What is an ICB?

What is an ICB?

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1 July 2022

The Health and Care Bill, that passed through Parliament in 2022, set out plans to put Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) on a statutory footing, empowering them to better join up health and care services, improve population health and reduce health inequalities.

Each ICS is led by an NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB), an organisation with responsibility for NHS functions and budgets, and an Integrated Care Partnership (ICP), a statutory committee bringing together all system partners to produce a health and care strategy. When ICBs were legally established, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were abolished. At this time, all CCG websites were closed down and the information was stored on The National Archives website.

The core functions of an ICB include:

  • Planning to meet population health needs
  • Allocating resources
  • Ensuring that services are in place to deliver against ambitions
  • Facilitating the transformation of services
  • Coordinating and improving people and culture development
  • Overseeing delivery of improved outcomes for the population

To realise the benefits of the new ways of working, ICBs will need to lead a cultural change both within the ICB and the wider system. This will include: 

  • Increasing collaboration vertically (across providers) and horizontally (Place) – reducing competition 
  • A focus on wellbeing rather than treating illness – tackling the real causes of ill-health (housing, poverty etc.)
  • Tackling inequalities in care and treatment
  • Supporting the wellbeing of staff to retain our expertise and transform our ways of working
This means, we need to work flexibly – now and in the future – and our structures must enable us to deliver these priorities and to work collaboratively. 

To support this change, ICB staff are in teams that are either:

  • Primarily portfolio focused – working with providers and provider collaboratives to deliver the operating plan and work up transformation or
  • Primarily enablers – working with the system to ensure the ICB is well governed, has a clearly defined strategy and is delivering its plan through good governance, sound stewardship and with the right focus on clinical; safety and a people focus. 

Information about the seven portfolios can be found in our organisational organogram.