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As with poor communication, confusion over roles may also occur if there is confusion about the decision making process and issues around budget responsibilities. For example, we found instances where the strategic commissioner making the decision to decommission was not the person holding the budget for the service. Similarly, this can lead to costs being ‘shunted’between departments and agencies.

The role of senior executive boards in health and members in local authorities is important to clarify decommissioning intentions and involve stakeholders.