Written Ministerial Statements
Tuesday 8 January 2013
Business, Innovation and Skills
Competition and Markets Authority
I am pleased to announce Alex Chisholm as the new chief executive-designate of the Competition and Markets Authority. This follows the appointment of Lord Currie as chair-designate on 3 September 2012.
Alex Chisholm will commence his appointment on 25 March 2013. His appointment will be subject to parliamentary processes including the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which establishes the Competition and Markets Authority, receiving Royal Assent and will be for a five-year term.
The appointment has been made in accordance with the Civil Service Commissioner’s recruitment principles.
Alex Chisholm is currently commissioner and chairperson of the Commission for Communications Regulation, Ireland. He has been communications commissioner since October 2007, and chairperson of the commission since February 2010. Since April 2011, Alex has also served as chair of the economic regulators network in Ireland.
The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) is the national regulatory agency responsible for regulation of the communications sector in Ireland.
Prior to joining ComReg, Alex held a number of executive positions in the media, IT and communications industries. He began his career at the Department for Trade and Industry and spent four years at the Office of Fair Trading, specialising in competition and the communications and financial services sectors.
A copy of Alex Chisholm’s biography will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
South London Healthcare Trust
I wish to inform the House that the trust special administrator appointed to South London Healthcare NHS Trust provided me with his final report on 7 January 2013. It makes recommendations to me in relation to securing a sustainable future for services provided by that organisation.
Details about the appointment of the administrator, Matthew Kershaw, were given in a written ministerial statement issued on 12 July 2012, Official Report, columns 47- 48WS.
The report was provided to me in accordance with chapter 5A of the National Health Service Act 2006, as introduced by the Health Act 2009, and has today been laid before Parliament and made publicly available at:
Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.
I would like to thank Matthew Kershaw for the work he has carried out in producing his report. This is the first time the trust special administrator’s regime has been used since the last Government introduced the provisions which were enacted in the Health Act 2009. In accordance with the legislation, in addition to producing his recommendations on the future of the trust, Mr Kershaw has also been responsible for managing South London Healthcare NHS Trust and maintaining services for patients while the board is suspended pending the outcome of the regime. I do not underestimate the demands this has placed on him.
In triggering this regime, the Government’s priority was to ensure that patients continue to receive high-quality, sustainable NHS services. At the time Mr Kershaw was appointed last July, South London Healthcare NHS Trust was overspending by £1 million a week. In the last financial year, the trust had a deficit at over £65 million, the largest in the country. Left to itself, the trust’s very severe financial position would have continued in a downward spiral of continuing deficits and ultimately threaten the quality of care for patients across south-east London.
The challenges facing South London Healthcare NHS Trust are complex and long standing. To date, it has not proved possible to ensure that South London Healthcare NHS Trust is able to secure a sustainable future for its services within its existing configuration and organisational form. The Government’s priority is to ensure the delivery of a long-term, viable solution for services provided by the trust if it cannot be made sustainable. All responses to my predecessor’s statutory consultation on whether to trigger the regime, including from South London Healthcare NHS Trust itself, stated that a solution for the trust cannot be viewed in isolation from broader service provision within south-east London.
In accordance with my statutory duty, I will consider the trust special administrator’s recommendations carefully and make a final decision by 1 February that can secure sustainable services for the people of south-east London. In considering the recommendations, I will examine particularly:
whether the recommendations are likely to provide a sustainable long-term financial position which will secure high-quality services in the local area for the future; and
whether the recommendations have regard to the Government’s four key tests for local service reconfiguration. These are support from GP commissioners, strengthened public and patient engagement, clarity on the clinical evidence base and support for patient choice.
Ultimately, my priority is to ensure that all NHS hospitals live within their budgets and achieve the best quality care, best patient outcomes and best patient experience for all their NHS patients.
I will inform the House of my decision as soon as reasonably possible afterwards.
On 21 December 2012, I announced that Baroness Helen Newlove has been appointed as the new Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses—the Victims Commissioner.
The role of the Victims Commissioner, as set out in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, is to promote the interests of victims and witnesses, encourage good practice in their treatment and keep under review the operation of the statutory victims code.
We are committed to strengthening the voice of victims who too often feel like they are treated as an afterthought in the criminal justice system. The appointment of Baroness Newlove as the new Victims Commissioner will ensure that as our strategy to improve services and support for victims and witnesses is implemented, the views of victims are represented.
Youth Justice Board Triennial Review
In March 2011 the Government responded to the Public Administration Select Committee report “Smaller Government: Shrinking the Quango state” setting out the coalition’s plans for reforming the public bodies sector. It includes the requirement to undertake triennial reviews of Executive and advisory non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs).
The Youth Justice Board is an Executive non-departmental public body of the Ministry of Justice established in 2000 by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Its principal aims are: monitoring the operation of the youth justice system in England and Wales; advising the Secretary of State for Justice on the operation of the youth justice system, national standards, and on how to prevent offending by children and young people; making grants to youth offending teams and other organisations to support development and delivery of good practice; placing young people in custody; and providing secure accommodation for both remanded and sentenced children and young persons.
To deliver the coalition Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability the Youth Justice Board will be subject to a triennial review. As part of the triennial review process, the Ministry of Justice, as the sponsoring Department, has today launched a consultation which will last until 15 February 2013 inviting views. The review will be conducted fully in line with Cabinet Office guidance: “Guidance on Reviews of Non Departmental Public Bodies” and will consider the following:
the continuing need for the Youth Justice Board to carry out each of its functions in their current form; and
where it is agreed that the individual functions should remain, to review the control and governance arrangements in place to ensure that the public body is complying with recognised principles of good corporate governance.
In conducting the triennial review, officials will be engaging with a range of stakeholders of the Youth Justice Board. In addition, the triennial review will take into account evidence collated during previous reviews where still relevant.
In 2011, the Government decided not to pursue abolition of the Youth Justice Board as part of the Public Bodies Act 2011, re-stating their commitment to maintaining a distinct focus on the needs of children and young people in the youth justice system. It is against this backdrop that this triennial review is taking place.
The final report and findings will be laid in this House.