The NHS Operating Framework for 2012/13

The Operating Framework for 2012/13 was published by the Department of Health yesterday and contains further details of planned progress for the NHS reforms over the final transitional year (subject of course to passage of the Bill). It contains useful information for aspiring CCGs as they move towards authorisation and establishment.

In relation to CCGs there are a number of developments and the need to build capacity of emerging CCGs features within one of the four key themes of the document.

The Operating Framework clarifies that CCG boundaries should as far as possible be coterminous with a single local Health and Wellbeing Board. This presumably means that any deviation from this rule will have to be justified.

The other main news is confirmation that the annual running cost allowance for CCGs from 2013/14 onwards is expected to be £25 per head of population. This is at the bottom end of DH's previous estimate that it may be £25 to £35 per head. The ?25 per head rate is stated to be before any entitlement to a quality premium so there is scope for CCGs to receive more money if they perform well. The idea of the quality premium is that it would be given to the CCG which in turn would choose how to allocate the quality premium to its member practices. Further detail is awaited on this proposal.

Other detail relevant to CCGs includes that:

  • Aspiring CCGs will be expected to work closely with PCTs in 2012/13 to ensure there is no PCT deficit at the end of the year
  • Local clinician involvement in the contracting round for 2012/13 is stated to be essential to assist with the smooth transition of contracts to CCGs.
  • PCT clusters must ensure that their aspiring CCGs actively support the cluster?s plan for 2012/13 and beyond to ensure a strong base for use by CCGs in their own planning from 2013/14.
  • Further details about working towards authorisation are provided including a requirement that any configuration issues which come to light in the risk assessment process (see blog post 07/10/11) are resolved by 31 March 2012. The Framework states that if they cannot be resolved in that timescale discussions about alternative configuration should take place.

The Operating Framework also sets out details of how PCT clusters must support aspiring CCGs. This includes supporting them through the authorisation process supporting the development of commissioning support which will be responsive to CCG needs and demonstrating that they are allocating non-pay costs and staff to support emerging CCGs in line with the level of budgets for which those emerging CCGs have delegated responsibility. 


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