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Health & Wellbeing Boards

Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBBs) were created by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. They are statutory boards and have a duty to oversee the development of joint health and wellbeing strategies for their areas; joint strategic needs assessments; promoting integration of health and social care; and promoting improvements that reduce health inequalities.

HWBBs have statutory membership from both health and local government but often involve wider partners (such as the Police, voluntary and community sector etc). Crucially, they provide a public forum where there can be an element of local democratic oversight and leadership. Some HWBBs (including the one in Essex) allow public questions.

According to NHSE guidance (2017), integrated care systems are “systems in which NHS organisations (both commissioners and providers), often in partnership with local authorities, choose to take on clear collective responsibility for resources and population health. They provide joined up, better coordinated care. In return they get far more control and freedom over the total operations of the health system in their area.

While health and wellbeing boards are place-based and must incorporate both local government and the NHS. It is clear, however, from the above that there are common areas of interest and overlap.

The future relationship between the ICS and HWBBs will be based around their respective accountability vs responsibility for population health and wellbeing in Suffolk and North East Essex. As such HWBBs are accountable for population health and wellbeing; the ICS is responsible for population health and wellbeing. The ICS will be one of the mechanisms through which the vision and ambitions of HWBBs are achieved.

What this will mean is that HWBBs will set the vision and high level outcomes/priorities for their areas. HWBBs are responsible for conducting Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) for their areas and for setting the high level priorities and outcomes in the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWBs) – these will provide the vision and priority outcomes for their residents, including around reducing inequalities. This will set out the ‘WHY’.

The JSNA and JHWBS will need to be informed by insights from the ICS and the local alliances to ensure the development of the vision and strategy is a two-way process. There will also be a need for co-operation and alignment between the Suffolk and Essex HWBBs.

Photograph of Councillor John Spence from Essex County Council

Cllr John Spence
Chairman, Essex Health and Wellbeing Board

Picture of Craig Rivett

Cllr, Craig Rivett
Chairperson, Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board

Last Updated on 21 February 2024

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