It is normal practice, when a Government Department proposes to undertake a contingent liability in excess of £300,000 for which there is no specific statutory authority, for the Minister concerned to present a departmental minute to Parliament giving particulars of the liability created and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from incurring the liability until 14 parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the minute, except in cases of special urgency.
I have today laid a departmental minute proposing the provision by NHS England and NHS Improvement of an indemnity that is necessary in respect of an NHS England and Improvement non-statutory, independent review of whistleblowing at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
This review follows widely reported events arising from an anonymous letter that was sent in October 2018 to the relative of a patient who had died at the trust. The purpose of the review is:
to consider the appropriateness and impact of the actions taken in response to the issues raised by/connected with the October letter by the trust and other relevant bodies; and
to produce advisory recommendations and learnings.
The indemnity will cover any sums, including any legal or other associated costs, that members of the review team are liable to pay in relation to legal action brought against them by a third party in respect of liabilities arising from any act done, or omission made, honestly and in good faith, when carrying out activities for the purposes of the review. The indemnity will apply to any work carried out from the commencement of the review to its completion in 2021, in accordance with the review terms of reference. The indemnity will cover the contingent liability of any legal action in the run-up to and following the publication of the review report, and for two years after that date. If the liability is called, provision for any payment will be sought through the normal supply procedure.
The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of 14 parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this minute was laid before Parliament, a member signifies an objection by giving notice of a parliamentary question or by otherwise raising the matter in Parliament, final approval to proceed with incurring the liability will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.
A copy of the attachments can be viewed online at: Written statements - Written questions, answers and statements - UK Parliament