I'm struggling to look positively at this. The Bill strengthened the role of scrutiny in relation to consortia and other health service providers, and this doesn't weaken that in any way. The role of healthwatch arguably did need more clarity and this goes some way to suggesting how that can be done.
the suggestion that Healthwatch should provide a 'scrutiny and challenge function in relation to health and wellbeing commissioners and providers' definitely blunders into the remit of scrutiny (as proposed in the Bill). It ignores the positive track record of health scrutiny to date and doesn't recognise the difference between strategic challenge to commissioning (scrutiny) and challenge as consumer champion (healthwatch). A more clear statement, and set of suggestions, about the relationship that is needed between these two would have been helpful.
I suppose that's one to lobby for at Committee Stage 2.0, along with: clarity over "designated services", and removing referall to SoS from full Council in favour of health scrutiny (more tricky now as this doesn't insist on a health scrutiny function/committee)
- Interesting expectation that HWBs and O&S will hold the local authority to account for funding of healthwatch, particularly when it says that funding shouldn't be ringfenced.
- No reference to health scrutiny arrangements in two tier areas (not sure if that came up in listening sessions)