Latest Public Sector News

26.08.14

Council chiefs welcome new commissioning responsibilities for young children

Plans for local authorities to take over the responsibility of commissioning public health services for children aged 0-5 have been welcomed by council chiefs.

The government has said that, from 15 October 2015, it will be ‘mandating to local authorities’ five universal elements of the Healthy Child Programme for 18 months.

These elements will include antenatal health promotion reviews; the new baby review, which is the first check after the birth; six to eight week assessments; one year assessments; and two to two-and-a-half year reviews.

According to the Department of Health, the transfer of commissioning public health services for children aged 0-5 to councils from the NHS will join-up commissioning work already done by local authorities for children and young people aged 5-19, (and up to age 25 for young people  with Special Educational Needs and Disability [SEND]). It is expected that this will enable joined up commissioning from 0 to 19 years old, improving continuity for children and their families.

A joint statement from the Local Government Association and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives stated that the announcement is recognition of the hard work that councils do with families in their communities.

“It is vital that mums and dads get the best support possible from the earliest stage in their child's development and local authorities are well placed to provide services around the needs of their communities,” the organisations added. “But there remains a great deal of work to be done at a local and national level to ensure that in every area there is sufficient funding to deliver these new responsibilities.”

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