Success of Better Care Fund hampered by inadequate planning, says NAO

The Department of Health (DH) and Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) did not adequately prepare for the delivery of the Better Care Fund, said the National Audit Office’s (NAO) Planning for Better Care Fund report published today. 

By Sarah.Aston

11 Nov 2014

The Better Care Fund, which is due to run from April 2015, aims to deliver locally led integrated care services - implemented by the Local Government Association (LGA) and NHS England - for older and disabled people.

It was originally expected to save the NHS £1bn. However, this target was not filtered down to the LGA and NHS England. Furthermore, the report said that there was “no central programme team, no programme director, limited risk management, and no analysis of local planning capacity, capability, or where local areas would need additional support”.

According to the report, after 151 local health and wellbeing boards submitted delivery plans for how they would spend their allocations of the £5.3bn Fund in April, NHS England concluded plans would only save £55m and not the target of £1bn.

The NAO reported that the target of £1bn in savings would not be met by the NHS because “the quality of early preparation and planning did not match the scale of ambition.”

A government spokesperson said: “We disagree with this report’s criticism of the early stages of the programme. This is the most ambitious plan to transform care ever undertaken and we ensured detailed work took place a year ahead of the launch to allow us time to iron out the issues that the NAO itself now acknowledges have been addressed.”

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