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This website is now archived. The Health and Social Care Board closed on 31 March 2022 and responsibility for its functions transferred to the Department of Health as the Strategic Planning and Performance Group (SPPG). Information about the work of the SPPG can be found here https://online.hscni.net

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Progress made as Health and Social Care Board migrates to Department of Health

Small logo showing HSCB Migration

Plans are well underway, as part of the wider transformation of Health and Social Care (HSC) services, to bring forward the closure of the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and the transfer of responsibility for its functions to the Department of Health.

Subject to the successful passage of the required legislation, HSCB staff will undertake their functions from 1 April 2022 under the direction of the Department as part of the Strategic Planning and Performance Group.

Sharon Gallagher will lead the Strategic Planning and Performance Group. Appointed Chief Executive of the HSCB in September 2020 Sharon has a unique dual role, as both Deputy Secretary in the Department and Chief Executive of the HSCB, which enables invaluable testing of the new model in shadow form.

Working for the Strategic Planning and Performance Group former HSCB staff will continue to undertake functions under the direction of the Department. This approach will streamline structures and reduce bureaucracy whilst providing continuity of service which minimises risk to the overall HSC system. Staff will retain existing HSC Terms and Conditions through employment by the Business Services Organisation (BSO).

The Senior Management arrangements, upon closure of the HSCB as agreed by the Oversight Board, are illustrated on this infographic.

The Need for Reform

The decision to close the HSCB was taken in 2015 by then Health Minister Simon Hamilton. A review of commissioning arrangements identified a number of weaknesses in the current Health and Social Care system, including complex and bureaucratic structures and a lack of clarity of accountability and decision making.

Proposals to reform the planning and administration arrangements for the HSC, including the closure of the HSCB, were subject to public consultation later in 2015. The consultation report affirmed the need for change. In October 2016 the decision to close was reaffirmed by Michelle O’Neill as Health Minister. However progress stalled as the political institutions required to bring closure forward were not in place. During this time extensive analysis and engagement took place on the operating model to be introduced.

The Health and Social Care Bill (2021)

With the return of the NI Assembly in January 2020, Minister Swann endorsed the direction of travel. The Health and Social Care Bill (2021) was developed to provide the necessary legislation to effect the closure of the HSCB. The Bill, currently at Committee Stage, allows for the Department to take responsibility for the functions of the Board and enables a transfer scheme to be developed to facilitate the transfer of staff to the BSO as host employer.

Implementing the objectives of the Bill includes the establishment of the Strategic Planning and Performance Group within the Department of Health. Former staff of the HSCB will work in the Strategic Planning and Performance Group as an integral part of the Department. There will be no significant difference for staff on 1 April 2022 as they retain their HSC Terms and Conditions.

In this first migration phase, as staff are supported to transition to the new operating model, there will be no re-engineering of process.

Further updates will be made available as migration progresses to ensure that stakeholders and the general public are aware of the new arrangements. For further information on the HSCB’s migration and the establishment of the Strategic Planning and Performance Group email OrgChgDir@health-ni.gov.uk.