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Supporting the NHS Q1 2022

Ensuring ICSs and local authorities work together to meet the needs of people

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Dr Rosie Benneyworth

Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care, CQC

The Health and Care Bill gives the Care Quality Commission (CQC) new powers to assess local authorities on the delivery of their social care duties and to have oversight of integrated care systems (ICSs).

The new powers will be used to ensure that all system partners, including ICS leaders and local government, work together to improve outcomes for people. 

Ensuring quality and safety and reducing inequalities will be central to ICSs and our role will be to ensure they deliver excellent, joined-up care that meets the needs of the populations they serve.

Early detection and prevention are key to improving outcomes for people and ICSs have an opportunity to address people’s needs early on. This will require ICSs to really understand the populations they serve and to think innovatively to tackle problems.

A new single assessment framework

At the core of our approach will be our new single assessment framework, against which we will assess providers, ICSs and local authorities. This framework will set out what we expect good care to look like in terms of what a person should experience when accessing care and navigating the health and social care sector.

We want our assessments to provide independent assurance to people about how well health and social care partners within an ICS area are working. We also want to identify good practice, innovation and share learning.

Early detection and prevention are key to improving outcomes for people.

Assessing effective leadership in systems

As well as looking at integrated pathways of care for people using health and social care services, we will also assess how effectively leaders in systems work together to plan and develop services in partnership with local people and deal with quality and safety issues.

It is vital that our role adds value and does not duplicate the important work done by our system partners. We recognise the complexity of this work, the importance of getting it right and we are committed to co-producing our approach with key partners, wider stakeholders and people who use health and social care services.

Supporting improvement and sharing good practice

Finally, we want to be clear that while we will be holding the organisations we regulate to account where there are failings, we also want to continue to work across the health and social care sector to enable improvement and share good practice.

We will ensure that this forms a key part of our approach as we develop it in partnership over the coming months. This will include working with people using services, their carers and families, voluntary sector organisations, health and social care providers and other key stakeholders.

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