The Department of Health has issued a final version of its guidance: Developing clinical commissioning groups towards authorisation. The updated version contains much of the same information as the previous draft but it is worth highlighting some points of immediate relevance.
The guidance confirms the three stages of the authorisation process as being initial development the application and finally the authorisation process. The guidance also confirms that these are steps towards continual improvement with an annual assessment to take place after authorisation.
At present the focus is of course on the initial development stage. This includes the risk assessment which is to be completed by each aspiring CCG by December 2011 if possible. This will assess four areas:
- Sign-up from member practices;
- Appropriate geographical coverage;
- Justification of patient benefits if that area is to cross local authority boundaries; and
- The impact of the proposed configuration of the CCG on its organisational viability (including the degree of sharing of roles and functions or use of commissioning support it will need to consider).
Other developmental actions listed for October 2011 onwards are:
- Building track record (including increased delegation and leading 2012/13 planning);
- Build partnerships engagement and collaborative arrangements;
- Design proposed organisational form decision-making and governance.
Aspiring CCGs should work with their SHA cluster to take forward the risk assessment process at this time. They should also be focusing on building up their commissioning involvement and looking at the detail of their governance structures and operational proposals.