The government is moving forward with the agenda of devolving powers in England. The developments in Manchester are well-publicised; Cornwall was granted the first of the county deals on 23 July 2015; and most parts of the country submitted by the early September deadline: CIPFA’s analysis shows that 38 devolution deals were submitted and the outcomes are expected to be known by the spending review.
Devolution fits particularly well with health and social care as it provides more scope, scale and impetus to the collaborative working which is widely seen as key to improving the health outcomes obtainable from the limited resources available. CIPFA has already been closely involved in this agenda and just released a paper covering the outcomes from the CIPFA devolution summit [PDF].
CIPFA picked up this groundswell in the year-long programme of roundtables fed into the publication ‘Let’s Get Together’ (to be launched on 21 October 2015). GM’s involvement with CIPFA - as the first location to take this forward - is evident from their officers presenting at both of CIPFA’s autumn conferences on health and social care, and in their collaboration with CIPFA and representatives of the NHS’s Future Focused Finance initiative to produce training materials designed to increase the mutual understanding of NHS and local government finance professionals.
All of this activity aims to maximise the chances of successful integration in a devolved environment, recognising that there are important governance, planning and resourcing issues to tackle, and that even if the parties are working positively together, these are not simple matters - so it will be helpful to learn lessons from previous experience.
In addition to offering very service specific support CIPFA Networks also offers more generic help to those interested in finance including 'finance for non-finance managers' events and the successful financial resilience courses. These are all supported by substantial web-based resource material such as the new Transformation Hub which offers access to a host of resources.