Board Authority appoints first CSS managing directors and announces decision to host

The first round of appointments to commissioning support service (CSS) managing director posts has been made by the NHS Commissioning Board Authority. Nine appointments have been made, while discussions are ongoing with others.

The successful appointees, and their current CSSs, are:

  • Robert Bacon – Birmingham, Black Country and Solihull Commissioning Support Service
  • Stephen Childs – North East Commissioning Support
  • Keith Douglas – Commissioning Support South
  • Jan Hull – Best West Commissioning Support
  • Derek Kitchen – Staffordshire Commissioning Support Service
  • Rachel Pearce – Arden Commissioning Support Service
  • Andrew Ridley – North Central and East London Commissioning Support Service
  • Ming Tang – CSS to be confirmed
  • Sarah Whiting – North West London Commissioning Support Service.

It the same time, the Board Authority has announced that all 23 CSSs will now proceed to be hosted by the NHS Commissioning Board from October 2012; a shift in emphasis brought about as a result of Checkpoint 2, where the numbers of CSSs reduced to 23, and subsequent further evaluation which has made it clear that each is viable in terms of scale. In addition, the Board Authority recognises the need for stability for CSSs and their customers to ensure a successful transition to the new clinical commissioning system.

This decision will also ensure:

  • there is stability and continuity for CCGs as they prepare for and progress through the authorisation process, and as they carry out the procurement of their choice of commissioning support post-April 2013
  • the CSS development process is better aligned with the national HR transition process
  • CSSs can ensure they are the ‘right size’ – a process of ensuring their income covers their costs – in time for April 2013.

Clearly, no CSSs will now be stopped at Checkpoint 3, although this does not rule out further size variation or adjustment to management configurations as a result of the assurance process. Instead, building on the outcome of Checkpoint 2 – where all 23 were judged to be viable – the focus will be on making sure all CSSs are as good as they can be by April 2013.

Where there are still gaps in leadership appointments, the Board Authority has said that immediate leadership arrangements will be put in place to ensure that all CCGs receive the support they need for authorisation and transition, and to ensure that all CSSs are capable of continuing to progress at pace. In some cases, existing interim managing directors will continue in post, while in others there will be new interim management arrangements.

Dame Barbara Hakin, National Director of Commissioning Development, said: “I’m very pleased to announce the first CSS managing director appointments. Many congratulations to the nine successful candidates and their teams; it is a very positive step to see the first appointments to these important new units and enables us now to proceed at pace in putting the full senior management teams in place and, following that, the wider staffing structure.

“These are significant new roles, requiring a very broad set of skills and competencies and it is absolutely essential for the future sustainability of CSSs that we get these appointments right.

“I’m also pleased to be able to announce a period of greater stability and continuity both for CSSs and CCGs, and for NHS staff who wish to transfer into CSSs.

“Our key focus now is to ensure that CSS development continues at a rapid pace over the next few months as we continue the recruitment process. I am confident that CSSs will continue to provide a good service to CCGs over the coming months and that, very soon, we will be making further very high calibre appointments.”

The external recruitment search process has already begun and an advert for the roles was placed in HSJ last week.  Potential candidates for these roles will find further information on the CSS Leaders website.

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