Proposed amendment to Bristol CCG constitution

February 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Amendment to Bristol CCG consitutionBristol’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has proposed to amend a national rule, which prevents companies that legally avoid paying tax, bidding to run NHS services.

In a recent statement, the local commissioning group says that it has been informed by lawyers that the current wording in the constitutional document is ambiguous and potentially unlawful, as it discriminates against companies who legally pay little or no tax.

By amending the rule, the group says that it could avoid legal challenges which cause delays to commissioning plans and unnecessary costs to the CCG and the NHS.

The letter stated: “Our constitution is based on the national model and includes a provision that explains the circumstances under which we would exclude bidders from any procurement process.

“This wording was highlighted during a recent procurement and we took legal advice about our position.

“We were advised that the wording in the provision can be interpreted in different ways and could result in challenges to our decisions.

“There is a legal obligation placed on organisations to treat all bidders equally and in a non-discriminatory way in their contracting processes.

“If bidders comply with tax law and are not in breach of any obligations to pay taxes or social security contributions then we should not exclude them from procurement processes as this would be discriminatory.”

Concerns have been raised by local activists who say that while tax avoidance is legal, the CCG also needs to take “ethical and moral issues into consideration”.

The CCG says that it will not be entering into contracts with organisations which act unlawfully in paying their taxes.

Members of the public are being encouraged to have their say over the amendment. To share your views, please contact us at . The deadline to submit comments is 22nd February, so they can be collated and emailed to the CCG governing body in good time. A decision to amend the constitutional documents will be made by the group’s GP membership in March.

February 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm | News | No comment

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