STPs are under pressure as local government and health organisations struggle to integrate, a new CIPFA and iMPOWER survey suggests.
The new survey of local authority and NHS organisations involved in Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) suggests there is a worryingly long way to go to achieving successful partnership working.
In the survey, which was conducted by CIPFA and iMPOWER, 55 of the 56 respondents stated that they do not believe full joint-working will be achieved in the next five years. Furthermore, the survey shows that a quarter (25%) believe relationships are currently 'limited', while 54% believe them to be reasonable and only 21% very strong.
The survey also throws up some serious question marks on the financial capacity of STPs to invest in important prevention measures.
A significant majority (95%) of those surveyed agreed that investing in prevention is essential or important. However, only one in six (15%) expect to be able to use any of the additional £2bn announced in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring 2017 Budget towards prevention activities. Indeed, research from CIPFA and iMPOWER indicates that almost all of the available budgets this year will be spent meeting operational challenges or sustaining the market for local providers.
Earlier this month, the Care Provider Alliance published a report to encourage engagement between STPs and adult social care providers, saying that the engagement of STPs with the sector is generally still at an early stage.
Commenting on the results from the survey, CIPFA’s Chief Executive, Rob Whiteman, said, 'While it is now clear what the overall ambitions are for STPs, the survey highlights there may be major barriers to achieving these.
'The survey shows that there are some significant concerns with regard to joint-working, which is vital to the success of STPs. Therefore, serious care and attention must now be paid to building relationships and trust between partners.
'As well as ensuring working relationships are in place for STPs to achieve their desired outcomes, there also needs to be suitable levels of funding. Otherwise, there is the danger that the targets that have been set will turn out to be financially unachievable.'
Martin Cresswell, Chief Executive of iMPOWER, said, 'The survey shows that there is huge level of agreement around priorities, and an unchallenged view that working together is critical. But relationships, national imperatives and funding are the enablers, and we must address these.
'Unlocking the interface between health and social care is vital to the success of future models of delivery – and this includes looking at reducing demand as well as improving outcomes for adults and children.'