Calderdale Council’s Chief Executive, Merran McRae, has selected Professor Andrew Kerslake as the Independent Chair of a Calderdale People’s Commission.
Professor Kerslake is an Associate Director of the Institute of Public Care (IPC) at Oxford Brookes University.
In 2011 Professor Kerslake was in Yorkshire to tell local authorities how to privatise social care services. Professor Kerslake gave formal presentations on facilitating the social care market to two Market Facilitation Seminars, which were attended by both local authorities and social care providers.
Calderdale People’s Commission is a new Council committee set up in partnership with Calderdale Healthwatch and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group. It has no formal powers, but aims to collect evidence about local health services and then make recommendations to the Council about the future of health and social care in the area.
As People’s Commission Chair, Professor Kerslake’s role will include reviewing the evidence the Commission acquires from its call for evidence, and from public ‘locality’ meetings. He will also lead on framing recommendations to the Council, Clinical Commissioning Group and other bodies.
The Council recently set up the People’s Commission after voting unanimously to tell the hospitals Trust to withdraw its contentious proposals for a new set of community health services, to replace many hospital-based acute and emergency services which the Trust has scheduled for the chop.
Proposed cuts include 100 acute beds, one or both A&E departments and 363 beds at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
The Trust has not withdrawn its proposals, despite the Council’s call.
Save Our A&Es campaigners are calling on Calderdale Council’s Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel to use its considerable powers and immediately call in NHS chiefs to explain their proposals and the evidence they are based on.
They point out that, unlike the Scrutiny Panel, the People’s Commission has no powers to do this.
Selection process for People’s Commission Chair
Ms McRae selected Professor Kerslake as People’s Commission Chair following discussions with Councillors, Council officers and Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group.
The Council’s notional budget for the cost of the Independent Chair is £15,000, but it is still agreeing detailed arrangements with Prof Kerslake.
Ms McRae initially contacted nine suitable candidates for the post of Chair. Two took up her invitation to submit a brief statement about their experience and how they would approach the role. The Chief Executive then selected from these two candidates.
The Calderdale Council comms team said,
“We felt it was important that the Independent Chair has a background in health or social care – ideally both, so that they understand the context for the work of the People’s Commission. Intellectual rigour is essential, as is the ability to understand and assess complex data and to build relationships with multiple stakeholders.”
Save NHS campaigners question Chair’s impartiality
Ken Cheslett, Chair of Calderdale NHS 38 Degrees Campaign, said,
“We need a chair who is impartial. To appoint someone who has a history of advising on how to privatise Social Care is ‘cooking the books’ as far as I am concerned.”
Although the People’s Commission has no formal powers, it will make recommendations to the Full Council this autumn about how to improve Calderdale residents’ health and social care.
Ken Roe, Chair of Band Together For Our NHS, said,
“Given the shambolic and totally ineffective “engagement” process delivered by the CCG’s in Calderdale and Kirklees I warmly welcomed the Council setting up a People’s Commission to genuinely assess what the people of Calderdale want and need in terms of healthcare provision and to establish how best to deliver those needs and wants.
I am however extremely disappointed by the appointment of Professor Andrew Kerslake as Chair of the peoples commission as there are significant questions to be raised about his impartiality. Professor Kerslake has a track record of supporting privatisation in his consultancy work and the IPC of which he is an Associate Director describes itself as having “an academic foundation but a distinctly business-orientated ethos”. This has to raise serious concerns about Professor Kerslake’s ability to take an independent and objective stance in his role as Chair.”
The Institute of Public Care, where Prof Kerslake is Associate Director, is a partner of the “Integration Pioneer” Greenwich Council. This Council won the 2014 Improvement and Efficiency Award for “Transformation in Health & Social Care – Royal Borough of Greenwich, Co-ordinated Care”.
Greenwich’s prize-winning Health and Social Care Transformation is based on the same health and social care services model as the proposals put forward by Calderdale and Huddersfield’s hospitals Trust.
But Calderdale Council’s comms team said the IPC is an academic body with no policy agenda over and above its strapline. This is:
“Working for well run evidence-based public care – We help to improve the quality and impact of services across health, social care, education, housing and welfare”.
Calderdale Council comms team added:
“We are very pleased to be working with Professor Kerslake as the Independent Chair of the People’s Commission. We are confident that he will provide strong leadership for the People’s Commission and will dispassionately assess the evidence that is presented. Selecting someone with an academic background, rather than someone who had been a manager in health or social care was an important factor when we were considering the appointment of an Independent Chair.”
Market bingo and pink lovehearts at Calderdale Council’s social care business meeting
Calderdale Council is vigorously promoting the marketisation of social care – a key part of the hospitals Trust’s Strategic Outline Case for its shakeup of services.
On 26th June, Calderdale Council held an event to start a “new social care business conversation” about Calderdale’s 2014 social care Market Position Statement. This Statement identifies the social care services that Calderdale Council wants businesses to provide.
Tweeting the caldmps hashtag shows that this conversation featured playing social care market position bingo, in a room decorated with pink loveheart icons.
Social care businesses wrote their proposals on little pink heart-shaped post-it notes and posted them inside big loveheart symbols.
Refreshments included buns that were loved up with little chocolate hearts.
Save Our NHS campaigners point out that the hospitals Trust’s contentious proposals for the NHS and social care shake up are based on a pro-privatisation model that copies an American private health care system. This model is being rolled out across England.
Where it has already been set up, it has resulted in £billions of health care services being outsourced to private healthcare companies.
It’s not yet clear whether market position bingo and love hearts will feature in the work of Calderdale People’s Commission.
Terms of reference for the People’s Commission not yet formally agreed
Calderdale Council said the Chair’s and the Commission’s terms of reference have not yet been formally agreed, but the People’s Commission will publicly:
- look in depth at the national evidence currently available on health and social care,
- review the clinical evidence for proposed NHS service changes in Calderdale
- listen to the views of local people at two rounds of “locality” meetings – probably in late July / early August and again in September.
According to the Chief Executive’s Report to Cabinet, the “locality” meetings will discuss issues specific to the particular locality and topics that the Panel would like to see debated in public.
The Council would like people to tell them about key issues they want the People’s Commission to debate, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Commission will make a formal Call for Evidence in July.
The Commission will also consider evidence from NHS organisations and other organisations involved in health and social care.
There is likely to be a select committee type session, held in public and possibly lasting a day, where the Commission will question NHS organisations and others.
Around the time that the Commission presents its recommendations to the Council, Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group will be reviewing the results of its public consultation on the proposed NHS and social care cuts and shake up, and finalising its commissioning plans. It has to consider the outcomes of the public consultation, but does not have to act on them.
Calderdale Council said,
“The CCG has assured us that they are committed to listen to the recommendations of the People’s Commission, and we will be determined to make sure that happens. The Council is a critical partner in providing health and social care services.”
Pauline Nash, a former Calderdale Councillor who took part in the March walk through Halifax to protest against the proposed A&E closure and associated hospital cuts, said,
“Interesting choice of language – ‘listen’ – but no commitment to give views any weight.
Given that the CCG at their Scrutiny Panel briefing in February said they want to implement the changes by the end of the year, where is the sense of urgency?”
Cost of the Commission
On top of the “notional” allocation of £15K for the Independent Chair, the Council has allocated £5000 to cover the cost of local meetings, publicity etc. The money is coming out of the Council’s health and social care budgets and the Council will review this allocation during the course of the Commission.
Plain Speaker has emailed Professor Kerslake a number of questions but so far he has not replied.
Here’s the Institute of Public Care website.
Here’s information about Professor Kerslake’s 2011 advice to local authorities about how to privatise social care services.
Here’s my Open Democracy article about the privatisation agenda of the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS and social care shake up proposals, that the Council has unsuccessfully asked the Trust to withdraw. Calling in the Trust to account for them is now top of the Calderdale Council Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel’s agenda.
Updated 17 August with additional information about Professor Kerslake’s social care market facilitation seminar presentations.
Here’s a report of one of the public engagement events carried out by Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group.
Here’s the link to the caldmps tweets