I think this is an important intervention from Jon Rouse. It marks a clear delineation between democratic accountability in a place (vital to achieving public buy in) and the collaboration of public bodies in a place (vital to delivering joined up and efficient services that make sense to the public). If the EU referendum and the General Election told us anything - it was that people don't want to be just done to by the Westminster machine - they want Government to focus on what's important to their lives. Local places and local public services are best placed to deliver this.
The handing of control of more than £6bn of health and social care spending to the Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership is perhaps one of the most exciting developments in this area since the formation of the NHS nearly 70 years ago. The partnership’s chief officer – Jon Rouse – certainly sees it in that context. Although he stresses the partnership’s powers amount to “delegation” rather than devolution, the former council chief executive says its aims are to put right “what we think was wrong from the start in the NHS” and enable “NHS and local democratic decision making to weave together”. “Because our governance is headed by the politicians - [Wigan MBC] leader Lord Smith (Lab) is the chair of our partnership board - when we engage with the public about change we have already got that in principle commitment and decision from the locally elected leaders,” he says. “That is a very different environment in which to attempt to transformation.”