Sunday, July 03, 2011

Birmingham Local Involvement Network Gets Reduced


Tied To Action ? Or Is It A Jailed Approach ?

The Birmingham Local Involvement Network, a statutory health monitoring body, has only been funded lately for 7 of its Action (health monitoring) Groups according to sources and a text we have been sent. The funding in place for the Action Groups is only for the months of July , August , September-end . From Oct there will be a new contract and a new Host and there is likely to be new governance in place .

The Birmingham City Council have not funded the LINk Core Group which appears to have become an over-bureaucratic body riven with dissenters and some say it has been "useless" in terms of having any real role . The Action Groups appear to have proven that action is what counts and inward looking bureaucratic meetings do not . Its wastes money and time .

The function of the LINk Core Group was to manage the strategic directions of the overall LINk but it has not enamoured itself to the Council it appears . Neither did it succeed in creating a credible link between "elected" Core Group members and their suitability to be aiding the strategy of the Action Groups . This has been a topic of conversations in several Birmingham circles that have criticised the LINk Core Group .

The email text from Birmingham City Council regarding the reductions of support to just the Action Groups is below :

"Dear LINk Member,

We have now negotiated with Gateway Family Services, the existing Host organisation, for continued LINk Host maintenance for the Birmingham LINk to cover the three months from 1 July to 30 September 2011. We have established continuation of support for those LINk Groups that contribute to health or social care outcomes. On this basis, support for up to one meeting per month has been agreed for the following Groups:

Birmingham East and North Action Group
Enter and View
Heart of Birmingham Action Group
Older Persons Action Group
Mental Health Action Group
University Hospital Birmingham Action Group
Women's Health and Maternity Action Group

We would like to see all of these Groups working towards achieving benefits in health and social care in line with a work programme that is based on evidenced local need. The wider governance arrangements will be revisited once the new Host's contract has started in October. This approach has been agreed and endorsed by Councillor Sue Anderson.

In addition there has been provision for 4 consultation events over the 3 month period; the Birmingham LINk website will be maintained; the 0800 number will continue to operate; and, the insurance cover will remain at the same level as currently. Gateway will be processing LINk member expenses for activities that have been agreed in advance.

The Host is currently drafting a work plan for the three month period; further details will be issued once available. Many thanks for your continued interest and hard work in the LINk.

Head of Policy

Birmingham City Council
The Council House Extension,
2nd Floor,
Margaret Street,
B3 3BU"


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