CIPFA comment: the government's response to the Hewitt Review


Commenting on the Government’s response to the Hewitt Review, Eleanor Roy, CIPFA Health and Social Care Policy Manager, said:

“There is much to digest in this response. First impressions suggest a few grains of hope, but overall perhaps a lack of ambition to confront some key challenges, in favour of short-term priorities. The focus seems to be on what is already being done, with recommendations to go further on key areas essentially set aside.

“The greatest disappointment is the dismissal of earmarked funding for prevention, with the suggestion that this can be done within ICSs. An ‘arbitrary shift in spending’ may be somewhat meaningless, but without a clear incentive this is an area of investment that is all too easy to kick down the road in the face of immediate priorities and targets. When many ICSs are wrestling with challenging spending plans, this is extremely short-sighted.

“However, there are some hopeful signs. The commitment to a cross-departmental approach to ensure national and local outcomes are aligned is welcome, as is the re-iteration of the commitment to review and widen section 75 partnership arrangements for pooling budgets.

“We are pleased to see an acceptance of the recommendation to explore improvements in the ability to track and report on collective spending across the NHS and local government partners. While this presents many challenges, we are delighted to be included in this work and look forward to exploring possibilities to move towards a clearer view of place-based finance which could aid in local decision-making and transparency.”

Notes to Editor:

The UK Government’s response to the recommendations of the Hewitt Review was published on 14 June 2023.

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