CCGs and the Road to Merger

Since the NHS Act 2006 was amended to allow CCGs to form joint committees, many CCGs have been exercising their commissioning functions jointly with others. As result of the NHS Long Term Plan most of the 191 CCGs have applied, or are in the process of applying, for constitutional change, merger or dissolution in order to meet the proposed evolution of the NHS commissioning system and introduction of Integrated Care Systems. 

With many CCGs now set to formally merge in 2020, what are the workforce implications?

Joint Working

Joint committees are a statutory mechanism which give CCGs an additional option for undertaking collective strategic decision making. However, individual CCGs remain accountable for meeting their statutory duties, for example in relation to financial resources and public engagement, and employment law. Many CCGs now have shared Accountable Officers and in some cases shared Governing Bodies and delegated committees with most now looking to have a structure in place which aligns to the proposed structure in the merged organisation in order to make the transfer as seamless as possible.

Pre-Merger Reorganisation

As joint working between the CCGs is established, each CCG is likely to undergo a reorganisation of its roles and function and with this comes the possibility of redundancies.

CCGs should:

  1. Put in place a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) ensuring a clear framework of accountability and governance regarding the handover and transition process, as well as accountabilities
  2. Consider who will be the employer in the interim structure (will there be a single host organisation, how will staff employed by one CCG be able to work on behalf of other CCGs—consider the use of secondments, joint contracts of employment) 
  3. Consider existing contractual arrangement with Governing Body members and clinical leads to determine if they should be treated as employees for the purposes of any reorganisation
  4. Ensuring that statutory requirements (e.g. the need for each CCG to employ its CFO) are complied with i.e. issuing a joint contract of employment for posts appointed to across the CCGs prior to the merger 
  5. Consider potential redundancies arising out of the re-organisations and how these can be limited
  6. Comply with collective consultation obligations where it is proposed to dismiss 20 or more employees in a period of 90 days
  7. Comply with individual consultation requirements as set out in local policies

Staff Transfers

Any merger will be accompanied by a statutory transfer order, which will include a schedule of the employees and assets of the existing CCGs, which will transfer to the newly created joint CCG. Whilst not strictly a business transfer covered by TUPE, CCGs should follow the Cabinet Office Statement of Practice on Staff Transfers in the Public Sector (COSOP). Pre-transfer CCGs should follow TUPE-like due diligence and information and consultation processes. Post-transfer, CCGs may also need to consider the economic, technical or organisational reason for any additional changes to the workforce.

How Capsticks can help

Capsticks has extensive experience on working with commissioners to implement joint working models and advising NHS organisations on reorganisations and mergers. We have a suite of precedent documents (MOUs, join contracts, due diligence questionnaires). Capsticks understands the complex statutory instruments which underpin CCG formation and governance.

Capsticks can provide training to your managers and HR leads to support them through the road to merger. For more information about how we can help, please contact Sian Bond, Raj Basi or Peter Edwards.