Headlines: October 14th, 2013

Most of the £6.9 million reward for radically overhauling public services has gone to councils, police and fire authorities for developing joint ventures. The key areas for joining up are health and social care and blue light integration of emergency services.

The Better Together initiative which involves Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and Borough of Poole will receive £750,000 to transform the way health and social care services are delivered over the coming year. The councils work in partnership with the new NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and four Foundation Trusts.

Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole already spend over £1 billion for health and social care each year, and growing demands on services due to an increasing number of older people makes this a priority area for reform. By working together and joining up services, partners are confident they can get the best value from the services as well as make improvements.

Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader at Dorset County Council, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as one of the leading places in a scheme to transform health and social care and the Government funding will go a long way to help us achieve our vision of joining up services.”

Dr Forbes Watson, chairman of NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We currently work closely with our local partners to deliver services that meet the needs of the local population and we welcome any initiative that strengthens this approach.
“The introduction of Better Together means we can all with confidence, continue to deliver high quality equitable services for those who need it.”

A number of awards have also been made for so called ‘blue light’ integration where police and fire services combine back office functions such as HR. In some cases there is a shared accommodation approach.

It is understood that discussion are taking place on the possibility of extending the remit of police and crime commissioner to include fire services. This would then facilitate greater blue light integration.