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Senate Council & Assembly

The difference between the Senate Council and the Senate Assembly

The role of the Clinical Senate is set out in the Accountability and Governance Framework.

Clinical Senate

Clinical Senates help Clinical Commissioning Groups, Local Authorities and NHS England to make the best decisions about healthcare for the populations they represent by providing clinical advice and leadership at a strategic level. Clinical Senates will not be focused on a particular condition. Instead they will take a broader, strategic view on the totality of healthcare within a particular geographical area, for example providing a strategic overview of major service change. They will are non-statutory advisory bodies with no executive authority or legal obligations and therefore they need to work collaboratively with commissioning organisations.

The Clinical Senate is comprised of the Senate Assembly and the Senate Council.

Clinical Senate Assembly

The Clinical Senate Assembly will encompass a wide range of clinical professions, across the entire spectrum of NHS care, covering the five domains of the NHS Outcomes Framework. Members may also be members of professional bodies, trade unions, the third sector or other bodies such as Public Health England or Health Education England.

The purpose of the Clinical Senate Assembly is to achieve broad stakeholder engagement in the work of the Wessex Strategic Networks and Clinical Senate. Its’ role is not a decision-making one although it could deliberate on high-level issues once they have been discussed by the Senate Council. The Clinical Senate Assembly should be asked to comment on the Clinical Senate work plan and have an on-going role in identifying “experts” in different specialties (e.g. acute, emergency care etc.) and in the formation of sub-groups around topics for future consideration of the Senate Council.  Due to resource constraints, the Clinical Senate Assembly has been a virtual list of interested parties used for stakeholder engagement and consultation. However, the Clinical Senate Assembly will be formally launched on 2nd July 2014.

Clinical Senate Council

The Clinical Senate Council has a membership who have skills in commissioning and providing all of the health services which make up a typical care pathway as well as in engaging with patients and the public. These members are tasked with representing patient interests not the interests of their employing organisation in accordance with this job role. The Council should receive objective data and information, and also views and opinions from a broad range of generalists and experts invited to give evidence to the meetings as the need arises. Other Wessex Strategic Clinical Networks, Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England will be able to refer ‘topics’ or issues to the Clinical Senate Council provided that they set out a case in writing in advance that the topic or issues meet its acceptance criteria.

The Senate Council will normally hear evidence and views in open session but will retire to formulate its advice in closed session. The consensus advice of the Senate Council will be published and all members of the Senate Council will be expected to promulgate the consensus view.

Link to Accountability and Governance Framework

Oversight and Planning Group (OPG)

The Wessex Strategic Clinical Networks and Clinical Senate Oversight and Planning Group sets and monitors the work plans of both the Wessex Strategic Clinical Networks and Clinical Senate. Although it is also a non-statutory group, it maintains the authoritative power on matters relating to network and senate activity plan. It will support statutory commissioning and provider organisations through an effective communications strategy approved by the NHS England (Wessex) Area Director. It reviews all Strategic Clinical Network and Senate priorities, considers cross-cutting themes, aligning them to outcomes. The Overview and Planning Group establishes and agrees the work programmes for the Wessex Strategic Clinical Networks and Clinical Senate to include outcome or geographically-based work undertaken by the Quality Improvement Leads. The Overview and Planning Group reviews the work of Strategic Clinical Networks and Senate and considers whether their priorities need to be referred to the Senate or vice versa.