Converting NHS charities to independent status

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Updated guidance has recently been published for NHS charities considering converting to become independent of the Department of Health.

Following the publication of guidance in November 2014 (see our earlier article), updated guidance has now been released by the Association of NHS Charities at the request of the Department of Health. At the time of our previous article, it was thought that NHS charities might play a more significant role in the provision of health services; we now know that several of the main political parties will look to integrate the voluntary sector into the NHS should they win the General Election in May (see more here).

The guidance is an updated version of the November 2014 document, which has been amended to "take account of existing projects". It explains how an NHS charity can become independent of the Department of Health and of the National Health Service Act 2006, and gives guidance for trustees on the process of conversion. It explores variations that are dependent upon the structure of the NHS charity and necessary engagement with the Department of Health and the Charity Commission, whilst also outlining the advantages and disadvantages of conversion. The guidance includes flowcharts explaining the process of conversion, but continues to carry the recommendation that NHS charities seek professional legal advice should they wish to convert.

Blake Morgan offers a leading team of charity lawyers and significant experience advising a range of NHS trusts. We are able to advise on NHS charities considering such a conversion and offer all such organisations a strategic review and options appraisal.

You can read the full updated guidance here.