Health and Wellbeing Board - Frequently asked questions

  1. Who establishes a health and wellbeing board?

  2. Who appoints the members of the health and wellbeing board?

  3. Who can vote on a health and wellbeing board? Who agrees voting and other procedures for the health and wellbeing board?

  4. What are the functions of the health and wellbeing boards?

  5. What functions other than the statutory functions can be delegated to health and wellbeing boards?

  6. Are health and wellbeing boards subject to scrutiny?

 

 

 

Who establishes a health and wellbeing board?

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 puts a statutory requirement on upper-tier and unitary local authorities in England, the council of the Isles of Scilly and the Common Council of the City of London to establish a health and wellbeing board, and provides that these boards be treated as if they were a committee appointed under section 102 of the Local Government Act 1972.

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Who appoints the members of the health and wellbeing board?

Currently regulations provide that the function of making appointments under section 102 of Local Government 1972 Act is not to be the responsibility of the executive. So appointments to the health and wellbeing board are the function of the council rather than the executive in executive arrangements.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 sets out membership of the health and wellbeing board on the face of the Act and it is thus clear that the boards are different to other section 102 committees in certain respects. In particular the Health and Social Care Act 2012:

  • Sets a core membership for each health and wellbeing board. This includes the Directors of Public Health, Adult Social Services and Children’s Services, a representative of each relevant Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a representative of local Healthwatch for the area, in addition to at least one elected representative, ie a councillor and, in councils with executive arrangements, the Mayor or Leader in addition to or instead of a councillor.
  • Requires that the CCG and local Healthwatch must appoint a person to represent them.
  • Requires that the councillor membership is nominated by the Leader or Mayor where councils operate executive arrangements, and by a council in other cases.
  • Enables the council to include other members as it thinks appropriate but the council must consult the health and wellbeing board if doing so any time after the board is established. In some local areas, for example, there are plans to include representatives of criminal justice, foundation trusts or VCS providers on health and wellbeing boards.
  • Enables the health and wellbeing board to appoint additional members as it thinks appropriate.

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Who can vote on a health and wellbeing board? Who agrees voting and other procedures for the health and wellbeing board?

Secondary legislation will disapply current restrictions that limit voting on section 102 committees to councillors, in relation to health and wellbeing boards.

The effect of this will be to create a default position where all members of a health and wellbeing board can vote unless the local authority otherwise directs. Thus the secondary legislation also allows local flexibility for a local authority to direct, for example, that officer members of a health and wellbeing board, or members in addition to those in the statutory core membership, do not hold voting rights. The local authority would need to consult the health and wellbeing board before making the direction.

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What are the functions of the health and wellbeing boards?

Health and wellbeing boards have three types of functions.

  1. Preparation of Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWSs)
  2. Functions as to promoting integrated working
  3. The discharge of other local authority functions

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What functions other than the statutory functions can be delegated to health and wellbeing boards?

The legislation does not indicate which other functions a council might delegate to a health and wellbeing board under section 196(2) of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The most likely functions for delegation are those relating to commissioning of social care and aspects of public health services, especially joint commissioning of services with the NHS or functions relating to wider determinants of health, such as housing, that affect the health and wellbeing of the population. The council would have to act reasonably in exercising the power to delegate.

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Are health and wellbeing boards subject to scrutiny?

Generally, yes. In committee systems local authorities must ensure that overview and scrutiny committees have power to review and scrutinise decisions made or other action taken in connection with the discharge of any functions of the local authority. In executive arrangements local authorities must ensure that overview and scrutiny committees can review and scrutinise decisions or action in connection with discharge of functions whether or not they are the responsibility of the executive. Local authorities will have additional powers in relation to scrutiny of health. We expect that local authorities’ scrutiny arrangements will be considering both the work of health and wellbeing boards, and the contribution of partners on the boards (CCGs and local authorities) to delivering JSNAs and JHWSs.

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Last Updated: 26 June 2018