NHS England publishes guidance for the development of ICB joint plans


NHS England have published “Guidance on developing the joint forward plan (JFP)”. This guidance supports integrated care boards (ICBs) and their NHS trusts and foundation trusts to develop their first 5-year joint forward plans (JFPs) with system partners. Given that integrated care boards will now be responsible for commisioning the majority of services for people with neurological conditions, these joint forward plans will be key in delivering high quality care at the right time.

Read the guidance here.

A flexible approach to develop a shared delivery plan

Integrated care systems (ICSs) have significant flexibility to determine their joint forward plan’s scope as well as how it is developed and structured. Legal responsibility for developing the JFP lies with the integrated care board and its partner trusts. However, integrated care systems are encouraged to use the JFP to develop a shared delivery plan for the integrated care strategy (developed by Integrated Care Partners) and the joint local health and wellbeing strategy (developed by local authorities and their partner integrated care boards, which may be through health and wellbeing boards) that is supported by the whole system, including local authorities and voluntary community and social enterprise sector organisations with which the board works.


  • Integrated care systems (ICSs): partnerships that bring together NHS organisations, local authorities and others to take collective responsibility for planning services, improving health and reducing inequalities across geographical areas.
  • Integrated care boards (ICBs): statutory bodies that are responsible for planning and funding most NHS services in the area.
  • Integrated care partnerships (ICPs): statutory committees that bring together a broad set of system partners (including local government, the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE), NHS organisations and others) to develop a health and care strategy for the area.

Definitions from The King’s Fund.

Improving quality of care, reducing inequalities and delivering value?

Integrated care boards are expected to work with NHS England through their joint commissioning arrangements and develop delivery plans. These should identify at least three key priority pathways for transformation, where integrated commissioning can support the three aims of:

  1. Improving quality of care
  2. Reducing inequalities across communities and;
  3. Delivering best value.

New tools to support the delegation of services

NHS England will provide ICBs with tools and resources to support transformation, and to further develop their understanding of specialised services and enable them to realise the benefits of integration. Deepening their understanding of specialised services is particularly important for a range of neuro services, as many are currently specialised and will soon be delegated to ICB level.

Find out more here.

Identifying key priority pathways?

NHS England has stated they expect delivery plans to identify three key priority pathways for transformation. However, it isn’t clear how these will be chosen – we are seeking clarification on this.

Developing plans in consultation with the neuro community?

Our members, together with people affected by neurological conditions, provide vital evidence and experience about gaps in treatment and care locally, and what may need to change. We are concerned that integrated care boards and integrated care partnerships do not sufficiently represent or consult with the neurological community at present. We therefore call on integrated care boards and integrated care partnerships to ensure they consult people affected by neurological conditions and the broader neurological community as they develop these plans.

Get the guide

The Alliance is currently developing a guide changes to NHSE structures, including ICBs and ICSs. This will be available online in February 2023. Watch this space.