One of the key tests for any clinical commissioning group (CCG) seeking authorisation from the NHS Commissioning Board will be that they have a constitution that is compliant with the requirements of the 2012 Act, and is “otherwise appropriate”. In effect this means that the Commissioning Board must be happy with it! The combination of the Act and the draft constitution issued by the Commissioning Board means that these documents are potentially complex and include a wide range of information and supporting documents which will need to be in place for your application. This creates a risk of a distraction from your core task of developing the commissioning skills to carry out the core CCG functions of improving health services for your population.
On the other hand the constitution cannot be ignored and without a satisfactory constitution you will not get authorisation. Perhaps more importantly in the longer term the way in which the constitution is structured will be key in ensuring that the governance arrangements for the group are effective, streamlined and support you in managing the risk of challenge to any of the group’s decisions.
We would very much welcome the opportunity to work with you to develop your constitution. We have wide experience in the NHS including working on over 60 foundation trust constitutions, and through working together with our colleagues in local government, private and third sector teams we can draw on best practice from outside the NHS to improve the way in which your organisations need to work to remain fleet of foot and to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy. We have developed constitutions for Community Interest Companies, housing Associations using the industrial and provident model as well as advising on the application of the John Lewis model to NHS bodies. This includes the development of the supporting governance documents including Standing orders, and the codes of conduct that sit alongside the core constitution. We also have extensive experience from the Commissioners, both in terms of the various restructurings of Executive committee functions and the wider decision making challenges which arise in the context of service change and individual case decisions. We can bring this learning to bear to enable you to develop a range of decision making bodies to be fit for purpose and effective to enable you to really drive forward the NHS in your area.
The scale of this work will depend to some degree on you. How complex or simple you want your constitution to be what will your government structures and decision making look like? How far do you want to depart from the model form published by the Board? We would welcome an initial discussion so that we could scope the work for you and give clear pricing and identify who on both sides would need to be involved in the work.
Currently CCGs are operating as PCG committees, which means that in terms of legal work you can use the existing PCT frameworks, although if, as we hope, you would want to develop a longer term relationship post authorisation we can discuss how you could do that.