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Health and wellbeing boards and integrated care systems

Health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) were established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to act as a forum in which key leaders from the local health and care system could work together to improve the health and wellbeing of their local population.

This long read from the Kings Fund examines the part HWBs, and local government more broadly, have played in the emergence of integrated care systems (ICSs) so far and options for their future.

Kings Fund have drawn on our work on sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and ICSs, as well as other national research and evidence. They have complemented this by talking to ICS and local government leaders in five places where there has been a positive track record of local authority engagement. 

This long read explores questions in three main areas:

  • What has been the overall role and contribution of local government to ICSs so far? How involved have councils been? How far has this influenced the development of ICSs and how they work? How helpful or otherwise has this contribution been? 
  • To what extent does the HWB feature in the overall governance arrangements for ICSs, both now and in the future? How does this work in practice, for example, where there is more than one HWB in the ICS footprint? 
  • What part has the HWB played in the development of ICSs so far and how far might this change in the future, taking account of proposed national changes in NHS legislation? What is the future of HWBs in a world of ICSs?

Read Health and wellbeing boards and integrated care systems