Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Sixth Report


Memorandum from the Department of Health


1. The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point:

Regulation 3(1) provides that a person is disqualified for appointment as the chairman or as a non-officer member if (a) he has within the preceding five years been convicted in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man of any offence and has had passed on him a sentence of imprisonment for a period of not less than three months without the option of a fine. Explain the reason for limiting the scope of this provision to a conviction in the British Islands: compare regulation 4(1)(a) or S.I. 2001/1744 which refers to a conviction in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.

2. The Department acknowledges that the disqualification provision in regulation 3(a) applies only to convictions in the British Isles. It also acknowledges that a similar provision in S.I. 2001/1744 refers to a conviction in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.

3. The National Patient Safety Agency Regulations follow a format which has been adopted over many years in Regulations governing special health authorities established under section 11 of the National Health Service Act 1977. The same formulation applies to membership of other NHS bodies such as Health Authorities (The Health Authorities (Membership and Procedure) Regulations 1990 (S.I. 2024) and Primary Care Trusts (the Primary Care Trusts Membership, Procedure and Administration Arrangements) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 89)).

4. It is believed that the reason for the formulation of this standard provision was determined by practical concerns as to the equivalence of offences and sentencing patterns outside the British Islands compared with those within the jurisdiction. Candidates for appointments who have been convicted of offences outside the British Isles but which would otherwise fall within the disqualification rule may of course be declined an appointment on the basis of lack of suitability.

5. The Department will consider whether the scope of the disqualification provision used in regulations governing special health authorities such as the National Patient Safety Agency is still appropriate.

25 July 2001

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