Section 12 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 places a legal duty on the Secretary of State to make arrangements to provide independent advocacy services to assist individuals making complaints against the National Health Service. We intend to commence this section on
Our intention is to deliver arrangements for a national independent complaints advocacy service (ICAS). These intentions were set out in Written Answers given to the honourable Member for Eltham on
Delivering ICAS through these contracts will allow primary care trust patients' forums, who will in due course have delegated power to commission or provide ICAS under the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002, time to establish their networks and capacity.
Learning from the experience of community health councils and ICAS pilot projects, this will be a completely new service that will provide consistent support to patients with complaints about the NHS across England. ICAS will be provided to standards piloted across the country. The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH) will, as indicated in its functions in the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002, monitor ICAS services against the standards.
We have worked with the CPPIH to set in place arrangements for it to act as the department's agent to manage these interim contracts on our behalf. We intend shortly to lay amendments to the CPPIH regulations to reflect this additional function.
The new ICAS providers will begin recruiting staff and preparing publicity for patients and others during July and August for the commencement of the service on