Councillors hit back at CCG funding slur

17 Mar 2017

Northumberland County Council has hit back furiously at accusations made by Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan that the council could take control of the finances of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and drive the funds to the south east of the county.
 
The county council wants to make it clear that, while the council’s Chief Executive Steven Mason is the Accountable Officer for both the council and the CCG, the roles are completely separate, as are the respective budgets. Steven Mason is responsible for reporting CCG finance matters to NHS England and not the county council.
 
Legally, councillors are not allowed representation on the CCG which is a clinically led organisation with an independent chair and a governing body.
 
In her regular email briefing to local residents, ‘My Week in Westminster’, Anne-Marie Trevelyan expressed concern that financial control of the CCG had moved to the Chief Executive of Northumberland County Council.
 
She said she was worried that now the council had control of the health funds she was fearful they would drive them towards the south east of the county.
 
Councillor Susan Dungworth, Cabinet member for adult care and public health at Northumberland County Council, said: “Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s statement shows a worrying lack of understanding of the structure, budgets and decision making within the CCG.
 
“We do not control this budget. In fact, there is absolutely no councillors directly involved in the CCG’s decisions. These are just scaremongering accusations to try and score political points.”
 
Speaking about her allegations that the council had been driving funds to the south east of the county, Cllr Dungworth added:
 
“ It is clear to all that we have been investing right across the county. Our market towns initiative alone has seen major investment to help revitalise nine towns including Alnwick, Berwick, Morpeth, Ponteland and Hexham.
 
“Despite continued reduction in funding from central government the council has committed to continue investing across Northumberland through its £381 million capital programme over the next year. The programme aims to improve the lives of everyone who lives and works in the county and includes proposed investment in new schools and leisure centres, infrastructure improvements and increased parking provision.”