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CCG proposes constitution change amid legal concerns


22 January 2016

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Bristol clinical commissioning group (CCG) have proposed a change in their constitution, fearing that it currently leaves them open to a legal challenge.

The commissioners are proposing to change the wording to make it clearer that they will not enter into contracts with organisations that act unlawfully in regard to tax payments, or don’t make their lawful social security contribution.

Bristol clinical commissioning group (CCG) have proposed a change in their constitution, fearing that it currently leaves them open to a legal challenge.

The commissioners are proposing to change the wording to make it clearer that they will not enter into contracts with organisations that act unlawfully in regard to tax payments, or don’t make their lawful social security contribution.

“Our solicitors have advised us that the wording in this one area of our constitution is ambiguous and could leave us open to a legal challenge if enacted,” a spokesperson from the group explained.

The CCG’s constitution was approved in 2012 when the group was operating in shadow form, and is based on the national model.

However, amendments were made to provide an explanation for circumstances when the CCG would be able to exclude a bidder from a procurement process.

“This amendment was made following feedback from the public and was supported by the GP membership, which voted to approve the constitution,” the spokesperson explained.

“Subsequently, and following legal advice, we now propose to make a minor change to the wording in this area of the constitution to clarify our position, comply with legal guidance and offer clearer direction on what organisations we will and won’t work with and what practices we deem acceptable by bidding organisations.”

CCGs can submit applications to NHS England, and they will be reviewed as and when they come in. The application should already have been discussed and agreed with CCG member practices and stakeholders should have already been consulted at the point of submission of the application.

According to NHS England guidance, the application should consist of:

· The reason why a variation is being sought. 

· The proposed varied constitution with the amended clauses clearly signposted.

· Assurance that member practices have agreed to the proposed change(s).

· Assurance that stakeholders have been consulted if required.

· A self-certification by the chair or accountable officer, on behalf of the CCG, that the revised constitution continues to meet the requirements of the Act.

· Assurance that the CCG has considered the need for legal advice on the implications of the proposed changes, including whether advice has been sought.

· A completed impact assessment of the changes.

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