On 10 June finance colleagues from across health and social care in the North West came together on the topic of health and social care integration on the ‘Path to 2020’. The conference, which was hosted jointly by ADASS, NHS Skills Development Network and CIPFA, featured a stellar cast of speakers covering both local and national issues as well as opportunities for colleagues to learn more about finance on the ‘other side’ (health or local government). Look out for more information and (hopefully) photos in the next edition of CIPFA’s Spreadsheet magazine.
Rob Whiteman chaired the day which culminated in a Q&A panel. Rob asked the panellists for their top tips for finance teams working together on health and social care integration:
John Matheson, CIPFA President and Former Director of Finance for NHS Scotland
- Recognising the importance of finance’s role in driving change
- Taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by joining information together to create (Big data)
- Recognising the cultures of different organisations
- Tenacity and ‘stick-ability’ are needed to change financial problems into advantages.
Tony Pounder, Director of Adult Social Services, Lancashire County Council
- Need to recognise that the rate of churn of personnel in strategic and financial roles has been enormous.
- Need to work to understand each other's systems, cultures and key priorities
- The work done in Greater Manchester has been fantastic, but many areas are a lot further behind.
- Politicians have a huge challenge in understanding the complexities of Local Government finance, never mind the NHS so need ways to explain things clearly and simply.
- ADASS budget survey suggests technical savings are pretty much exhausted so the emphasis needs to be on allocative efficiency. It makes sense to do this work with health as the benefits will fall in both sectors.
Sue Lorimer, Business Director, NHS Improvement
- Colleagues across health and social care need to support each other. Recent problems in health have had the feeling of sinking into an abyss, with people grieving for the days when there was lots of growth money around. Local Government colleagues are more reconciled to funding reductions so there’s lots to learn.
- Jointly we have huge brainpower. Finance people working together can find the levers and practical tools to ease the pain and start transformation.
- Areas such as Greater Manchester have a ‘can do’ attitude, so take the lead from them and seize reality.
Becky Hellard, Director of Finance & Resources, Liverpool City Council
- Need to feel what it’s like in each other's world – Liverpool system starting to work on this.
- Finance, as the ‘Numbers people’, often makes the decisions or has a significant influence on the outcome.
- Many of the financial problems are systemic, and therefore need a wider remedy.
- Get out the brown paper and felt tips and go back to basics to find solutions.
- Don’t forget the need to balance the business needs and those of the public service.
We’ll be feeding these tips, along with learning from the conference into CIPFA’s one-day Integration Training Programme which is designed to help bust the myths about health and local government finance, enabling finance to lead the way on integration.