APPENDIX 1: LOCAL INVOLVEMENT NETWORKS
(AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2008 (SI 2008/1877)|
Further information from the Department of Health
Q1:What is the nature of the delay and what
consequences it might have for the public?
A1:First, it is important
to clarify that the Amendment Regulations do not extend the implementation
date for LINks - implementation of LINks commenced from 1 April
2008. Under the legislation (the Local Government and Public Involvement
in Health Act, 2007 - "the Act"), which came into force
on 1 April 2008, local authorities with social services responsibilities
have been under a duty to make arrangements for LINks activities,
as set out in s221(2) of the Act, to take place in their area.
The Act placed local authorities under a duty to
make arrangements with an independent organisation - 'or host'
- to facilitate LINk activities from 1 April 2008. The Act also
placed local authorities under a duty to make transitional arrangements
for a period specified in regulations. The Local Involvement Networks
Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/528) specified a date of 30 September
This meant that where, at 1 April 2008 a local authority
had not placed such a contract with a host allowing LINk activities
to take place, that local authority was under a transitional duty
to ensure activities could take place by other means. In most
cases this was done either by the local authority acting as a
host organisation or by the appointment of a temporary, or transitional,
host until the procurement of a permanent host was finalised.
The purpose and effect of SI 2008/1877 is to extend
that six month period to 31 December 2008, allowing local authorities
an additional three months to enter into contractual arrangements
with a host, while remaining under the temporary duty.
The transitional duty was placed on local authorities
to ensure that there would be no adverse consequences for communities
of local authorities which did not have host contracts in place
on 1 April 2008.
Q2:How many local authorities have yet to contract
with the Host (both numbers and as a percentage of the whole)
A2:28 local authorities
(18.6%) have yet to contract with a host.
Q3:How robust is the 31 December timetable?
A3: Local authorities
are not under any duty to report their progress to the Department
of Health, or any other organisation. However, based on the information
we are gathering from our delivery partners - the Care Services
Improvement Partnership (CSIP) and the NHS Centre for Involvement
(NCI), as well as from the Local Government Association - we are
confident that all local authorities should be able to finalise
their procurements by the end of December.
We have written to local authorities advising them
of the revised date for the end of the transitional period, reminding
them of their duty to ensure LINks activities can be carried on
during this time, and reiterating the help and support that is
available to them in order to get their LINk up and running successfully.
We also made it clear that there is no intention
to seek a further extension to the period of transition and local
authorities that have not contracted with a host organisation
by the end of December will be in breach of their statutory duty.
Q4: Why did the initial projections of the
Department that it could all be done within 6 months prove incorrect,
are there lessons for timetabling other projects?
A4: A period of 6 months
after 1 April 2008 was thought to be sufficient to allow local
authorities to finalise their host arrangements. However, it was
recognised in debate during the passage of the Bill that this
timescale may need revisiting because of the complex nature of
such procurements, and of some late amendments to the legislation.
The period of transition was, therefore, deliberately set out
in secondary rather than primary legislation to facilitate a more
straightforward means by which to amend the end date, should it
It is important to clarify that the Department did
not project that everything could be done within 6 months. Local
authorities were first notified of the proposals for the introduction
of local involvement networks in July 2006, as part of the Department's
consultation A stronger local voice: A framework for creating
a stronger local voice in the development of health and social
The Department issued two guidance documents in August
2007 designed to help local authorities get ready for LINks; one
of these documents contained a 'model contract' for local authorities
to use as a reference. This guidance accompanied a one-off payment
of £10,000 to each local authority to assist them in the
Since that time, LINk leads - who are based in local
authorities - and, more recently, host organisations, have received
monthly bulletins updating them on LINks policy developments and
giving them the practical information they need to set up a successful
LINk. Further, as part of the programme of support the Department
is offering for LINks, expert advisors from the NCI have visited
local authorities to provide help and advice and good practice
has been shared more widely at workshops and seminars. The NCI
have also produced a compendium of guidance to help support LINks
Local authorities, therefore, have known about the
advent of LINks for over 2 years, and have had practical help
and support since August 2007.
However, as indicated earlier, during the passage
of the Bill some concern was expressed that - despite the early
notification, and the availability of guidance, support and funding
- some local authorities would not be in a position to contract
a host by 1 April 2008. The transitional duty was therefore put
in place. At the time of the debates, an additional 6 months was
agreed to be a reasonable length of time. It was acknowledged,
however, that a further period may be necessary, and this has
turned out to be the case.