Examination of Witnesses

Part of Health and Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 9th September 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Ed Hammond:

That is a challenge, because it brings into focus the role that different accountability partners play in the system. We have already heard a little about the CQC and the work it does in assessing and monitoring clinical outcomes. Of course, within ICBs and ICPs there will come to be—one would hope—robust and effective performance management arrangements. Certainly, looking at the Secretary of State’s expectations around the exercise of new powers, one would expect that, for the Secretary of State to understand where he chooses to intervene and direct services, that would be on the basis of evidence that would need to be collected in a consistent and systematic way across England, but also within individual ICBs. Presumably, we can expect some kind of performance framework to be established nationally to provide evidence to support the Secretary of State in the exercise of their powers.

Then at local level, you have, as I mentioned before, local Healthwatch and local health scrutiny communities. Now, local scrutiny committees obviously cannot bring the clinical expertise to bear on issues of concern; the CQC naturally leads on many of those issues. I think what those local partners in local Healthwatch and scrutiny committees can do is understand where there are gaps in the system; where there are concerns about aspects of performance that others have perhaps not picked up on; where there are concerns emerging from conversations within local communities that councillors are hearing about day to day, because they have direct contact with local people; and those concerns that might not otherwise find their way on to a performance scorecard, but might relate to things that are not being monitored, measured or managed particularly well. That local connection is a vital part of what makes health scrutiny work.