Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-First Report


APPENDIX VIII

Memorandum by the Department of Health

NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE (PILOT SCHEMES: FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR PREPARATORY WORK) AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/3021)

The Committee has requested a memorandum on two points concerning the above Regulations.

The Committee's first point

New regulation 5(1) (inserted by regulation 2(4)) provides that, notwithstanding that the applicant has satisfied the authority as mentioned in regulation 4(3)(d), the authority upon making a payment of financial assistance must require all the costs in respect of which payment was made to have been incurred before the relevant date and for the purposes specified in the application for that payment. Ought not the reference to regulation "4(3)(d)" to have read "4(3)(c)"? Explain the need for regulation 5(1), given that regulation 4(3)(c) provides that payment of financial assistance cannot be made unless the applicant has satisfied the authority that (i) he has incurred costs which are not less than the amount of the payment of financial assistance, and (ii) those costs were incurred before the relevant date for the purposes specified in his application.

Similar question in relation to the need for new regulation 7(1), given regulation 6(3)(d).

Notwithstanding the requirements of regulations 4(3)(c) and 6(3)(d), it may come to light after a payment of financial assistance has been made that the costs in respect of which it was made were not in fact incurred before the relevant date, for the purposes specified in the application. This may be due to fraud, or to a mistake, which the authority could not reasonably be expected to have discovered on satisfying itself for the purposes of regulation 4(3)(c) or 6(3)(d). An authority might, for example, make a payment to a doctor on production of a bill for accountancy work, which appears to relate to preparation for the provision of piloted services. However, it may become apparent on subsequent audit of the doctor's accounts that the accountant's bill actually related in part to the doctor's general medical practice. Regulations 5 and 7 provide a mechanism for the authority to recover the amount of the payment in circumstances such as these.

The Department accepts that regulation 5(1) should have referred to regulation 4(3)(c), and undertakes to make the necessary amendment at the first opportunity.

The Committee's second point

Ought not the references to "paragraph (3)(c)" in paragraphs (5)(a) and (6)(b) of new regulation 4 to have read "paragraph (3)(b)"?

As the Committee says, the provisions in question should have referred to "paragraph (3)(b)". The Department undertakes to make the necessary amendments at the first opportunity.

26th January 1998  


 
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