Technical / Technical review - June

30 May 2022

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NHS England and NHS Improvement published details of the minimum NHS contributions to better care fund (BCF) plans at the beginning of May. The worksheet shows NHS contributions to the BCF from integrated care boards to individual local authorities as well as overall contributions from each ICB to the BCF across all local authorities within their area. Following the passage of the Health and Social Care Act, from 1 July, ICBs will be responsible for ensuring that the annual target is met, taking into account any contributions made by their predecessor clinical commissioning groups in the first quarter of the year.

tech_fin sus briefing_portraitA new HFMA self-assessment tool – Improving NHS financial sustainability: are you getting the basics right? – helps finance teams to think about the core elements that should be in place to support board assurance over financial sustainability. The assessment comes in two parts. The first initial assessment uses a small number of statements to prompt thinking about how arrangements should work in practice, giving a rough indication of the relative maturity of sustainability arrangements. This is accompanied by a detailed checklist covering eight different areas from financial planning and budget setting to the governance framework and culture. In a letter to integrated care board designate chief financial officers, NHS England and NHS Improvement chief financial officer Julian Kelly said that all systems and organisations would be required to produce a report for their audit committees covering this checklist by the end of August.

The Department of Health and Social Care has issued its response to the consultation on the 2021/22 group accounting manual (GAM). The response highlights updates and refinements made to the manual. While the 2021/22 GAM uses IAS 17 in accounting for leases, IFRS 16 was adopted on 1 April for the 2022/23 financial year. However the GAM consultation included questions on a revised IFRS 16 supplement, offering an early indication of the guidance in the 2022/23 GAM.

The HFMA has updated its example NHS charity annual report and accounts. The changes include amendments to reflect the impact of the second year of Covid-19 on NHS charities, in terms of grants from NHS Charities Together and the resumption of local fundraising. The example also reflects the initial impact of the pandemic in the prior period figures, and the movements are explained.

Integrated care boards (ICBs) will begin life with a clean slate, NHS England and NHS Improvement have confirmed as they published a raft of financial documents for the new bodies. Final guidance, Revenue finance and contracting guidance for 2022/23, said that predecessor clinical commissioning groups’ deficits will be written off if ICBs break-even in each of their first two years. An historical underspend will be retained as a system surplus, which can be used for non-recurrent spending ‘subject to affordability and national approval’, the guidance added. Other documents set out ICB funding allocations, which showed growth of 3.6% once the new convergence factor is applied. Convergence, which replaces the pace of change policy used in CCG allocations, moves ICBs closer to their fair share funding and ensures the distribution of funding does not exceed the levels set out last year’s spending review. The national bodies also published guidance on capital for 2022-25, and elective recovery planning.

The HFMA has produced a summary briefing on the capital guidance covering 2022 to 2025, which was published by NHS England and NHS Improvement in April. The guidance outlines how integrated care boards should manage their capital programmes and the information they will need to submit to NHS England and NHS Improvement. As in previous years, the 2022/23 capital allocation will be divided three ways – a system allocation, nationally allocated funds, and other national capital allocations.

The tariff and ceiling set under the NHS injury costs recovery scheme increased from 1 April, the Department of Health and Social Care said. The scheme takes payments from compensators following incidents such as road traffic accidents, where personal injury compensation is paid. The new fees cover injuries sustained on or after 1 April. The increase is made annually to reflect hospital and community health service inflation, which is 2.89% for 2022/23. Where an injured person is provided with an ambulance, the fee is rising from £225 to £231, while the charge for NHS treatment without admission is up by £22 to £766. Daily inpatient care increases from £915 to £941 and the maximum charge is now £56,260 (£54,682 previously). The scheme applies to Scotland, Wales and England.

NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) has launched its updated hard facilities management (FM) framework, which it said could save the health service 10% in estates, facilities and capital development spending over the next four years. SBS expects an £800m spend through the framework over the four-year period, meaning potential savings of £80m. The new framework reflects developments in technology since the previous iteration, as well as new carbon reduction measures. It also includes provision for Covid- safe measures, such as partitioning, isolation, and social distancing systems.