The Hewitt Review on the Integrated Care Systems (ICS)

The Hewitt Review on Integrated Care Systems is due to be published on the 15th of March 2023.  Whilst it is a far-reaching review on six aspects of an Integrated Care System, the most important piece for Voluntary Sector Organisations is that which relates to how the sector will be represented moving forward and how it can best be integrated. In a recent webinar on the subject, Doctor Kathy McLean commented that when you have seen one ICS you have seen one ICS, which demonstrates the depth, breadth, and unique challenges for each ICS, in a time of constrained funding. Some of the threads of the webinar focussed on:

The ICS is not used to working with the VCSE, often does not understand it and does not know how to extract the best from it.

In a world of constantly constrained timelines, engagement is often rushed and not able to extract the best from its potential. The Integrated Care Strategy was cited as a prime example.

Cultural changes within a new world are hard to embrace and develop.

The NHS and Local Authorities need to think differently about the funder – funded relationship.

The VCSE has much to bring, but due to funding certain organisations are simply unable to participate. There are huge reductions in VCSE funding in certain ICS areas.

Communication about the system and its outcomes are often disjointed and disparate.

Local Accountability is an aspiration but what communities want is change. There was a feeling that some systems are unclear about how and what to work on with communities moving forward.

There is often a disconnect between the system thinkers who wish to see change and those below who may be struggling to understand the change or how to administer it. There was a real concern that this would undermine transformation through all its moving parts.

Having said that, the webinar focussed on some fantastic work taking place across various Integrated Care Systems, with the VCSE being represented at Integrated Care Boards and Integrated Care Partnerships across the UK, and within Place Based Transformation through Local Area Partnerships. It was noted that the VCSE needs to be further embedded into Statute to ensure that it is consistently represented – and VIN would certainly support that move.