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From 1 July 2022 the Somerset ICS has legal status and includes a statutory Integrated Care Partnership (ICP), and a new NHS body called the Integrated Care Board (ICB). The Health and Care Act 2022 will establish 42 ICSs across England.

An Integrated Care System (ICS) brings together the NHS organisations, councils, and wider partners in a defined geographical area to deliver more joined up approaches to improving health and care outcomes. 

ICSs remove barriers between organisations to deliver better, more joined up care for local communities. ICS partners share a common vision to improve health and care, backed by robust operational and financial plans, collective leadership and accountability.

Our health is affected by many things – for example lifestyle choices, housing, educational opportunities, unemployment, and poverty. ICSs have the potential to drive improvements in population health and tackle health inequalities by reaching beyond the NHS to work alongside local authorities and other partners to address these wider social and economic determinants of health. 

Integrated care is about giving people the support they need, joined up across local councils, the NHS, and other partners including social care providers, voluntary and community enterprise sector and charities.

ICS partners have developed better and more convenient services, invested more to keep people healthy and out of hospital and set shared priorities for the future. The importance of integrated working was visible in the strong response to the pandemic and accelerated these changes.


Collaborating as ICSs will help health and care organisations tackle complex challenges.

How are ICSs made up?

ICSs are made up of all the partners in the health and care system, working together.

Integrated Care Partnership: a statutory committee jointly formed between the NHS Integrated Care Board and all upper-tier local authorities that fall within the ICS area.  The ICP will bring together a broad alliance of partners concerned with improving the care, health and wellbeing of the population, with membership determined locally. The ICP is responsible for producing an integrated care strategy on how to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the population in the ICS area.

Integrated Care Board: a statutory NHS organisation responsible for developing a plan for meeting the health needs of the population, managing the NHS budget and arranging for the provision of health services in the ICS area – featuring representatives from local councils, the NHS and voluntary and community organisations.

Local authorities in the ICS area, which are responsible for social care and public health functions as well as other vital services for local people and businesses.

Somerset Integrated Care System (ICS)

Health and care services in Somerset have been working together closely over the past few years to improve services and provide more joined up care for the people of Somerset. In December 2020, we were formally designated as an Integrated Care System (ICS).

In Somerset, we have already achieved a lot by working in partnership; this has been strengthened through our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes have been made possible by different organisations – NHS hospitals, GPs, councils, care homes, commissioners, voluntary and community organisations and others – joining forces to agree and plan for local people’s needs.

We’ve already made significant progress in Somerset over the last few years to improve care and provide more joined up services, this means that some of the work we need to do to develop as an ICS is already in place. 

Find out more about ICSs

The King’s Fund – How does the NHS in England work and how is it changing

NHS England – What are integrated care systems?

NHSEI – Integrating Care: next steps to building strong and effective Integrated care system

NHS Confederation – Integrated care Systems FAQ

Integrated Care Systems – easy read briefing