMA_UK