Better Care Fund
The £3.8 billion Better Care Fund (BCF) was announced by the Government in the June 2013 Spending Round, to support transformation and integration of health and social care services to ensure local people receive better care. The BCF is a pooled budget that shifts resources into social care and community services for the benefit of the NHS and local government.
Following agreement by Ministers in June 2014, £1 billion of the NHS additional contribution to the BCF will now either be commissioned by the NHS on out of hospital services or be linked to a corresponding reduction in total emergency admissions. Protection of social care remains a top priority, and the revised plans must reflect this clear policy intention.
The Better Care Support Team has published a revised quarterly reporting template (Excel) and guidance (Word). This has been streamlined and minimises the reporting burden on local authorities and clinical commissioning groups by using existing data collections where possible. Local areas should use it to report Better Care Fund performance for the period 1 January 2015 to 31 March 2015, and replaces previous versions. If you have any queries regarding the template or guidance, contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
A series of 'how to' guides are being produced to help areas with the implementation of their BCF plans. These documents are working drafts based on the best evidence available. If you have any feedback, please email ENGLAND.email@example.com
- How to lead and manage Better Care implementation (PDF, 32 pages, 1,751KB)
- How to bring budgets together and use them to develop coordinated care provision (PDF, 30 pages,1,234KB)
- How to work together across health, care and beyond (PDF, 33 pages, 1,305KB)
- How to understand and measure impact (PDF, 43 pages, 1,894KB)
Operationalisation of the BCF guidance
Find out more about the Guidance for the Operationalisation of the BCF in 2015-16 on the Better Care Fund page of the NHS England website.
All Better Care Fund Plans have now been approved, with three areas receiving ongoing support. Further information about ongoing work can be found below.
These slides summarise the process, outcome and next steps for the BCF.
In order to support implementation locally, the BCF Task Force have commissioned ongoing support, available to all areas, through to April 2015.
Further guidance will be issued shortly regarding ongoing monitoring of activity through 2015
BCF plan guidance and templates: issued 25 July 2014
Revised guidance and templates were issues in July. A letter from the BCF Task Force programme director, Andrew Ridley, explaining the process and copies of the submission templates can be accessed here:
- Letter from Andrew Ridley, BCF Programme Director (PDF, 96KB)
- Narrative template (part 1) (Word, 81KB)
- Funding and metrics template (part 2) (Excel, 923KB)
- Planning guidance (updated) (PDF, 161KB)
- Technical guidance (updated) (PDF, 541KB)
- Supplementary guidance on the expectation of a 3.5% reduction in emergency admissions (20 August 2014) (PDF, 96KB)
- Trends in non-elective admissions for every area (Excel, 849KB). The data in this spreadsheet are based on current trends and data submitted by CCGs through UNIFY (20 August 2014)
The task force has also issued the methodology that will be used to assess local plans:
Better Care Fund resubmission process
Both parts of the plans are to be submitted by 12pm on 19 September 2014. Please send as attachments to: firstname.lastname@example.org as well as to:
- the relevant NHS England Area Team
- the relevant local government representative.
If there are any queries about the resubmission process, please contact email@example.com.
BCF fast-track areas
Five fast-track areas submitted their BCF plans on 29 August and are going through the assurance process. As part of this work, some case studies were developed to share with the wider system to help disseminate the learning.
Regional and national support
You can access archived webinars on financial analysis, risk stratification and information governance, guidance and planning webinars for Health and Wellbeing Boards, the legislative framework for Section 75 agreements, including advice on risk sharing arrangements, and more at BCF webinars.
Contact details for NHS regional and local area teams, and LG regional leads
To access targeted and bespoke support, contact your relevant NHS regional team, cc'ing in your Local Area Team and local government regional lead. The email addresses you need can be found in this document.
Making it Better
The BCF Task Force has developed a robust programme of support, including a slide pack, titled 'Making it Better a guide to resources for improving Better Care Fund plans'. This provides more details on what support will be available and how to go about accessing it. It also brings together a selection of resources that you can access immediately that will help you in developing a robust plan and roadmap for delivering integrated care. The slide pack is updated every week as and when new resources are developed.
How to guide: the BCF technical toolkit
The task force has also developed a ‘How to' guide. The guide comprises four documents which provide advice and tips for completing the technical sections of the template. These have been developed rapidly, and in direct response to requests it has received from areas in recent weeks. It is not formal guidance and will not guarantee plans are assured, but is intended to offer practical support that can be used to develop BCF plans and wider integrated care programmes. It should be read together with the assurance process methodology referred to above.
The toolkit covers four areas:
- population segmentation, risk stratification and information governance
- evidence-based planning
- outcomes and impact measurement
- financial analysis.
The BCF technical toolkit is available on the NHS England site.
Example charts to support BCF planning
In the course of reviewing plans with HWBB we received a number of questions about how to apply suggestions from the "how to guide" in the plan submissions. To support this, we have developed a set of example charts for people to use to clearly present key aspects of their plan.
These charts may be helpful for people to either incorporate in their plans or use to support development of those plans with partners. are making these charts available to HWBB to make use of if they wish.
Please note this is not new guidance and this is not a change to the template. We do, however, hope these charts may e helpful in the development and drafting of submissions.
BCF and the Care Act
A short summary of the Care Act and its relationship with the Better Care Fund for those who are unfamiliar with it.
About the BCF
The August 2013 Spending Review established the £3.8 billion BCF "to deliver better outcomes and greater efficiencies through more integrated services for older and disabled people."
The development and implementation of this policy has been articulated through the following communications:
- 11 July 2014: letter from Jon Rouse (Director-General, Department of Health) and Helen Edwards (Director-General, Department of Communities and Local Government) (PDF, 350KB)
- 11 July 2014: letter from Andrew Ridley on the new BCF joint programme team (PDF, 350KB)
- 20 December 2013: Ministerial letter from Brandon Lewis MP and Norman Lamb MP to councils
- 17 October 2013: letter and draft guidance from Carolyn Downs (LGA Chief Executive) and Bill McCarthy (National Director: Policy, NHS England) (PDF, 9 pages, 360KB)
- 10 October 2013: 'Planning for a sustainable NHS', letter from Sir David Nicholson (Chief Executive, NHS England) (PDF, 4 pages, 96KB)
- 8 August 2013: Statement on health and social care integration transformation fund, from Carolyn Downs (Chief Executive, LGA) and Sir David Nicholson (Chief Executive, NHS England) (PDF, 5 pages, 207KB)
If you have any questions please contact: Tom.Shakespeare@local.gov.uk
1 July 2015
In this section
Better Care Exchange
The Better Care Support Team has launched the Better Care Exchange. Developed using the feedback of a wide tester group, it brings together all key documents related to integrated care and provides a platform for collaboration and shared learning. We would encourage you to register and get involved with others across the country to highlight best practices, share your successes and support one another's progress.