Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Thirtieth Report


Memorandum by the Department of Health


1.  By a letter from its Clerk dated 1st April 1998 the Committee has requested the Department to submit a Memorandum on the following point -

    Article 1(2) fixes for the trust an "establishment date" of 1st April 1998, and article 5(1) an "operational date" which is the same. Having regard to the provisions of articles 6 and 7, which cannot have any application unless the operational date follows the establishment date, should not article 5(1) have provided for the operational date to fall on a date later than 1st April 1998?

Establishment and Operational Date

2.  The Committee is correct in saying that the establishment date of the trust in this case should have been earlier than the operational date, given the provisions of articles 6 and 7. The proofs of this Order were returned to the Department's Parliamentary Branch on 23rd February 1998, and blanks were left for the coming into force date and the establishment date (the same date) to be filled in. The operational date was set as 1st April 1998, in common with all newly established NHS trusts this year. Unfortunately, it was not communicated to Parliamentary Branch that the coming into force and establishment dates should be earlier than the operational date (i.e. some time in February) and 1st April was filled in as the establishment date.

3.  The Department accepts that this rendered the provisions of articles 6 and 7 redundant, but considers that this has not had any practical effect, as the provisions would simply have failed to be invoked. Nonetheless, the Department regrets what has happened, and undertakes to ensure that this point is communicated to its Parliamentary Branch in future.

6th April 1998

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