§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Dr. Stephen Ladyman)
The Department of Health is to meet an urgent cash requirement for new services from the Contingencies Fund. Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £22 million for the set-up of these new services will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Department. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £11.3 million will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.
The expenditure is required to ensure the set-up of two new bodies detailed in the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill currently before Parliament. The Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection [CHAI] and the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) are planned to come into effect on 1 April 2004, subject to the successful passage of the Bill. This date is key for delivering operational effectiveness gains (including retention of valuable professional expertise and the goodwill of existing inspectors and staff) which would otherwise be lost or significantly delayed.
CHAI will take over the work of the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI), the Mental Health Act Commission (MHAC), the national NHS value for money work of the Audit Commission and the independent healthcare work of the National Care Standards Commission (NCSC). CSCI will take on the social care services work of NCSC, the work of the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) and the Joint Review team of the SSI/Audit Commission. SSI is currently a part of the Department of Health. The speedy integration of these constituent bodies will provide a 14WS strengthened inspection and audit function and thus improvements in the commissioning and delivery of health and social services.
The Contingencies Fund allows for cash advances to departments for expenditure on urgent services in anticipation of parliamentary approval.