Weekly political news round up – 5th September 2014

September 5, 2014 in News by Whitehouse

Around the sector

The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will provide 15 hours of free childcare every week to all two year olds by 2020, should they form part of the Government in 2015. They also stated that they wanted to increase the free childcare offer to all children aged nine to 24 months where both parents are working, before later increasing the maximum hours funded by the state from 15 to 20 hours per week.

The Department for Education has published a guide for early years providers on the relevant aspects of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice. The guide highlights and clarifies areas of the Code of Practice which are relevant to early years providers, such as: information on the Local Offer, the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, the progress check at age two, SEN coordinators and education, health and care (EHC) assessments and plans. While the guide places no extra responsibilities on settings or does not strengthen the Code, it is welcome as it should make it easier for early years workers to digest the new reforms and adds a little more detail on how the Government envisage the new SEND system to work in early years settings.

Forthcoming events:

The House of Commons will rise again for party conference season on 12th September

NHS England publishes Integrated Personal Commissioning (personal budgets) partnership prospectus

NHS England has published a prospectus seeking partnership opportunities between CCGs, local authorities and voluntary sector partners for the extended personal budgets programme – known as Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC).

The IPC programme, which commences in April 2015, will bring together health and social care funding around individuals, enabling them to direct how it is used. Targeted at people with complex needs, including those with multiple long-term conditions and children eligible for education, health and care (EHC) plans, it seeks for a personalised approach to address acknowledged problems in the current care provision of patients. The programme is based on two core elements: person centred care and prevention of costly negative health outcomes.

It builds on the existing personal budget programme implemented under the previous government, as well as the more recent personal health budget programme. It recognises that progress in the development of personalised approaches which consider NHS and local government expenditure as a whole, such as EHC plans being implemented as part of the special educational needs and disability reforms, have been limited in general. The IPC programme will consider the inclusion of all NHS spend, including specialised commissioning.

The IPC programme will run for a minimum of three years, beginning in April 2015. Sites wishing to participate in the programme will need to have person-centred planning support and personal health budgets in place from this date, and will also be expected to contribute to national evaluation. As part of the programme, interested areas would be involved in developing and testing models which link what matters to people – person-centred outcomes as reported by patients/carers – to financial reimbursement.

Successful applicants will benefit from a combination of direct, joined-up senior sponsorship from NHS England, Public Health England and local government, and help on key issues such as the financial model, information governance, risk stratification, care planning, personal budget systems, and evaluation. Planned funding is in place for around 10 demonstrator sites during part of 2014/15 through 2016/17, although this may be higher depending on interest and the quality of applications.

Applications must be made jointly by one or more CCG and local authorities and at least one voluntary sector partner. In order to obtain an application form, an email expressing interest must be sent to england.ipc@nhs.net by 19th September 2014. Application forms must demonstrate how partners will fulfil a number of criteria, and must be returned to NHS England by 7th November 2014.

King’s Fund publishes report from the Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England

Health think-tank The King’s Fund has published the final report of its Commission on Health and Social Care, A new settlement for health and social care, calling for a single, ring-fenced budget for the NHS and social care, with a single commissioner for local services. The report rejects the idea of new NHS charges and private insurance options in favour of public funding for health and social care.

To fund such a change, the Commission recommends that higher public spending should be paid for through tax and National Insurance increases, reallocating funds from other areas of spending and changes to prescription charges. In the short term, the Commission proposes that the winter fuel payment and free TV licences be means tested, and that National Insurance at a reduced rate be levied for those who work past pension age. National Insurance would be paid at a higher rate for those over 40 and those on higher wages.