How Bevan Brittan can help

On 12 July 2010 the Government issued its White Paper "Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS" which states that all NHS trusts will become or become part of a Foundation Trust within the next 3 years.

NHS Trusts now have no choice but to consider where their future lies because the NHS Trust model will be abolished. Failure to meet this deadline, or achieve a credible plan for transition, may result in the Secretary of State for Health placing the NHS Trust under a special administration regime.

What does the White Paper mean for NHS Trusts?

ALL NHS Trusts should now embark upon their journey to achieve Foundation Trust status.

This process is separated into three distinct phases:

  1. Strategic Health Authority-led Development Phase
  2. SoS Support Phase
  3. Monitor Assessment Phase

Each stage consists of numerous activities to be undertaken and standards to achieve. Below are examples of the tasks that you will need to carry out:

  • Develop a strategic integrated business plan
  • Draft a raft of governance documents including, amongst others, a constitution, standing orders, standing financial instructions, and a scheme of delegation along with codes of conduct for governors and directors
  • Prepare and undertake an effective and compliant public consultation
  • Review, amend and implement Foundation Trust Board reporting requirements
  • Establish legally binding contracts – review current service level agreements and partnership arrangements
  • Submit SHA and Monitor applications
  • Hold public elections and appoint governors
  • Promote and establish a strong membership base
  • Develop a comprehensive long-term financial model
  • Select and appoint  funders and negotiate key financial documents
  • Secure a beneficial working capital facility
  • Obtain adequate insurance cover
  • Undertake Board to Board meetings and reviews with the SHA and Monitor.

All NHS Trusts now have a plethora of activities to undertake in a relatively short timescale; this is going to be a demanding transitional period.

Timescales

The typical journey to achieve Foundation Trust status takes a minimum of 12 months. Given the deadline of 2013 in the White Paper, NHS Trusts are strongly encouraged to begin their FT journey at the earliest opportunity.

How can Bevan Brittan help?

Our strategic understanding of the complexities of the health economy and policy is unrivalled. We can offer the benefits of a seamless legal and consultancy service tailored to meet your needs. We have advised around 40 applicant NHS Trusts on their transition to achieving Foundation Trust status, and can assist from the early preparation stages through to producing all of the constitutional, governance and other legal and financial documentation required by Monitor. 

The key services that we can offer include:

  • Advice and support on the public consultation, election and membership processes
  • Preparation of the governance and constitutional documentation
  • Bespoke training for compliance and NHS Trust Board development
  • Support and assistance in identifying and appointing funders, along with negotiating banking documents and tried and tested pro-forma legal opinions
  • Risk management, audit and consultancy for patient safety, health and safety, clinical governance and financial, corporate or statutory governance arrangements;
    Mock Board to Board sessions
  • Contract reviews to ensure your contracts provide sufficient legal protection post authorisation as a Foundation Trust
  • Ad hoc real-time advice and support on numerous legal and commercial issues as they arise.

Next Steps

If you would like to discuss how we can help you meet your obligations under the White Paper, or to discuss Foundation Trust applications generally, please contact Vincent Buscemi. We would be happy to meet with you to undertake initial project orientation and to discuss the timeframes and deadlines involved.