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Health and Wellbeing Boards

Volume 536: debated on Tuesday 22 November 2011

14. What plans he has to ensure balanced political and geographical representation on health and wellbeing boards. (81809)

The Health and Social Care Bill sets minimum membership for health and wellbeing boards. The boards will provide local system leadership, assessing need and setting the strategy for commissioning health, social care and public health. Ensuring that the board has the benefit of a broad range of opinion and geographical spread is a matter for local decision. However, the Department’s health and wellbeing board national learning network is developing and sharing good practice to inform those decisions.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the ability of a health and wellbeing board to represent democratically the interests of the people in its area would be boosted by having a reasonable number of councillors on it with both geographical representation across the area and political balance?

We are telling local authorities that they can have a majority of elected members on health and wellbeing boards if that is the appropriate way forward for their local community. My hon. Friend’s area, Cambridgeshire county council, recognises the importance of ensuring that there is a geographical spread and a full involvement of local opinion in those boards. There is a special event next January for stakeholders to get information about that, in which I hope my hon. Friend will take part.