Integrated Care Systems: Guidance

These guidance documents published by NHS England and the Local Government Association set out how NHS leaders and organisations will operate with their partners in Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) from April 2022.

Integrated care systems (ICSs) are partnerships of health and care organisations that come together to plan and deliver joined-up services and to improve the health of people who live and work in their area.

They exist to achieve four aims:

  • improve outcomes in population health and healthcare
  • tackle inequalities in outcomes, experience and access
  • enhance productivity and value for money
  • help the NHS support broader social and economic development.

Thriving places: Guidance on the development of place-based partnerships as part of statutory integrated care systems

This co-produced NHS England and NHS Improvement and Local Government Association (LGA) document seeks to support all partner organisations in integrated care systems (ICSs) to collectively define their place-based partnership working, and to consider how they will evolve to support the transition to the new statutory ICS arrangements, anticipated from April 2022.

ICS implementation guidance on working with people and communities

The ICS Design Framework sets the expectation that partners in an integrated care system (ICS) should agree how to listen consistently to, and collectively act on, the experience and aspirations of local people and communities. This guidance sets out 10 principles for how integrated care boards (ICBs) can develop their approaches to working with people and communities, and the expectations.

ICS implementation guidance on effective clinical and care professional leadership

This guidance supports the development of distributed clinical and care professional leadership across integrated care systems (ICSs). It describes ‘what good looks like’ in this regard, based on an extensive engagement exercise involving over 2,000 clinical and care professional leaders from across the country, led by a multi-professional steering group.

ICS implementation guidance on partnerships with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector

This guidance provides more detail on how to embed voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector partnerships in ICSs, for health and care leaders from all organisations in ICSs that are developing partnerships across local government, health, housing, social care and the VCSE sector. The ICS Design Framework sets the expectation that integrated care board (ICB) governance and decision-making arrangements support close working with the VCSE sector as a strategic partner in shaping, improving and delivering services, and developing and delivering plans to tackle the wider determinants of health.

Interim guidance on the functions and governance of the integrated care board

This interim guide covers the expected governance requirements for integrated care boards as outlined in the Health and Care Bill and the Integrated care systems design framework.

HR framework for developing integrated care boards

The HR framework provides national policy ambition and practical support for NHS organisations affected by the proposed legislative changes as they develop and transition towards the new statutory integrated care boards.

Building strong integrated care systems everywhere: guidance on the ICS people function

This guidance builds on the priorities set out in the People Plan. It is intended to help NHS system leaders and their partners support their ‘one workforce’ by delivering key outcome-based people functions from April 2022.

Working together at scale: Guidance on Provider Collaboratives

The ICS Design Framework set an expectation that provider collaboratives will be a key component in enabling ICSs to deliver their core purpose. This guidance outlines minimum expectations for how providers should work together in provider collaboratives, offering principles to support local decision-making and suggesting the function and form that systems and providers may wish to consider.

Integrated Care Systems: Design framework


Guidance on the employment commitment: Supporting the development and transition towards statutory Integrated Care Systems