The NHS Commissioning Board has set out plans to complete its employment of 4,000 staff by January 2013.

The vast majority will be transferred from primary care trusts, strategic health authorities and arms’ length bodies.

A further 7,000 NHS staff are expected to be employed by 23 commissioning support services, which are due to be authorised by the end of the year.

And it has been suggested a similar number will transfer to local authorities to undertake public health tasks. That leaves 20,000 staff in "sending organisations" likely to be left without a job.

A paper to last week’s (July 19) NHS Commissioning Board Authority meeting says the transfer of staff is a “significant challenge” and that approximately 38,000 staff are directly affected by the transition.

The paper says staff will join the NHS Commissioning Board, which is to have 27 local area teams, in one of four ways.

The first two methods are described as ‘lift and shift’ transfer, where the job function is not being reduced, and ‘competitive slot-in’, where the number of posts in a function is being reduced.

A third method will involve ring-fenced competition for new posts, where posts will initially be available to individuals in a narrow ring-fence related to grade and geography, and the fourth method will be by open competition for those posts that remain unfilled after ring-fenced competition.

The paper adds: “This overall approach to filling posts is designed to minimise the number of redundancies required in sending organisations, which is a stated aim of the system-wide change.”

The paper says the aim is for all staff in sending organisations to have clarity about their future by the end of December 2012 and be able to see all potential opportunities in receiving organisations at the same time.

Surveys conducted by EHI Primary Care when the ‘Liberating the NHS’ reforms were first announced suggested there was considerable uneasiness about job losses as the NHS moved to the new commissioning set-up.

The NHS CB paper suggests this was fully justified.

In a separate paper to the board, Dame Barbara Hakin, national director of commissioning development, set out the final plans for authorisation of clinical commissioning groups.

All 212 emerging CCGs must meet 119 authorisation criteria and where criteria are unmet one of seven types of support will be supplied.

These will include making advice and expertise available, providing a specific team or individual, appointing an alternative accountable officer and removing functions.

The paper sets out the board’s plans for site visits to CCGs, the make up of authorisation panels and a moderation process for the outcomes of authorisation decisions.

The aim is for site visits to the first wave of CCGs to take place in September followed by decisions on authorisation in October and authorisation of the final wave of CCGs in January next year.

Hakin said: “The overall aim of the authorisation process is to ensure that as many CCGs as possible are authorised and given the support they need to set themselves set up by April 2013.”

She said the authorisation process had been developed by working with CCGs, national primary care organisations and other stakeholders and had been designed to be fair, transparent, rigorous and efficient.

She added: “It must be robust enough to ensure CCGs meet the legal requirements for the establishment of new statutory organisations and are safe to proceed. But at the same time it must also balance rigour with a developmental approach.”