To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that sustainability and transformation partnerships are held accountable for the successful delivery of approved capital developments given those partnerships are not legal entities.
Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) are not statutory organisations, but a new way for the National Health Service and local government to work together. Each partnership is convened by a senior leader who has agreed to chair and lead the meetings on behalf of their peers. Each footprint has agreed to its own governance and representation, and all bodies represented on the partnership have agreed to abide by its decision making process.
As STPs are not legal entities the actual delivery of schemes, such as holding contracts with builders, will be undertaken by individual organisations within these STPs acting on behalf of their local area. These organisations will be responsible for delivering the schemes, in line with their existing statutory, responsibilities as is the case of all NHS spending.
The ability of these partnerships to act collectively as health and care systems in the interests of patients and residents – rather than solely pursing institutional interests – is critically dependent on the strength of the relationships they are able to build.
Last year the Department, NHS Improvement and NHS England organised a bidding process to enable these local partnerships to access the first waves of capital funding. Each bid required sign off from a senior representative of both the bidding organisation and the STP of which that organisation is a part. The NHS joint planning guidance, published January 2018 makes clear that access to additional STP capital will only be considered once partners within a given STP footprint have agreed to a single estates and capital plan, in addition to other criteria.