Health visitors shouldn't notice a negative change to the services they deliver, despite responsibility for the commissioning moving in October 2015, the DH said.
The government has mandated the universal elements of the health visiting programme, to ensure services are maintained during the transition of commissioning from NHS England to local authorities.
The mandate legally binds local authority commissioners to ensure services for five universal elements of the Healthy Child Programme do not suffer. These are: the antenatal health promoting review; the new baby review; the six to eight week assessment; the one year assessment; and the 2 to 2.5 year review.
There has been concern among health visitors that services might suffer as the change is implemented.
A spokesperson for the Local Government Association said: 'It is vital that mums and dads get the best support possible from the earliest stage in their child's development… Local authorities are looking forward to working closely with health visitors to provide the best possible services for families, integrating with wider health, social care and education services.'
The change will mean that local authorities are solely responsible for commissioning services for children from birth to 19 years of age. Local authorities already commission services for the 5 to 19 years age group.
Guidance is available and can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/transfer-of-0-5-childrens-public-health-commissioning-to-local-authorities