How are local Healthwatch funded?

Across England, there are 151 local Healthwatch services. Their statutory role includes to finding out what communities want from health and social care and providing people with information and advice about local services. 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) fund our work. DHSC gives money to local councils so they can commission an effective local Healthwatch service. 

This money is essential to ensuring local Healthwatch have the resources they need to run a high-quality service for their community. 

To enable the Government to track what is happening to its investment, we ask local Healthwatch every year how much funding they expect to receive and publish this information.   

How Healthwatch funding has changed

The amount of funding Healthwatch has received.

In 2021/22 Healthwatch network received total funding of £25.4 million to deliver its statutory activities giving local communities a strong and influential voice in the running of health and care services.

The above graph shows how this funding has changed since the network was set up in 2013/14, when it received an initial allocation of £40.5 million.

We have seen the annual budget reductions get smaller over time:

  • 19/20 - 2.6% (actual)
  • 20/21 - 1.7% (actual)
  • 21/22 - -0.2% (projected)

However, these reductions must also be seen in the context of rising inflation rates. When inflation is factored in, the Healthwatch network’s financial resource has fallen by 48% since it was established.

Analysis by Healthwatch England suggests 75 local councils are now providing their local Healthwatch with funding below the level expected by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). We have escalated this to the DHSC and the potential risks to the longer term sustainability of the Healthwatch network. We will continue to have conversations with Government on this matter, and how the Healthwatch network can contribute to the current reform agenda in light of these resource constraints. 

Based on the Bank of England’s inflation calculator, the original Healthwatch allocation would be now worth in today’s spending terms £49,400,000. The effect of inflation on the network’s collective spending power was highlighted in the National Audit Office’s report on Healthwatch finances published in April 2020. 

How much funding has your Healthwatch received?

Notes

  • Barking and Dagenham - 19/20 figure updated from £113,591 reported previously.

  • Bath and North East Somerset - 19/20 figure updated from £80,000 reported previously. Final 20/21 figure pending confirmation of LRCV grant allocation.

  • Blackburn with Darwen - 19/20 figure updated from £148,000 reported previously

  • Buckinghamshire -19/20 figure updated from £170,000 reported previously.

  • Central West London -19/20 figure includes funding for three Healthwatch contracts. 20/21 figure includes funding for two Healthwatch contracts.

  • Cheshire East -Both years include funding for Independent Health Complaints Advocacy which cannot be split out from funding to deliver Healthwatch statutory activities.

  • Cheshire West and Chester - Both years include funding for Independent Health Complaints Advocacy which cannot be split out from funding to deliver Healthwatch statutory activities.

  • City of London -19/20 figure updated from £38,921 reported previously and covers funding from September 19 to March 20.

  • Cornwall - 19/20 figure updated from £304,000 reported previously.

  • Essex - 19/20 figure updated from £420,000 reported previously.

  • Hammersmith and Fulham - Separate contract from April 20 (previously reported under Healthwatch Central West London)

  • Islington -19/20 figure updated from £156,000 reported previously.

  • Kingston upon Hull -20/21 figure covers funding for Healthwatch statutory activities so cannot be compared with previous year which included funding for Independent Health Complaints Advocacy.

  • Manchester - 19/20 figure updated from £80,000 reported previously. 

  • Middlesbrough -19/20 figure updated from £82,700 reported previously.

  • North Somerset -19/20 figure updated from £86,713 reported previously.

  • Plymouth - 19/20 figure updated from £111,899 reported previously.

  • Redcar & Cleveland - 19/20 figure updated from £82,700 reported previously.

  • Rotherham - 20/21 figure covers funding for Healthwatch statutory activities so cannot be compared with previous year which included funding for Independent Health Complaints Advocacy.

  • Salford -19/20 figure updated from £166,000 reported previously.

  • Shropshire - 19/20 figure updated from £144,407 reported previously.

  • Slough -19/20 figure updated from £90,000 reported previously.

  • Southend -Both years include funding for Independent Health Complaints Advocacy which cannot be split out from funding to deliver Healthwatch statutory activities.

  • Stoke -19/20 figure updated from £183,508 reported previously.

  • Suffolk - 19/20 figure updated from £484,014 reported previously.

  • Surrey -19/20 figure updated from £504,120 reported previously.

  • Swindon -19/20 figure updated from £137,424 previously reported.

  • Waltham Forest -19/20 figure updated from £130,000 reported previously.

  • Warrington -19/20 figure updated from £140,00 reported previously

  • Wigan -Both years include funding for Independent Health Complaints Advocacy which cannot be split out from funding to deliver Healthwatch statutory activities.