What can WE do to save our NHS?

“Greetings, KONP supporters in the South West!
Important information from Keep Our NHS Public on…

Integrated Care Providers

The Government likes to bury its plans to defund, break-up and privatise the NHS in jargon. KONP are producing a series of videos to help you understand what’s going on…

NHS England is consulting on the contract for a new model of health and social care provision that threatens the break-up of the NHS into units run by less accountable ‘Integrated Care Providers’ – or ‘ICPs’. Each of these ‘business units’ would control spend and rationing of healthcare for populations of up to 500,000. These huge contracts will be eminently open to the private sector to compete for.

The ICPs will deliver the dangerous new restructuring plans of government which could see fragments of the NHS managed by non-NHS, non-statutory and therefore less accountable bodies. They are the embodiment of government plans to disperse the NHS and its staff, drive down public funding, promote private contracts and put cost limits and profit before patient safety.

Integrated Care Provider contracts:

Dis-integrate the NHS;
Give control to non-NHS bodies potentially beyond scrutiny;
Threaten public accountability;
Hand over control to these non-NHS bodies for 10-15 years;
Manage multi-billion-pound contracts for blocks of 500,000 population;
Open the door to private companies winning these contracts.

Please watch the video above and share on social media to help spread the word about the Government’s deliberate and insidious privatisation plans.

You can also visit our website:

https://keepournhspublic.com/privatisation/icps-what-are-they/

and our Facebook Page:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=167804364127012&id=172710059485626&refsrc=https%3A%2F%2Fm.facebook.com%2Fkeepournhspublic%2Fvideos%2F167804364127012%2F&_rdr

for more information, videos and links.

For a written explanation of ICPs and what the represent for the NHS please read and share this briefing (broken link) by HCT co-chair and KONP campaigner Louise Irvine.

How can you help?
1. Along with our friends at We Own It

https://weownit.org.uk

and Health Campaigns Together

https://www.healthcampaignstogether.com

we have created a petition

https://weownit.org.uk/ICP-petition-NHS

calling on the Government to;
a) Abandon the Integrated Care Provider contract model:
b) Guarantee that any Integrated Care Provider organisations will be statutory organisations i.e. NHS bodies, not private providers.
c) Focus health improvement efforts on pressing the government for:

o Sufficient funding and staffing for health and social care.
o Social care to be brought into public provision, free at point of use
o Legislation to end the failed NHS contracting system and to renationalise the NHS: the only sound basis for service integration.

SIGN THE PETITION

https://weownit.org.uk/ICP-petition-NHS

2. NHS England have launched a 12 week consultation on contracting arrangements for Integrated Care Providers. You can read the full consultation document here

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/053f4c95aa70981fdfccd7707/files/dc9643c1-bf3d-4f70-a09f-d571d49b02cd/integrated_care_providers_consultation_document.pdf

Please let them know what you think by submitting a response before the consultation closes on the 26 October. You can do this online. HCT have created a document of a sample response

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/053f4c95aa70981fdfccd7707/files/17b0a7d5-446a-4fcb-b46e-66a3fffc43ed/suggested.pdf

in case you wish to take some guidance from KONP and HCTs position.
You can also see a comprehensive written response:

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/053f4c95aa70981fdfccd7707/files/f6a7aae4-ac4d-4a5e-bf3e-862571fe3405/Consultation_response_PeterRoderick_FINAL_01Oct18_1_.pdf

to the proposed changes from the JR4NHS team who, along with the late Stephen Hawking, took Jeremy Hunt and ACOs to Judicial Review this year.

3. Share the KONP video, HCT and KONP briefing and the JR4NHS response to the NHSE consulation around your networks and on social media.

“Government faces court action over ‘illegal’ planning policy”

“The government is facing a legal challenge over its new planning policy, which campaigners say was illegally adopted because the government failed to assess its environmental impact.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework, published in July, informs local policies across England, from planning permission to town and country planning and land use. It has significant weight in development decisions, from the amount and location of built development to the way environmental impacts are assessed, and also deals with policies concerning air pollution, energy generation, water management and biodiversity.

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is required by EU law for public plans relating to land use and planning, among other things. It is required wherever policies are likely to have a significant impact on the environment. Friends of the Earth wants to force the government to undertake an SEA, consult the public and modify the framework based on those findings.

The NGO has filed a claim at the high court, saying the NPPF makes it “virtually impossible” for councils to refuse local fracking schemes, fails to rule out future coal developments, and introduces harsh new rules for wind energy schemes. It argues it is impossible to gauge the environmental impact of such policies without a strategic assessment. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/04/government-faces-court-action-over-illegal-planning-policy

“Citizens’ Juries could become the core of a revived local democracy”

Owl says: a bit too radical for EDDC which is predicated on NOT listening to its citizens! It surely would have to be forced on the district with its current majority party!

“The Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport has also now decided to pilot participatory democratic approaches in local authorities around England. Scotland and Wales are having their own discussions.

As with many innovations, the devil will be in the detail.

They will need to be representative of the area they are discussing. If half the residents are over 50, half the jury members should be too. They mustn’t be self-selecting: they can’t be yet another platform for the already engaged.

Both the Democracy Matters assembly on city regions and the Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit paid participants a token amount to reach ordinary citizens who wouldn’t normally volunteer.

In order for them to be Citizens’ Juries in more than just name, they need to have three equally important phases.

The first phase is learning about the options and how the process will work. Participants are guided through the current state of affairs and presented with the options for change.

Traditionally this has meant impartial experts preparing papers and delivering short lectures, which Ed Hammond correctly points out can get quite expensive. To combat this, we ran an experimental deliberative programme in the run-up to the EU referendum with recorded videos from academics from the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe project.

Following their briefing, participants then hear from campaigners, presenting their case for why the assembly should side with them. Members can question them armed with the knowledge they gained in the previous phase, and – if the assemblies I’ve attended are any measure – will rigorously scrutinise them.

The last phase is the deliberation itself. Breaking up into small groups and facilitated to ensure no one person dominates, they discuss amongst themselves everything they’ve heard, feeding back into the full assembly and eventually voting.

Citizens’ Juries are nothing like the fractious social media debate that tends to pass for political discussion today. All sides have a common pool of knowledge to draw from, and by discussing issues face-to-face, are far more likely to compromise.

They are also, in many ways, at the opposite end from the local councils they will be advising. Due to the voting system, local government in England is not representative of local political opinions, let alone local demographics.

It would be a shame if Citizens’ Juries became just another institution bolted on to deal with the unrepresentative nature of our local electoral system, rather than deal with the problem at the source. …”

https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/citizens-juries-could-become-the-core-of-a-revived-local-democracy/

“Councils in crisis – consult more, not less”

“Lessons from the Northants County Libraries judicial review.

Rumour has it that there are several councils in danger of following Northamptonshire towards a similar financial plight. If so, they need to pay attention for the High Court has ruled against Northants’ decision to make cuts in its Libraries provision. A cash crisis evidently does not excuse councils of their duties under the Law of Consultation.

What happened here is that the County Council prepared options for rationalising its Libraries at the end of 2017. Its consultation was, according to the Court, perfectly acceptable, as was a decision taken by the Cabinet to support a ‘least worst’ option subject to further studies. What went wrong is that a few days afterwards there came a S. 114(3) notice under the Local Government and Finance Act 1988. It meant that the full Council meeting a week later reversed the decision and adopted a different option that might save more money.

Unfortunately, at that point the Council had no clear view of the true implications of the switch to the second option. Neither had it been able to consider the outcome of the further work that the Cabinet had identified as being necessary when it took its first decision. Part of this was because some of the Libraries were co-located with grant-aided children’s centres and closures involved potential grant claw back. Subsequently promising to hold a further consultation on those children’s centres did not correct the mistake of having been unaware of the impacts when the decision to close was actually taken.

A similar conclusion arises in respect of the challenge claimants issued in respect of Section 7 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. This prescribes the statutory requirements for the service, and councils everywhere should heed the words of Mrs Justice Yip, as follows: –

“The result was that the executive decision to close libraries appears to have been taken without balancing the statutory duty against the financial pressures. The Cabinet cannot be criticised for being motivated by financial concerns. However, finances could not be the sole consideration. The Cabinet still had to be satisfied that they were complying with their legal duties. On the evidence before me, I am not satisfied that they appreciated what they had to decide.” (at Paragraph 88)

Irrespective of the legal niceties, the practical issues raised by this are serious:

Under what circumstances can public bodies amend their decisions following a consultation and what are the processes they should follow when they do so?
If you agree that further study is required following consideration of consultation responses, are there consequences were you not to be able to undertake those studies?

During the consideration period, what steps need to be taken to demonstrate that, in addition to taking account of consultee responses, there is also a proper assessment of statutory requirements?

This is the second important case affecting local government budget consultations within days. The other is the judgment on 3rd August in the in the Bristol City Council case where the Special Educational Needs (SEN) budget reductions were ruled unlawful.

Is it maybe time for Councils everywhere to re-think their Budget consultation practices and ensure they will not fall into some of the traps which ensnared Northamptonshire and Bristol. The upshot will almost certainly be that Councils facing financial turbulence may have to consult more – not less.”

https://www.consultationinstitute.org/councils-in-crisis-consult-more-not-less/

The bigger the decision, the less we are consulted

Guardian letter:

“George Monbiot’s article about the proposed Oxford-Cambridge expressway exposes how grand schemes are conceived and presented for “consultation” when only the trivial issues remain (These projects shape our lives. But we have no say in them, Journal, 22 August).

My work takes me to parts of the world often criticised for being undemocratic, where plans worked out behind closed doors and backed by powerful interest groups are indeed presented for “consultation”. This fait accompli approach fails to give people a real say, however, and gives a veneer of democratic accountability to projects with negative social and environmental impacts. Western governments express concern over how local rights are ignored in such places, but this is also happening here.

To expressways and HS2s, add hundreds of smaller decisions imposed on people against their wishes. In my town, in spite of 100% local opposition, a successful secondary school was closed, with serious consequences for local demographics and economic life. Local voices in the UK are powerless against a system that is essentially authoritarian, blind to community issues and needs, and light years away from asking if the relentless pursuit of growth really is the solution to all our problems. As in many countries where democracy is cosmetic, our leaders resort to “national interest” or “we know best” arguments, while pandering to corporate interests or driven blindly by political targets.

The Oxford-Cambridge expressway is an example of a much deeper malaise at the heart of our democracy, where people have little say over what really affects their lives.
Christopher Tanner
Llandovery, Carmarthenshire”

Another local government HQ sale horror story

District council sells town council HQ without consultation as the private developer’s offer was twice what the town council could afford:

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/sale-crediton-town-hall-an-1927970

“The bigger the question, the less we are asked”

Owl says: he is behind the times – just about everything that we pay for is now decided “behind closed doors”. Examples: Local Enterprise Partnership, Greater Exeter Planning Strategy, local Clinical Commissioning Group. All our money and all decided in secret.

“… A striking example is the government’s plan for an Oxford-to-Cambridge expressway. A decision to which we have not been party, which will irrevocably change the region it affects, is imminent. The new road, says the plan, will support the construction of a million homes.

To give you some sense of the scale of this scheme, consider that Oxfordshire will have to provide 300,000 of them. It currently contains 280,000 homes. In 30 years, if this scheme goes ahead, the county must build as many new houses, and the infrastructure, public services and businesses required to support them, as have been built in the past 1,000. A million new homes amounts, in effect, to an Oxford-Cambridge conurbation.

But none of this is up for debate. By the time we are asked for our opinion, there will be little left to discuss but the colour of the road signs. The questions that count, such as whether the new infrastructure should be built, or even where it should be built, will have been made without us.

The justification for this scheme is not transport or housing as an end in itself. Its objective, according to the National Infrastructure Commission, is to enable the region “to maximise its economic potential”. Without this scheme, the commission insists, Oxford and Cambridge and the region between them “will be left behind, damaging the UK’s global competitiveness”.

This reasoning, you might hope, would prompt some major questions. Is continued growth, in one of the wealthiest regions of the world, desirable? If it is desirable, does it outweigh the acceleration of climate breakdown the scheme will cause? When air pollution already exceeds legal limits, are new roads and their associated infrastructure either appropriate or safe? And are we really engaged in a race with other nations, in which being “left behind” is something to be feared?

But these questions are not just closed to debate. They are not even recognised as questions. The megalomaniacs with their pencils, the rulers with their rulers, assume that their unexamined premises are shared by everyone. …

By imposing this decision, the government ignores its legal obligations. It has failed to conduct a strategic environmental assessment before the corridor decision is made, as the law insists. Under the Aarhus convention, public participation must begin while “all options are open”. But neither people nor law can be allowed to disrupt a grand design.

This is not democracy. This is not even a semblance of democracy. Yet the consequences of such decisions will be greater than almost any others that are made, because they are irreversible. The bigger the question, the less we are asked.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/22/project-britain-debate-oxford-cambridge-expressway