Regarding HMRC’S View That NHS Direct Engagement Schemes are VATable

Stephen Mhiribidi made this Freedom of Information request to Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,

The following is a Freedom of Information Act Request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

1. Have you used a Direct Engagement firm?
2. If so please list all you have used with dates.
3. For the purposes of IR35 assessments, do you claim to supervise direct and control (SDC) your temporary workforce (temporary staffing/finance will know) – and have policy relating to this?
4. If you have outsourced this IR35 assessment function, did you claim to supervise, direct and control your temporary workforce prior to doing so?
5. What are the job titles of the designated points of contact in your organisation with any direct engagement firms you may use, or have used?
6. Having reviewed the attached communication from one of the direct engagement firms (prior to answering the questions), the public interest articles linked and parliamentary select committee evidence at the end of this FOI - could you please confirm:

From: Plus Us [mailto:[email address]]
Sent: 05 February 2019 17:21
Subject: Important update regarding VAT and Direct Engagement of Locums

Dear

We are writing to inform you that on 31st January 2019, we were notified by HMRC that it has changed its view regarding the VAT treatment of the services provided by Plus Us Medical Care Services Ltd (PUMCSL).
HMRC’s most recent view is that the direct engagement services provided by PUMCSL should now be standard rated for VAT purposes. Since the very beginning, we have engaged and continue to engage with HMRC to ensure that our services operate in full compliance with prevailing tax laws. As a result, we are disappointed that HMRC has taken this decision, we disagree with it and we will be challenging it. However, as a compliant business, we must operate according to this updated HMRC position.
As such, VAT will be charged on the services that PUMCSL deliver to you. This will come into effect from 11 February 2019 when VAT will be applied on all invoices issued. Our services and pricing continue as usual and you still have access to our wide range of workforce management technologies and products.
Our Account Management Team are contacting the relevant people within your organisation to talk this through from an operational point of view. In the meantime, if you have any specific queries regarding HMRC’s latest position, please contact us via [email address] and we will ensure the best people support you.
Yours sincerely,

+Us Finance Team

a. Have board-members, and/or, if different, the points of contact within your trust for your Direct Engagement firm received this email?
b. If so please disclose a copy (please search only as far back as 30th January 2019 –likely received on 5th February 2019).
c. Please disclose all correspondence with any direct engagement firms since 30th January 2019 to these points of contact and the board until the date of response to this FOI.
d. Please disclose all minutes discussing Direct Engagement/VAT on locums since 30th January 2019 until the date of response to this FOI (by the board, finance team, temporary staffing, or other committee likely to discuss this matter).
e. Please disclose a copy of the letter sent by IHPA to your CEO at the beginning of May 2018 regarding Direct Engagement schemes. (link to notice of permission from the IHPA/commercial interest waiver - https://ihpa.org.uk/uncategorized/ihpa-a...
f. Please disclose any due diligence pursuant to the Criminal Finance Act 2017, you may have conducted as a result of the letter from IHPA, and the subsequent email reproduced above from a direct engagement provider if you received it.
g. For the avoidance of doubt, all communications/discussion with alternative direct engagement providers are to be considered within the scope of this request.
h. Please disclose all email or written discussion of this matter with any frameworks you may use, and identify the framework in question.

PUBLIC INTEREST REPRESENTATIONS:
Please consider these newspaper stories and the linked Parliamentary Select Committee Evidence as public interest representations with respect to qualified exemptions. We would remind you that full reasoning with respect to these exemptions must be disclosed if citing qualified exemptions.

We look forward to your response within the statutory timeframe of 20 days. Should you require clarification please contact us within 48 hours of receipt requesting this. All non-exempt information should be released on a point by point basis. It is not anticipated that this will engage the time limit but if it does then we require that you contact us early with guidance on how to refine the request to enable you to comply, and we expect all sections that would not engage the time limit to be complied with. If exemptions based on commercial sensitivity are cited we expect them to be fully justified with a full public interest reasoning – covering the newspaper articles linked below under public interest representations. If section 41 is cited for any part of the request please disclose the signed and dated non-disclosure agreement which forms the basis of this claim, and consider that the public interest is also relevant in such proceedings.

Thank you for your valued contribution to open governance and for taking the time to process this request.

Links to a few of the many public articles:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nhs-h...

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article...

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidenc...

https://www.cheshire-live.co.uk/news/che...

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Mhiribidi

FreedomOfInformation (ROYAL SURREY COUNTY HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Request under Freedom of Information Act 2000

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We confirm receipt of your request.

The unique reference number assigned to your request is included in the subject line of this email and should be quoted in all future correspondence.

We will process your request and confirm back with our information within 20 working days.

Kind regards

Freedom of Information
Email: [Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust request email]
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Egerton Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XX

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FreedomOfInformation (ROYAL SURREY COUNTY HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST), Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Requester

Thank you once again for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Unfortunately, we require some clarification before we can respond to your request. We apologise that we were unable to seek this clarification earlier.

Can you please clarify what you meant by:
- "For the purposes of IR35 assessments" - are you referring to who carries out the tax status for contracts / agency workers?
- "Temporary workers" - does this refer to locums, agency, bank, fixed term?

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information
Email: [Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust request email]

Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Egerton Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XX

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Stephen Mhiribidi

Dear FreedomOfInformation (ROYAL SURREY COUNTY HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST),

Can you please clarify what you meant by:
- "For the purposes of IR35 assessments" - are you referring to who carries out the tax status for contracts / agency workers?

ANSWER- does the hospital (Royal Surrey) treat all healthcare contractors as falling under supervision, direction and control of the hospital? And yes, who carries out the assessment, if any is done?

- "Temporary workers" - does this refer to locums, agency, bank, fixed term?

ANSWER- all healthcare contractors i.e. not under a contract of employment with the hospital.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Mhiribidi