Skip to main content

ICB hires overseas CEO for new £1.5bn commissioning job

Published on: 30 Apr 2024

An integrated care board has brought in a senior executive from overseas to lead the commissioning of £1.5bn worth of delegated specialised services for the East of England region.

Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes ICB has named Lynelle Hales the managing director of its specialised commissioning hub, a new ICB-hosted unit to run specialised commissioning for all six of the East of England’s ICBs.

The post was created following NHS England’s decision to delegate responsibility for commissioning 59 of the 179 specialised services to the ICBs in the East of England. The commissioning has also been delegated to the 14 ICBs in the Midlands and North West.

Ms Hales will be “operationally accountable for commissioning in excess of £1.5bn of specialised services from providers within the East of England and from out-of-region providers,” according to the job description. She will also “provide clear accountability for specialised commissioning and delivery across the region through the specialised services joint commissioning committee”.

It is her first post back in the NHS after 10 years in Australian healthcare, most recently as chief executive of one of the country’s 31 primary health networks, covering a population of 900,000 served by 291 GP practices.

She trained in Australia, as a nurse and in public health but has spent a previous stint in the UK including as joint executive director of strategy and commissioning for the NHS in Islington and for Islington Council. 

The joint committee is chaired by Felicity Cox, BLMK’s chief executive, and “sets the strategic direction and is the collaborative decision-making body for specialised commissioning” in the region.

The aim is to enable the six ICBs to make joint decisions at an appropriate scale when commissioning services that generally have a low volume of patients.

The ICBs in the North West and Midlands have also set up joint committees – two in the Midlands owing to the high number of ICBs there. Neither of the other regions has moved to appoint an MD as the East of England has, however.

Ms Hales’ responsibility will likely expand in April 2025, as NHSE intends at that point to delegate a further 25 services from April that year. The centre has said it will also transfer the employment of commissioning and finance teams to ICBs at that point, following consultation. NHSE also intends to extend delegated specialised commissioning to the remaining 22 ICBs at the same time.

Update: this post was updated at 11:45 on 30 April to clarify that specialised commissioning teams will transfer from NHSE to ICB employment following a consultation process.