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Manchester Town Hall

Devo Manc: The catalyst for a new type of local government?

The public sector needs to respond and adapt to meet increasing and unprecedented fiscal challenges. This means a radical reinvention of our public services has never been more possible or more necessary.

In April 2016 councils across Greater Manchester will gain control of their £6bn NHS and social care budget. This newest step in devolution of powers to local authorities, or Devo Manc, as it’s been dubbed, is a trend that looks to be on the rise.

These changes should lead to greater synergy between health and social care systems. We’re particularly interested in how these new arrangements could help relieve ‘bed blocking’, by improving hospital discharge and social care placement processes.

We hope this revolutionary change in NHS funding will open up new channels for innovation and improve services delivered by both the NHS and social care providers.

We recently attended the annual Information Commissioner’s Conference and were encouraged to hear the Commissioner, Christopher Graham, say he doesn’t want the Data Protection Act (DPA) used as a barrier to integration. We know there are risks associated with using data in more open and integrated ways but these risks can be mitigated. Information governance should be considered at the start of each project and backed up with a comprehensive communication plan to ensure all DPA requirements are met through the life of every project.

There are always concerns about increased political influence when the financial control of an organisation such as the NHS comes under a closer government jurisdiction. However we are confident that in the digital age where transparency is becoming a philosophy not an obligation, the health and wellbeing of all patients will always be the focal point of thought when determining budget spending.