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Healthwatch (12)


Portfolio: Adult Social Care and Housing Portfolio


Local Healthwatch

The local authority receives funds to establish a local Healthwatch service for signposting and consumer voice as set out in Health and Social Care Act 2012 and also in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 that preceded it. 

Healthwatch has to be an independent social enterprise as set out in the Act so this could not be provided in house.  Healthwatch is required to provide information and advice about access to health and social care services and choices that service users have, they also have a duty to gather share and interpret the views and experiences of residents to inform the work of the Health and Well-Being Boards, Healthwatch England and CQC. Healthwatch is also expected to carry out enter and view observations and investigations of health and social care premises using trained representatives. Local Healthwatch must operate effectively and provide value for money and the LA is responsible for ensuring this is the case. Healthwatch also has to provide an annual report which has to be sent to NHS England, Healthwatch England and the CCG.

The service is currently funded to the value of £132,000 per annum.  It is understood that national funding allocations of 60p per head would equate to £63,000 for the Darlington population..  It is proposed to allow the contract to run to its planned end date (31/3/17) at its current value and then to retender the contract within the more limited financial envelope.

Some of the activities that Healthwatch undertake are not set out in statute - for example support for the Learning Disability Network, Mental Health Network, Darlington Ageing Well Network, Children and Young Peoples Collective. Healthwatch also support the equality agenda by giving young people a voice and also the BME community. 


12 Healthwatch

This proposal will be discussed at the Adults and housing scrutiny committee [PDF document] on 22 March 2016.


Keywords: voluntary sector VCS

Related FAQs

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

We fully support the work of our voluntary sector partners and hope to continue to work with them in the future. However, the financial situation is such that the Council is not able to continue funding these organisations at current levels. The likely impact of the budget proposals on these organisations is currently being identified, following discussions with the organisations most affected. We hope that they are able to continue their work by looking at where they can make further cost and efficiency savings, but we appreciate that in some cases this may not be possible and it will therefore mean a reduction in the support they can offer to the residents of Darlington.  It could lead to the closure of organisations if they are unable to make the necessary changes for them to be sustainable, which will be very regrettable. We want to avoid this happening and we will support organisations making grant applications where we can. We will also be undertaking work to understand the impact of any reductions in service on individuals accessing them. 

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