Board Authority provides more detail on commissioning support hosting and governance

National Director: Commissioning Development Dame Barbara Hakin has provided an update on the hosting charge which the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) will require commissioning support units (CSUs) to pay.

She said the NHS CB is hoping to agree a charge that is less than the 50p per head figure that the NHS Commissioning Board Authority had originally asked CSUs to use in their planning assumptions for 2013-14.

The hosting charge will cover the costs of the CSU Transition Team at the NHS CB – and its work to assure, develop and externalise CSUs – and costs which the NHS CB will incur to act as employer and host and to provide infrastructure to the 23 CSUs, such as HR, payroll, audit, IT, estates and legal services.

The Board Authority is currently developing the hosting arrangements which will be put in place between the NHS CB and CSUs. It is setting up a series of working groups – across areas such as HR, informatics, intellectual property and estates – to explore the governance arrangements and contribute to this developing work.

The Board Authority has also awarded a contract to Price Waterhouse Coopers which will help it to explore and appraise the potential externalisation options. This will be part of the work of the Commissioning Support Strategy and Market Development Team.

CSUs are likely to be granted a licence to operate by the NHS CB in the autumn. This will define the relationship between CSUs and the NHS CB, including the freedoms and delegated powers granted by the NHS CB to each CSU.

CSUs with a higher risk profile will have greater levels of intervention than those with a lower level of risk.

CSUs will have governance arrangements equivalent to a board, including individuals who can act in a ‘non-executive’ type role, but will not be able legally to call these arrangements a board. This is because CSUs are not yet organisations, but part of the NHS CB and consequently part of its governance arrangements.

Following the announcement of the appointment of the 16th CSU managing director on 15 August, further appointments are expected in early September. For a number of CSUs where there are strong interim arrangements, it may be that substantive appointments will be made later in the year.