ICS Update July 2022

Insights for ICSs from Liaison Group, July 2022

Welcome to the first day of the official ICS structure. In our latest newsletter, we’re marking the change with a series of articles aimed at ICSs, looking at the new changes, the Government’s recently published Data Saves Lives policy, and the need to upgrade estates and property.

We hope you find this month’s content useful, and would love to hear your thoughts, feedback or experiences on any of these subjects. Please do share them with us at info@liaisongroup.com, and we look forward to hearing of the successes of your ICS following today’s launch

ICS Update - Andrew Armitage

The transition from opportunity to awareness

Friday 1st July formally marks the launch of Integrated Care Systems in the UK.


…the change is likely to only be really felt once those improvements start to materialise, or better collaboration is achieved to allow access to more joined-up care.

There’s a number of national, international and awareness days or months on or beginning on Friday 1st July…

  • Clean Beaches Week
  • Plastic Free July
  • Wallace & Gromit’s Wrong Trousers Day
  • Canada Day
  • International Reggae Day
  • National Picnic Month

…and many others. But there is a day missing from this list, something which many of those reading this will have been working towards for a long time, and something that maybe those outside of the NHS are completely unaware of…

Today, Friday 1st July, formally marks the launch of Integrated Care Systems in the UK. Something which many people outside of the NHS will be entirely unaware of.

As we know, from statutory beginnings comes the opportunity to build systems which work collaboratively to provide care across organisations and in communities, whilst also tackling health inequalities and driving improvements in population health.

Within the communities themselves, the change is likely to only be really felt once those improvements start to materialise, or better collaboration is achieved to allow access to more joined-up care.

So, if you were to celebrate today’s formal beginning of ICSs, what would you want to make people in your system aware of? Would it be your ICS’s values, the desired outcomes arising from a collaborative approach, or maybe just how the change will provide them and their families with improved care? The opportunity has begun, and we wish all ICBs and the NHS our support and best wishes for their new way of working.

To discuss how Liaison Group can provide support to ICSs to enable transformation and collaboration, please get in touch at info@liaisongroup.com

Upgrading the places delivering health and care

As ICSs launch across the NHS, it is likely that ICBs will take stock of estate management, with the aim of making buildings more user-friendly and appropriate to needs across places.


…Something not mentioned in the Health Secretary’s speech was the requirement to have appropriate places in which to provide health and/or community care.

I attended the NHS ConfedExpo Conference in Liverpool in June, and heard the Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, give a speech on the state on the NHS, its challenges, and plans being put into place to help address them.

Much of his speech focused on the waiting list backlog challenge, and its expected continuing growth: “…the COVID-19 backlog sits atop a broader set of generational challenges.”

While his comments are correct in that the NHS needs to, and should, continue to focus on reducing the waiting list backlog, particularly where is has been exacerbated by Covid, this comes with a long list of accompanying requirements all also needing to be addressed for waiting lists to be reduced.

Something not mentioned in the Health Secretary’s speech was the requirement to have appropriate places in which to provide health and/or community care. The government money pledged for ‘new hospitals’ has actually equated mostly to refurbishments or new wings or blocks, and so many NHS leaders have found themselves frustrated at being unable to provide the care needed in inadequate facilities.

In response to the speech at the conference, Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, noted this lack of investment or commitment to improving buildings: “Despite everything leaders are doing, 9 out of 10 members we surveyed recently told us their efforts to reduce waiting lists are being hindered by a decade long lack of investment in buildings and estates, and that they cannot transform patient services to meet the current Long Term Plan targets without further investment.”

As ICSs launch across the NHS, it is likely that ICBs will take stock of estate management, with the aim of making buildings more user-friendly and appropriate to needs across places.

Whilst Mr Javid didn’t address estates in his speech, capital projects are essential for ensuring the ongoing development of ICSs, and have long-term benefits for tackling waiting lists. Budgets and funding are not always readily available, and therefore effective VAT planning at the outset of such a project is vital to manage any unexpected expenditure. We always recommend speaking to experts for advice when scoping any such projects, particularly where budgets are limited or need careful planning, so that every penny can go towards the ultimate aim of improving patient care where it is most needed.

To speak to a VAT expert at Liaison Financial, please get in touch at info@liaisongroup.com

 –  Andrew Armitage, CEO, Liaison Group

Data Saves Lives: Workforce management remains absent

Nearly half of the NHS total budget is spent on workforce, and so, we recommended that an eighth principle was added to utilise data to improve workforce management and support NHS staff.


… the bigger picture of effectively using data to support those delivering health and care is excluded from the principles…

In October 2021, we responded to the Department of Health and Social Care’s draft policy, “Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data”, with the suggestion that a vital piece of the data puzzle was missing.

As the final data strategy has now been launched, and can be found here, it can be seen that the seven principles aiming to improve the use of data across the NHS have shifted and been tweaked, but our suggested amendment remains absent.

Nearly half of the NHS total budget is spent on workforce, and so, we recommended that an eighth principle was added to utilise data to improve workforce management and support NHS staff. This would aim to encourage the implementation of effective people analytics to collect, analyse and use workforce data to improve HR and management, identify issues, and actively improve the working lives of NHS staff across an organisation.

The data transformation proposed in the new strategy focuses on improving health and care both within the NHS and in the community with the better use of data and information, meaning that the bigger picture of effectively using data to support those delivering health and care is excluded from the principles.

We support systems and organisations to implement an effective data programme, mii People Analytics, which works with key functions to triangulate the various organisation datasets in use to easily obtain meaningful information relating to critical workforce issues. An advanced people analytics programme will advance workforce management efforts, enabling HR and workforce management to make meaningful decisions which benefit staff, and see problems or pain points before they occur.

The data strategy will be followed by the publication of the digital health and care plan, which the Department states will bring together the government’s aspirations for digital transformation for health and social care with an ambitious delivery plan. We hope that the plan places more focus on the use of data to better its people analytics, and supports its use to become a norm for effective workforce management. After all, the policy aims to move toward greater efficiency and innovation – if we can use workforce data to create a more efficient workforce, this creates the opportunity for innovation.

Click here to read more about mii People Analytics, or please get in touch to discuss how it can transform your workforce management at info@liaisongroup.com  

News & Views

A brief round-up of recent articles, guides and blog posts covering news and views on ICSs from healthcare experts…


A brief round-up of recent articles, guides and blog posts covering news and views on ICSs from healthcare experts…

  • Inflation in the cost of food, estate management and medical supplies will add an estimated £280m to NHS expenditure in 2022-23, NHS England has said. A body representing NHS procurement chiefs said information-sharing is critical to avoid some providers being hit harder than others.
  • Chris Hopson, NHS England’s new chief strategy officer has set out plans to establish ‘a single, aligned leadership team that will include local CEOs, and promised ‘more immediate tactical communication channels’ with the centre.
  • The King’s Fund publish a new framework: ‘A reflective learning framework for partnering: insights from the early work of the Healthy Communities Together partnerships’.
  • Half of ICSs have no ‘partnership’ chair or ‘place’ leads. Less than a month before integrated care systems take over from clinical commissioning groups, half have not selected a chair of their partnership board, and more than half have yet to appoint the executive leaders of their constituent ‘places’, HSJ research has found.