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MLCSU – your NHS partner for improving health and integrating care

Midlands & Lancashire CSU has such a privileged position within the NHS. Created even before the NHS changes brought about by the Health & Social Care Act 2012, our services formed in 2011 around the needs of PCT clusters and emerging Clinical Commissioning Groups. They needed safe, strong and effective business support that operated at scale and was therefore resilient and cost effective.

Our journey to date (click to enlarge) – updated August 2018.

Our staff within those services brought– in some cases – decades of both commissioner and provider experience to the CSU. What followed was a period of maturation, where the CCGs we supported got to grips with their responsibilities and began to demand a different type of support. Operational efficiency was important to them, especially as government austerity meant the NHS had to do more with less. We responded by consolidating three regional CSUs to create a single Midlands & Lancashire body. This allowed us to create centralised hubs of service excellence, amplifying good practice and innovation, while providing embedded, local support on the ground.

The launch of the Lead Provider Framework (LPF) in 2015 provided CCGs the opportunity to test the market and commission business support from England’s six CSUs. LPF was advantageous for us and saw us retain a foothold in all our original regions of Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country, Shropshire (inc Telford & Wrekin), Staffordshire (inc. Stoke-on-Trent), Herefordshire and Lancashire, while gaining new customers in Cheshire and Merseyside, Worcestershire (inc. Redditch and Bromsgrove), Derbyshire and Leicestershire.

The Five Year Forward View (2014) compelled CCGs to start removing competition of providers and commissioners in favour of collaboration. This is when we began to see NHS support needs shift. Integrated business support is still very important to our CCGs, but emerging structures like Sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and integrated care systems (ICSs) mean clients require intelligent support to transform and improve care for the people they serve. We’re already working alongside 9 STPs and are ready to deliver the support the ICSs will need.

In summer 2018 we were delighted to be successful at gaining a place on two important frameworks. The NHS Shared Business Services’ ‘Consult 18’ framework (through which we can be accessed via 8 lots) and the NHS England Health Systems Support Framework (which awarded us a place on all ten of its lots) enables us to continue to respond to the emerging needs of the NHS and share the benefit of our expertise with many more NHS customers.

Today, MLCSU has grown to become a strong, resilient, innovative organisation of 1,600 staff supporting 30 providers and 50 CCGs with a healthcare spend of £13.5 billion and covering a quarter of England’s population. See our journey to date and some the success of which we’re rightly proud.