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Commissioning Board to help choose CCG’s accountable officer as details of authorisation conditions emerge

The NHS Commissioning Board will be involved in the recruitment and selection process for an accountable officer in Herts Valley CCG after authorising it with 21 level four conditions.

The Board has also specified ‘legal directions’ – legally binding conditions for authorisation - for two other CCGs, Nene and Medway. It comes after a second wave of 67 CCGs was yesterday authorised to take over responsibility for the NHS in their local area from 1 April.

Herts Valley CCG’s legal direction states that the Board will ‘oversee and supervise the development of NHS Herts Valleys CCG’s capacity and capability to maintain strategic oversight with available resources and that the CCG must seek approval from the Board prior to proposing an accountable officer for appointment’.  

In practice, this means that the local area team ‘will be involved in the recruitment and selection process for the CCG’s permanent accountable officer’, a Board spokesperson said.

In order to be authorised, Nene CCG will have to use a neighbouring commissioning group, Corby CCG, to commission its local hospital, Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The legal direction states: ‘This means that NHS Corby CCG has, from 1 April 2013, the function of commissioning that service on its own behalf and that of NHS Nene CCG, for the contract between Nene and Corby CCGs and Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.’

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Medway CCG will have to provide evidence of the steps it has taken to devise a financial plan and will have to ‘demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Board that its governing body has built its understanding and ownership of the financial plan’.

Dr Nicholas Small, chair of Herts Valley CCG, said: ‘We were made aware of these [legal directions] following our authorisation visit in October and have already made significant progress towards strengthening our strategic and financial planning, putting measures in place to ensure that we have good governance arrangements and developing our clinical leadership.’ 

‘We know that another factor that is key to our success is the appointment of a substantive accountable officer. Now that we have an excellent interim accountable officer in post, we are moving towards a permanent appointment soon.’

Dr Nathan Nathan, chair of Medway CCG, said: ‘The NHS Commissioning Board has acknowledged that we have a strong team in place to concentrate on all that needs to be done.’

‘It is important to emphasise, as the NHS Commissioning Board has done, that the financial direction imposed relates specifically to our financial plan for the future. We are on track to meet our financial targets this year. We also have robust plans in place to meet financial targets for 2013/14.’

Nene CCG was unavailable for comment.