Our Commitment to Independence

Three people sat around a table

Our Commitment to Independence

Beacon is the chosen supplier for the NHS England-funded Free Information & Advice service for Continuing Healthcare (CHC) through which we have the privilege of providing free advice and support to over a thousand individuals every month.

But we are also a staunchly independent organisation and social enterprise. We strive to improve CHC for everyone by training health and social care professionals; we are frequently called upon by government and public sector organisations to input into and influence national CHC guidelines and policy development; and we are confident in calling out and challenging examples of bad practice where we see it, something our team have been doing for over 20 years. We are a proud member of the Continuing Healthcare Alliance which works with local decision makers to recognise the importance of improving Continuing Healthcare, and campaigns to improve the system.

Our extensive experience and historic knowledge of CHC gained through the unique position we occupy is second to none.

We are proud of our affiliation with NHS England. But we are also committed to the independence of our organisation and that of the support and advocacy we provide. We fiercely uphold and protect this independence because it is the bedrock of what we do.

Read below to find out more about the ways in which Beacon remains committed to providing a high quality and independent service.

  • Beacon’s team has over 20 years’ experience in the field of CHC and our knowledge of process, caselaw and historic precedents is unparalleled. We have successfully and repeatedly used this historic knowledge to challenge nuanced systemic failings that our competitors have missed
  • When our team originally contracted with Oxfordshire’s pooled budget to deliver our service via Age UK Oxfordshire, we established relationships with NHS and Local Authority employees which enabled us to get results for individuals quicker than letter-writing, whilst also holding systems to account for failings
  • We demonstrated our independence in 2018 by giving balanced but honest evidence to the public accounts committee about the state of CHC
  • We currently receive funding from NHS England to deliver the national Information & Advice service for CHC, a contract we won repeatedly from 2014 to present day after successful bids in which we demonstrated we were the most qualified organisation to deliver the services required. NHS England are not a decision-maker in CHC – this responsibility rests with ICBs (previously CCGs). Beacon does not receive any funding from any CHC decision-making organisations in CHC to provide its advice, advocacy and casework services, and never has
  • Our contract with NHS England for the delivery of the Information & Advice service specifically states that the service we provide must be independent, and we are required to write and commit to a policy statement confirming how we will manage any perceived conflicts of interest at the time of bidding
  • We have been approached by NHS organisations on multiple past occasions requesting our support in delivering CHC services for them. We regard any involvement in decision-making in CHC or entering into any contractual arrangement with an ICB regarding CHC eligibility as a conflict of interest and we have rejected every one of those approaches, and will continue to do so according to our Conflict Management Policy
  • Our core casework and advocacy paid services are funded entirely by private clients, and receive no funding or subsidies whatsoever from any NHS or Local Authority body
  • Our paid services work is kept completely separate from the free Information & Advice service we provide. We have different and distinct teams working on each service, and individuals who come to us for free advice and support should not come into contact with our paid services team unless they specifically request to do so
  • We deliver independent and comprehensive professional training in CHC to Local Authorities, ICBs, charitable organisations and private sector companies. This has enabled us to robustly challenge bad practice and break down unhelpful trends, whilst reinforcing patient rights and sharing our expertise regarding how to apply the criteria correctly. Organisations have fed back that our training has been instrumental in holding statutory services to account for the correct and compliant application of key principles and criteria, ensuring that many individuals who would otherwise have been found ineligible are found eligible because the Framework is applied correctly. As a result, requests for our training have escalated dramatically in recent years
  • We are proud to nurture active working relationships with the statutory sector. This enables us to do two key things:
Influence significant and specific policy change in CHC

This has had a direct impact on improving the experience and rights of many thousands of people in the CHC process. This is largely thanks to Beacon’s heavy inclusion in the 2018 National Framework update which resulted in an improvement in local resolution procedures because we were one of the only organisations with a national perspective on what good and bad practice looked like.

During this review we were able to:

  • Advise the Department of Health and Social Care (DSHC) to include policy about the ‘double scoring’ myth that was so prevalent in assessments some years ago
  • Dramatically reduce the use of this bad practice for thousands of assessments
  • Influence the inclusion of policy surrounding the role of the ‘nurse assessor’ and decision-making panels to ensure the power imbalance in CHC was addressed at policy level
  • Persuade the DHSC to change their position on appeal timescales resulting in clarity around the six-month rights of individuals (this is an outcome that Beacon has secured for everybody who as appealed their case since 2018)
Achieve results

Our stats speak for themselves. We have been able to affect significant positive outcomes for clients who were not able to achieve such outcomes through other organisations because of the relationships we have cultivated with NHSE, DHSC and PHSO, as well as our deep historic knowledge of policy and caselaw. This includes being able to resolve serious issues that are having a profoundly negative impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable in society via our I&A service through informal approaches to the NHSE regions (completely free of charge to the individual)


We are proud that thousands of people we have helped through our free I&A service recognise the nuanced and independent advice we are able to provide due to the particularity of our position. We regularly receive positive feedback from individuals who have used this service, and we use this feedback to shape the development of the service.

Click here to read some of the feedback our Information & Advice service team has received from those we have supported.

Read more About Us.