What are integrated care systems?

Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are partnerships of organisations that come together to plan and deliver joined up health and care services, and to improve the lives of people who live and work in their area.

Following several years of locally led development, recommendations of NHS England and NHS Improvement and Royal Assent of the Health and Care Act (2022), 42 ICSs will be established across England on a statutory basis on 1 July 2022.

Each ICS will include:

  • an Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) – a statutory committee jointly formed between the NHS Integrated Care Board and all upper-tier local authorities that fall within the ICS area. The ICP will bring together a broad alliance of partners concerned with improving the care, health and wellbeing of the population, with membership determined locally. The ICP is responsible for producing an integrated care strategy on how to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the population in the ICS area.
  • an Integrated Care Board (ICB) – a statutory NHS organisation responsible for developing a plan for meeting the health needs of the population, managing the NHS budget and arranging for the provision of health services in the ICS area. When ICBs are legally established, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will be abolished
  • local authorities in the ICS area, which are responsible for social care and public health functions as well as other vital services for local people and businesses
  • within each ICS, place-based partnerships will lead the detailed design and delivery of integrated services across their localities and neighbourhoods. The partnerships will involve the NHS, local councils, community and voluntary organisations, local residents, people who use services, their carers and representatives and other community partners with a role in supporting the health and wellbeing of the population.
  • provider collaboratives will bring providers together to achieve the benefits of working at scale across multiple places and one or more ICSs, to improve quality, efficiency and outcomes and address unwarranted variation and inequalities in access and experience across different providers

The purpose of ICSs is to bring partner organisations together to:

  • improve outcomes in population health and healthcare
  • tackle inequalities in outcomes, experience and access
  • enhance productivity and value for money
  • help the NHS support broader social and economic development.

Collaborating as ICSs will help health and care organisations tackle complex challenges, including:

  • improving the health of children and young people
  • supporting people to stay well and independent
  • acting sooner to help those with preventable conditions
  • supporting those with long-term conditions or mental health issues
  • caring for those with multiple needs as populations age
  • getting the best from collective resources so people get care as quickly as possible.