Brighton and Hove’s Health and Wellbeing Board met for the first time last week behind closed doors.
The Department of Health said that they had been set up to “strengthen the democratic legitimacy of commissioning decisions”.
It added that they should also be “providing a forum for challenge, discussion and the involvement of local people”.
In Brighton and Hove local people have not yet been told that the board exists or that it has met, which it did last Tuesday (8 May).
It is operating as a shadow board until April next year with no meetings scheduled to be held in public.
The board is expected to go live – and public – after the abolition of primary care trusts (PCTs), including Brighton and Hove City PCT.
The shadow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – a slimmed down replacement for the PCT – will go live at the same time.
The CCG, which is intended to put general practitioners (GPs) in charge of commissioning local health services, has indicated that it is likely to meet in public from September.
At last week’s shadow Health and Wellbeing Board meeting the members were presented with their brief – or terms of reference.
The draft terms of reference said that the board would act as an advisory body to Brighton and Hove City Council, the PCT and the CCG.
The board’s aim was to “lead and advise on work to improve the health and wellbeing of the population of Brighton and Hove”.
It is expected to do this “through the development of improved and integrated health and social care services”.
It will also be expected to operate by “involving users and the public, including to communicate and explain the JHWS (joint health and wellbeing strategy) to local organisations and city residents”.
The board will be chaired by Councillor Rob Jarrett and the membership includes two other Greens – Councillor Ben Duncan and Councillor Sue Shanks.
It includes two Conservative members – Councillor Denise Cobb and Councillor Ken Norman – and two Labour members – Councillor Anne Meadows and Councillor Craig Turton.
It also includes the council’s director of children’s services Terry Parkin and its director of adult social care Denise D’Souza.
Dr Tom Scanlon, the director of public health, is also a member along with Dr Xavier Nalletamby, the chairman of the CCG, and Geraldine Hoban, the chief operating officer of the CCG.
The first meeting of the shadow board received a paper about the “joint strategic needs assessment” which councils and PCTs currently have a legal duty to produce. The Health and Wellbeing Board will take over this duty from next April.
The public is likely to be asked for its input to the strategic needs assessment in July when a consultation is planned to start.
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