From 1 October 2015, the Government intends that local authorities (LAs) take over responsibility from NHS England for commissioning public health services for children aged 0-5. This includes health visiting and Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) targeted services for teenage mothers.

The rationale for the split in commissioning responsibilities is to support significant investment in building capacity in public health services for 0-5 year olds, particularly in the number of health visitors and Family Nurse Partnerships. The NHS CB will be responsible for doubling the number of Family Nurse Partnership clients at any one time to 13,0002 and recruiting an additional 4,200 health visitors3 by April 2015.

As part of the transfer of services, local authorities will be obliged to provide certain universal elements of the Healthy Child Programme. These are:
- antenatal health promotion review
- new baby review, which is the first check after the birth
- 6-8 week assessment
- 1 year assessment
- 2 to 2 and a half year review

The DH say this will ensure that a universal health visiting service continues. This service is essential to supporting the health and wellbeing of families and children at a crucial stage of development. These arrangements will be reviewed after a year.

In July 2012, the public health and prevention subgroup of the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum included the following recommendation in its report to government said: “We suggest…the NHS CB, in collaboration with Public Health England, works closely with local authorities to ensure the smooth transition of commissioning public health services for children under five years from NHS CB responsibility to local authority responsibility by 2015. The two years, 2013/14 and 2014/15, provide an opportunity to develop joint commissioning of all components of the Healthy Child Programme.”

To download a full factsheet explaining how and why the commissioning and associated funding are being transferred to local authorities go to: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/347047/Mandation_factsheet_final_22-8-14.pdf