Commissioning support services: Outcome of Checkpoint 2

The NHS Commissioning Board Authority has today published the results of the second stage in the business review process for commissioning support services (CSSs), known as ‘Checkpoint 2’.

The objective of Checkpoint 2 is to assess whether emerging CSSs are on a viable and secure path and have the ability to develop a full business plan by August 2012 when they will undertake the final checkpoint, prior to a decision on hosting arrangements by the Board Authority.

Twenty five regional NHS commissioning support services and the nationwide NHS Communications and Engagement Service submitted outline business plans for Checkpoint 2. The decisions are:

Scenario A: CSS proceeds with medium to low issues as part of development plan

  • South Yorkshire
  • Staffordshire
  • North West London
  • Arden
  • North Yorkshire and Humber
  • Kent and Medway
  • Merseyside
  • Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral
  • Norfolk and Waveney
  • North East
  • North and East London
  • West Yorkshire
  • Best West (Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire)
  • CSS South (Southampton, Hampshire, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight)

Scenario B: CSS proceeds with issues that need more rapid management

  • Greater East Midlands
  • Greater Manchester
  • Cumbria and Lancashire
  • Birmingham and Black Country
  • Essex
  • South London
  • Surrey and Sussex
  • Central Southern (Bucks, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire and Swindon)
  • Hertfordshire

Scenario C: CSS stops

  • West Mercia
  • Peninsula (Devon and Cornwall)
  • NHS Communications and Engagement Service

CSS development plans, and plans for those CSSs which have been stopped, are currently being drawn up to ensure high quality commissioning support continues to be made available to all clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). The development plans will be binding and if the milestones in the plan are not met the Board Authority will review its support for the CSS. While CSSs are hosted by the Board Authority, it will be responsible for the financial risk.

In the case of those CSSs which will not proceed beyond Checkpoint 2, the next steps will be:

  • West Mercia and Peninsula– Strategic health authority (SHA) clusters are working with local CCGs, primary care trust clusters and CSSs to develop plans.
  • NHS Communications and Engagement Service – An alternative business model, which will be nationally coordinated in a similar way to the other ‘at scale’ commissioning support offers, is being developed.

In all three cases, there will still be a significant need for locally-based staff to deliver support services to CCGs and the main impact will be to senior management arrangements and organisation shape rather than to the roles that are available to NHS staff.

Download the Checkpoint 2 report here.

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