Better Care Fund policy framework published

25 August 2021

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) have published the 2021-22 policy framework for the Better Care Fund.

The Better Care Fund is one of the government’s national vehicles for driving health and social care integration. It requires clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local government to agree a joint plan, owned by the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB). These are joint plans for using pooled budgets to support integration.

The 2021-22 Better Care Fund policy framework aims to build on the progress made during the coronavirus pandemic. It will strengthen the integration of commissioning and delivery of services and delivering person-centred care, as well as continuing to support system recovery from the pandemic.

You can read the policy framework on the government’s website.

Better Care Fund national conditions and metrics for 2021-22

The national conditions for the Better Care Fund in 2021-22 are:

1. A jointly agreed plan between local health and social care commissioners, signed off by the HWB.

  • The Better Care Fund plans should set out a joined-up approach to integrated, person-centred services across local health, care, housing and wider public services.

2. NHS contribution to adult social care to be maintained in line with the uplift to CCG minimum contribution.

3. Investment in NHS-commissioned out-of-hospital services.

4. A plan for improving outcomes for people being discharged from hospital.

  • The non-elective admissions metric is being replaced by a metric on avoidable admissions. This reflects better the focus of joint health and social care work to support people to live independently in their own home and prevent avoidable stays in hospital. 

Beyond this, local areas have flexibility in how the fund is spent over health, care and housing schemes or services, but need to agree ambitions on how this spending will improve performance against the following Better Care Fund 2021-22 metrics:

  • Discharge Indicator Set.
  • Avoidable admissions to hospital.
  • Admissions to residential and care homes.
  • Effectiveness of reablement.

Housing associations can help NHS services and local authorities meet these performance targets through hospital discharge services and initiatives or services that promote health and wellbeing and prevent admissions to hospital and adult social care services.

Disabled Facilities Grant

The Better Care Fund policy framework also mentions the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). Funding for the DFG in 2021-22 is £573m. This was paid to local government in May 2021. We have been in contact with MHCLG and DHSC on a proposed update to the DFG guidance.