Governance, accountability & transparency in outsourced Children's Services

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT) should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT),

The Guardian reports that Children's Services are out for tender to be outsourced/privatised:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/m...

Currently, the public can ask any "public body" Freedom of Information (FOI) questions. They can also attend meetings, ask questions, read public meetings papers, approach elected Councillors and other appointees to Trust boards. The meetings are held mostly in public and papers and minutes are publicly published.

In contrast, a private contractor or private limited company is NOT a "public body" and is NOT open to FOI questions. Board meetings are NOT held in public, the public CANNOT attend and meeting papers and minutes are NOT publicly & openly published.

Have NHS Devon (Devon PCT) undertaken any research or reviewed public accountability, governance and transparency issues that arise when non-public bodies win a contract to provide publicly funded children's services? If so, please provide relevant documents.

Does the children's services tender contain any details or requirements for equivalent public accountability, governance and transparency to that currently provided & available through the public bodies currently delivering services? If so, please provide details.

Will the winning organisation for the children's services tender be required to be a "public body", so that it falls within the FOI Act for openness and transparency?

Will the winning organisation for the children's services tender be required to hold meetings mostly in public (with only genuinely commercially confidential matters being reserved for a closed meeting)? Will papers and minutes be published publicly (with only genuinely commercially confidential matters being redacted)?

If the governance allows for elected Councillors or other Trust appointees to be Directors on the board of the organisation that wins the tender, then will they be able to report openly & publicly on matters of public service and interest? How would any conflict with Companies Act Director requirements for a private limited company be dealt with?

Yours faithfully,

Dave Orr

Devon PCT Foi (DEVON PCT), Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT)

1 Attachment

Dear Dave

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request. Please find attached an acknowledgement letter from NHS Devon.

Kind regards

The Freedom of Information team
NHS Devon

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Devon PCT Foi (DEVON PCT), Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT)

Dear Dave,
Please be advised. NHS Devon is still in the process of gathering/collating the requested information to answer each of the following Freedom of Information requests;
FOIDV1731
FOIDV1732
FOIDV1733
FOIDV1734
Therefore, it is unlikely the information will be released within the 20 day deadline (13 April 2012).
It is expected the requested information be released week commencing 16 April 2012.

Apologies for this delay and any inconvenience caused.

Kind regards

The Freedom of Information team
NHS Devon

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Dear Devon PCT Foi (DEVON PCT),

This response appears to be late and falling outside the FOIA guidelines.

Yours sincerely,

Dave Orr

Devon PCT Foi (DEVON PCT), Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT)

2 Attachments

Dear Dave
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request. Please find attached a response letter from NHS Devon.

Kind regards

The Freedom of Information team
NHS Devon

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Dear Devon PCT Foi (DEVON PCT),

The main MOI document makes no mention whatsever of the NHS Standard Contract upon which most of the reassurance in your answers relies.

Why isn't there a statement within the MOI declaring that the NHS Standard Contract will be applied?

Yours sincerely,

Dave Orr

Devon PCT Foi (DEVON PCT), Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT)

Dear Dave,
Thank you for your email.
I can confirm that we are currently identifying if we hold this information and if so, we will reply to you within 20 working days of the date your request was received.

Kind regards

The Freedom of Information team
NHS Devon
________________________________________
From: Dave Orr [[FOI #109949 email]]
Sent: 21 May 2012 09:34
To: Devon PCT Foi (DEVON PCT)
Subject: Re: Response FOIDV1731

Dear Devon PCT Foi (DEVON PCT),

The main MOI document makes no mention whatsever of the NHS
Standard Contract upon which most of the reassurance in your
answers relies.

Why isn't there a statement within the MOI declaring that the NHS
Standard Contract will be applied?

Yours sincerely,

Dave Orr

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