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New Approach Agreed For Children's And Adult Services In Highland But Funding Problems Still Loom Large

9th July 2020

Members of The Highland Council's Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee have approved a new approach that will aim to transform the existing integration partnership agreement and governance arrangements between The Highland Council and NHS Highland. Of 32 councils in Scotland Highland was the only one to choose the Lead Agency model with NHS Highland.

Chair of the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee Cllr Linda Munro said: "Members have given the go-ahead today for a new approach to achieve efficiencies and improve outcomes for children's services and adult care services in Highland communities by supporting the creation of a new programme management board. Following ongoing discussions with NHS Highland, Members will decide in August at committee which Councillors will represent the Council on the Board."

Currently, integrated children's services are delivered by Highland Council and adult social care is delivered by NHS Highland. Both partners recognise the financial difficulties in providing - and the need for efficiencies - particularly in adult social care.

Councillors have agreed to the proposed introduction of a ‘Programme Management Approach' and the setting up of a Project Board and Project Team to identify and deliver efficiencies and improved outcomes in: care homes; care at home and learning disability across both adult care and integrated children's services.

Officers from Highland Council and NHS Highland will be appointed to a Project Team and will report to the Project Board which will have a membership of senior officers from both organisations and Members of The Highland Council and NHS Highland Board.

The work of the Project Board will be reported to the Council's Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee; the NHS Highland Board and the Joint Monitoring Committee.

There are some very serious issues to be discussed that are within these papers. One of the most serious not mentioned too directly is the fact that both NHS Highland and Highland Council have very serious budget issues. NHS Highland has been receiving bailouts for the past few years. Highland council is predicting a potential budget deficit of anything up to £90milion. Can the Childrens services and Adult services continue with being subject to cuts? Wil Scottish Government be able to offer more help considering the serious nature of the money pouring out to hep the economy?

The papers on social care from the meeting on 8th July 2020 can be read at

The easy explanation of Integration

Audit Scotland Explains the models for Integration

What is integration - A short guide to the integration of health and social care services in Scotland

For those with stamina - The Lead Agency Agreement in Highland