Berkshire West CCG Agrees To Single Accountable Officer for the BOB area

At its meeting on 14th January 2020 at NHS Bath Road, Reading the Governing Body of Berkshire West CCG agreed to the proposal to appoint a single Accountable Officer for the whole BOB area (West Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire). Buckinghamshire has already approved, and Oxfordshire will consider it later in January.

The proposal was the first of three contained in an engagement document which also suggested merging the 3 CCGs and strengthening the "Place"-based Integrated Care Partnerships in each of the three constituent Places.

The engagement exercise elicited 224 responses, with 42% of those whose origin could be identified being from the Berkshire West area and of those 68% were opposed and 24% had concerns about the proposal to have a single Accountable Officer for the BOB area. The opposition was not so strong from Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire who already have a common Accountable Officer. Not one of those responding as a GP supported the proposal for a single Accountable Officer.

The critical response drew proposals for mitigating actions from BOB, particularly creating the post of "Managing Director" at each of the 3 constituent Places.

Responses cited the un-natural nature of the BOB area, the loss of local voice and accountability and democratic oversight, concern about the proposed savings, infeasibility of the Accountable Officer role, the importance of the Place-bsaed partnerships.

Nevertheless, as the template of one CCG per Integrated Care System is proposed in the NHS England Long Term Plan, it is probably that some incentives will be applied to bring all three proposals to agreement, however ill-suited.

Readers may wish to spot the deliberate mistake in the following quote from the job specification for the single Accountable Officer: "1.6 Politically, the local authority landscape is complex. BOB CCGs work with three County Councils (Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and West Berkshire), eight District Councils (West Oxfordshire, Cherwell, Vale of White Horse, South Oxfordshire, South Bucks, Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern and Wycombe), two Borough Councils (Reading and Wokingham) and one City Council (Oxford). The Chief Executive will be required to work collaboratively and effectively with all fourteen local authority partners". Hopefully this does not indicate the level of local awareness that will be applied to our health services in future.

Engagement Response Report (PDF)855.76 KB
Table of Mitigating Actions (PDF)120.12 KB
Review of the Engagment Activities (PDF)126.93 KB
Draft Job Description for the Single Accountable Officer (PDF)499.1 KB