Jeff Farrar has today (Friday, 15 October) been announced as Chair-designate of the Healthier Together Partnership, the Integrated Care System (ICS) for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG).

The appointment follows a nationally run competitive process to secure Chairs for Integrated Care Systems across England, ahead of the bodies becoming statutory from April 2022. All appointments have been recommended by NHS England and Improvement, and approved by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Jeff has been interim Chair of the Partnership – formed of local organisations, including NHS hospital Trusts, community services, the three local authorities and BNSSG Healthwatch – since April 2021. Prior to this Jeff held the role of Chair for the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW). His career in the public sector includes 35 years with the police service, where he reached the rank of Chief Constable with Gwent Police.

Speaking about his appointment, Jeff said:

‘It’s a real privilege to take up this role.

The response to the pandemic and the strength of the local vaccination roll-out show what can be achieved when we work with our communities as equal partners. In continuing to develop these approaches, we have a great opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

We have big ambitions as Healthier Together – to improve people’s health and happiness, provide services that fit in with people’s lives and tackle the inequalities some groups face. Fortunately, we have real strengths to build on – including the deepening partnership between our organisations, a vibrant voluntary and community sector and our incredible health and care workforce.

I’m looking forward to getting started in the new role and working with my colleagues across the health and care system to put people at the heart of all we do.’

Julia Ross and Robert Woolley, Co-Executive Leads for Healthier Together, said:

‘We are delighted to be benefitting from Jeff’s significant experience into the future. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and a deep commitment to involving citizens in our work.

Jeff’s ability to bring people together, hear different perspectives and lead compassionately has already been a real asset to us as interim Chair, and we look forward to working with him as the ICS progresses to its next exciting phase.’

A Health and Care Bill that will put Integrated Care Systems on a statutory footing (to be comprised of an Integrated Care Board and a wider Integrated Care Partnership) is currently progressing through Parliament. The changes are set to commence from April 2022, and are designed to accelerate the progress made in recent years to better integrate health and care services around people’s needs.

Integrated Care Boards and Integrated Care Partnerships

The Health and Care Bill 2021, which contains a series of measures to formally establish Integrated Care Systems (ICS), is currently at Committee Stage receiving a detailed examination following its second reading.

Assuming the Bill passes, in April 2022, every part of England will be covered by an Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Integrated Care Partnership (ICP). This builds on the existing non-statutory ICSs across England, which for the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester area is currently covered by the Healthier Together partnership. The ICB and ICP will replace the current Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

A key element of preparing for legislation to take effect is confirming who would take up senior roles within each ICB, starting with the ICB Chair Designate.

The ICB will take on the NHS commissioning functions of CCGs as well as some of NHS England’s commissioning functions. It will also be accountable for NHS spend and performance within the system. Each area will also have an Integrated Care Partnership or ICP, a joint committee which brings together the ICB and their partner local authorities, and other locally determined representatives (for example from health, social care, public health; and potentially others, such as social care or housing providers). The ICP will develop a strategy to address the health, social care and public health needs of their system, and being a forum to support partnership working.

The ICB and local authorities will have to have regard to ICP strategies when making decisions. Read more about the legislation here.