JOINT FUTURE AGENDA: SHORT LIFE WORKING GROUP ON JOINT PREMISES DEVELOPMENT IN PRIMARY AND COMMUNITY CARE: FINAL REPORT
The Short Life Working Group (SLWG) was set up to identify ways of removing the apparently significant obstacles that inhibited integrated approaches to funding and managing joint premises. This is a complex field that has developed in organisational silos and which currently lacks the cross-cutting approach common to much of the Executive's policy.
Work on joint premises, though important in its own right, is a vital part of a suite of wider policy objectives - the development of joint services under Joint Future Agenda; modernising primary care; and the attraction of new funding streams to the public sector.
We examined fully the experience in completed schemes. Though rather small in number, we identified a range of essential factors that contributed to their success ( Part 3). Our first approach therefore is to use existing systems and frameworks more systematically. We plan to support this by issuing shortly a "toolkit" ( Part 5). We also recognised that in the fast evolving world of joint service delivery through novel financial approaches, the current legislation lags behind expectations. We therefore propose enabling legislation to allow public bodies to enter into Joint Venture Agreements to widen the funding options and improve the quality and quantity of public services. In essence, this means Ministers taking a shareholding interest in corporate entities (eg the Local Investment Finance Trust (LIFT) model already in place in England). The second step is therefore a legislative one ( Part 6).
Though the subject matter can be complex, our approach aims to bring more systematisation and flexibility to the planning, financing and management of joint premises, so that providers are empowered to act jointly to deliver better services and outcomes.
We commend our recommendations to the Executive and others, and believe that our holistic approach will through improved management of resources related to premises, contribute to better results in a number of key policy areas.