Health and Wellbeing Boards: a new type of partnership?

By Anna Coleman

A great deal rests on Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs), a new type of local partnership. These were established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, to act as a forum in which leaders from the local health and care system could work together to improve the health and wellbeing of their local population and promote integrated services.

Last year, the House of Commons Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee concluded that HWBs have a pivotal role and their success ‘is crucial to the new arrangements’. However, it also warned of the danger ‘that the initial optimism surrounding their establishment and first year or two in operation will falter and go the way of previous attempts at partnership working that failed and became no more than expensive talking shops’ (House of Commons CLG Committee, 2013 paragraph 22, 14). We examine these issues and the early development of HWBs in our recently published article in Local Government Studies.

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