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National ICS guidance and engagement documents

A central place to find national guidance and engagement documents on integrated care systems (ICSs).

4 October 2021

Here you will find links to some of the key national ICS guidance and engagement documents which are publicly available online. We will be adding new guidance as and when they are released to ICSs. These documents can also be found on the Future NHS Platform, along with several other useful ICS guides, which are only available if you sign up to the platform and log in as a member.

The ICS Design Framework

Title: Integrated Care Systems: Design Framework

Who it’s for: All 

Date published: June 2021

The Integrated Care Systems Design Framework sets out the headlines for how NHS leaders and organisations will need to operate with their partners in ICSs from April 2022. The aim is to help ICSs as they put in place the practical steps to prepare for their new functions that are expected to be enabled by legislation in this parliamentary session.

Engaging with partner organisations

Title: Integrated care partnership engagement document: integrated care system implementation

Who is it for: Integrated Care Boards and Local Authorities

Date published: September 2021

The ICP engagement document was drafted by the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the Local Government Association and aims to lay out the expectations around integrated care partnerships and the role they will play. It has been designed to encourage debate and support integrated care boards, local authorities, and other key stakeholders to think about how to arrange and establish their ICPs.

NHS Confederation briefing: Integrated care partnership (ICP) engagement document

Place-based working

Title: Thriving places: Guidance on the development of place-based partnerships as part of statutory integrated care systems

Who it’s for: ICS Leaders and partner organisations

Date published: September 2021

As part of the establishment of new ICS arrangements from April 2021, ICS leaders need to confirm their proposed place-based partnership arrangements for 2022/23, including their boundaries, leadership and membership. This guidance document has been produced by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Local Government Association. The aim is to support all partner organisations to define their place-based partnership working, and to consider how they will evolve to support the transition to the new statutory ICS arrangements, anticipated from April 2022.

Engaging with communities

Title: ICS implementation guidance on working with people and communities

Who it’s for: ICS Leaders and Partnership organisations

Date published: September 2021

This guide delivers ten principles which integrated care boards can use to develop their approaches to working with, and listening to, the experiences and issues of local people and communities, as laid out within the ICS Design Framework.

Title: ICS implementation guidance on partnerships with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector

Who it’s for: ICS Leaders, partner organization leaders

Date published: September 2021

This guidance is for health and care leaders and gives more detail on how ICSs can embed voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector partnerships into the systems. It provides guidance for leaders from all organisations in ICSs that are developing partnerships across local government, health, housing, social care and the VCSE sector.

Developing effective leadership and governance

Title: ICS implementation guidance on effective clinical and care professional leadership

Who it’s for: ICS Leaders

Date published: September 2021

This guidance considers what good looks like when it comes to establishing clinical and care professional leadership across integrated care systems (ICSs). It is based on an extensive engagement exercise involving over 2,000 clinical and care professional leaders from across the country.

Our report: Clinical and care professional leadership in integrated care systems

Our report: Future systems leadership scoping project

Title: Interim guidance on the functions and governance of the integrated care board

Who it’s for: ICS Leaders

Date published: August 2021

This interim guide covers the expected governance requirements for integrated care boards as outlined in the Health and Care Bill and the Integrated care systems design framework.

HR and employment

Title: HR framework for developing integrated care boards

Who it’s for: ICS Leads, HR leads

Date published: August 2021

This HR framework provides guidance and practical support for NHS organisations affected by the proposed legislative changes as they develop and transition towards the new statutory integrated care boards.

Our briefing: HR Framework for Developing Integrated Care Boards

Title: Building strong integrated care systems everywhere: guidance on the ICS people function

Who it’s for: ICS Leads, HR Leads

Date published: August 2021

NHS leaders and organisations will be expected to work together, and with their partners in the ICS, to deliver 10 outcome-based people functions from April 2022. In establishing the ICS people function, each integrated care board will need to work with partners to agree what people activities can best be delivered at what scale, and how to use resources in the system most effectively. This guide builds on the people plan to support ICSs in developing this function.

Title: Guidance on the employment commitment: Supporting the development and transition towards statutory integrated care systems

Who it’s for: ICS Leads, HR Leads

Date published: June 2021

The NHS England and NHS Improvement executive paper Integrating care: next steps to building strong and effective integrated care systems across England outlined an ‘employment commitment’ to colleagues directly affected by the proposed legislative change. This guidance outlines what the employment commitment is, its application in practice and how it affects people.

Working with providers

Title: Working together at scale: Guidance on Provider Collaboratives

Who it’s for: ICS Leaders, Providers  

Date published: August 2021

Within the ICS Design Framework there is an expectation that provider collaboratives will be a key component in enabling ICSs to deliver their core purpose. This guidance looks at the expectations for how providers should work together in provider collaboratives, and offers principles to support local decision-making, as well as suggesting form and function for consideration.