On 31 March the Department of Health published its Assignment for Transition guidance to clarify the process for aligning PCT staff to support emerging GP commissioning consortia and commissioning functions during the transition period.
Key points to note include that:
- Emerging consortia should determine their needs as part of transition discussions with their PCT(s)
- The approach to assignment for transition should be informed by information on the destination of each commissioning function - and the recently published document outlining the functions of GP commissioning consortia should be used as a guide to inform the process
- The guidance confirms that a selection process will be appropriate where more employees are carrying out functions than are required to carry out transitional functions
- Where PCT employees work across different functions assignment for transition should take account of where the majority of their duties are performed
- It will not be possible to transfer employees from PCTs to consortia until consortia formally take on their statutory functions (and PCTs cease to provide those functions) - the guidance describes the position as fluid until the new commissioning system is formally established
- Assignment of PCT employees to support emerging consortia will not in any case guarantee those individuals employment once the statutory consortia are established
- All parties are to take account of the need to minimise costs and avoid unnecessary redundancies
The guidance recommends that a locally agreed phased approach is used. The first phase is to complete initial assignment by 30 June 2011. The second phase is to assign further employees ahead of the consortium establishment process. The final phase notes that before GP commissioning consortia take on their statutory functions PCTs and consortia will be in a position to prepare for any TUPE transfers.