Consultation and report
209.New section 65F requires that, within 45 working days of appointment, the TSA must produce for the Secretary of State and publish a draft report, outlining the action which he or she recommends that the Secretary of State should take in relation to the trust. The Secretary of State must lay this report before Parliament. The TSA must set out, in a published statement, how he or she plans to consult on the draft report (new section 65G(1)). The consultation period will last for 30 working days (new section 65G(2)).210
New section 65H specifies the duties which apply during the consultation period. In particular, it specifies that the TSA must publish a notice stating that the TSA is seeking responses to the draft report and describing how people can give their responses (subsection (2)). Subsections (4) and (5) provide that the TSA must hold meetings with the public and the staff of the trust and staff representatives. Staff for these purposes includes staff employed by contractors and volunteers working for the trust (subsection (11)). Section 65H also requires the TSA to seek written responses from and meet with any Strategic Health Authority in whose area the trust has hospitals, establishments or facilities, and any person to which the trust provides goods and services which the Secretary of State directs the TSA to consult, (in practice likely to be persons who commission goods and services from the trust) (subsections (7)(a) and (b) and (9)). The TSA is also required to request a written response from such of the persons named in subsection (8) as the Secretary of State directs. In addition, the Secretary of State may, through directions, impose additional requirements to hold meetings or seek written responses; this may include, for example the local university medical school, if the organisation has a training role (subsection (10)).”
211.New section 65I provides that within 15 working days of the consultation closing, the TSA must provide the Secretary of State with a report containing final recommendations for the trust. The TSA must attach to the report a summary of all oral and written responses to the consultation received during the consultation process. The Secretary of State must publish this report and lay it before Parliament (subsection (3)).
212.New section 65J enables the Secretary of State to make an order extending any of the time periods for preparing the draft report, conducting the consultation or providing the final report. The power will be exercisable only where it would not be reasonable to expect the administrator to complete the relevant activity in the specified period and it is envisaged that the power will only be used in exceptional circumstances; for example, where the TSA was seriously ill or if the organisation had to deal with a significant unplanned event, for example a SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak. Where the time is extended, the TSA must publish a notice stating the date when the revised period expires (subsections (3) and (4)).