This report, published by The King’s Fund, examines how health and wellbeing boards have used their shadow year, what they have achieved, and whether they are providing effective leadership across local systems of care.
- Local authorities have shown strong leadership in establishing the boards. Most are being chaired by a senior elected member, with an emerging pattern of vice-chairs coming from CCGs. Nearly all boards have produced joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs) and joint health and wellbeing strategies (JHWSs).
- The financial climate plus confusion about the roles of new organisations are the biggest impediments to progress.
- Public health and health inequalities are the highest priorities in the JHWSs of most boards, but they have not yet begun to grapple with the immediate and urgent strategic challenges facing local health and care systems.
- Most boards want to play a bigger role in commissioning services, and the requirement for them to sign off local plans for the integration fund will be an important test of their readiness for this.
- There are opportunities for boards to evolve into joint commissioning bodies without further reorganisation. Their powers and duties should be sharpened so that there is clearer understanding of their purpose.