PROTOCOL FOR SHARING INFORMATION BETWEEN LOCAL AUTHORITIES ABOUT SERVICE PROVIDERS OF LEARNING DISABILITY SERVICES 1. Aim The protocol aims to provide Local Authorities with up-to-date information about service providers where there are events or concerns that may be relevant to their contractual relationship. Such information sharing is considered good practice, as it will help Councils monitor the cost and quality of providers and protect the welfare of service users. The protocol aims to offer a straightforward and consistent approach to information sharing. The approach is intended to be open and understandable. Service providers will be aware of the protocol and informed of any notifications about them under the protocol. Each recipient authority is responsible for deciding what action it takes as a result of information received under the protocol. 2. Membership Membership consists of Learning Disabilities Commissioners in Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton, Lambeth and Wandsworth. 3. Anticipated Benefits. Councils will have improved information, which will inform their contracting with specific providers. Providers will benefit by having the reassurance of effective cross authority collaboration and information sharing. Unsatisfactory providers are less likely to remain operating. Service users will benefit because Local Authorities will receive information that will help to prevent contracts being made or continued with unsuitable providers. 4. Setting up the protocol. Prospective member authorities will be referred to The Project Manager in Merton, the Lead Authority for membership into the scheme. Acceptance would require written confirmation from the Lead Authority and the identification of a nominated officer and a designated deputy to undertake the tasks required by the protocol. Merton will undertake the co-ordination role required by the protocol, due to it managing the grant provided by the London Centre of Excellence (LCE) and employing the project manager. Prospective member authorities should inform Service Providers of their intention to sign up to the protocol. This may be part of ongoing liaison, or require separate communication. It may be necessary to amend contracts, with other service providers’ consent, adding a clause that explicitly confirms the Authority’s commitment to the protocol. 5. The Protocol These points are the operating guidelines of the protocol. a) Certain information will be required to be shared under the protocol. There is no discretion for member authorities – if certain events occur and circumstances apply they must be communicated under the protocol. This is essential if effectiveness and consistency are to be achieved b) Each member Authority will identify a nominated officer to be responsible for sending and receiving any notification required under the protocol. Any change of nominated officer will be communicated to the protocol co-ordinator, who will in turn notify all members. c) A copy of the notification will be sent to the Service Provider involved. If, in very exceptional circumstances, it is not possible or appropriate, the fact that the service provider has not been informed should be recorded on the notification form. Examples may include: When a business has closed and the owner has disappeared; Where the authority has initiated closure and to confirm this in another form would aggravate the situation further. d) Any Service Provider that is unhappy about any action taken under this protocol has two sources of direct redress without resorting to legal action. The first is the procedure for dispute in the contract. The second is the Local Authority’s Complaints procedure if they wish to challenge any decision or action taken under this protocol. e) Each member is independently responsible for what, if any, actions or decisions it makes as a result of the information received. f) No member Authority can pass on to another authority or organisation, or third party other than those legally entitled to such information, any information obtained as a result of the protocol. If a receiving authority has concerns that another Authority should receive information, they must refer the matter back to the original notifying Authority. g) It is the responsibility of all member Authorities to ensure that any information issued or received under this protocol that is held on computer is registered under, and conforms with, the requirements of the Data Protection Act. 6. Operating the protocol Co-ordination It is necessary to have one member Authority identified as the Lead Authority to co-ordinate the operation of the protocol. This will involve: a) updating mailing lists when nominated officers or members change; b) dealing with proposed changes to the protocol; c) collating monitoring statistics as part of the monitoring and evaluation of the protocol. Changes to protocol. Any member can propose a change to the protocol by putting this in writing to the co-ordinator. This would then be circulated to all other members, requesting a written response indicating acceptance or rejection of the proposal. Any change agreed by all members will be implemented. Any change that is not agreed, or significantly alters the nature of the protocol, will be referred to the Lead Authority for their decision or endorsement. The decision of the Lead Authority, Merton, will take precedence. Monitoring and Evaluation Initially it is suggested that the Groups review the protocol at the end of the initial funding period (September 2007). The following information will be kept by the nominated officers and collated by the co-ordinator in order to inform the review: a) number and category of all notifications sent out; b) outcome of each notification received. This would include the type of action taken. The proposed categories are: No existing contractual relationship – FILED Existing contractual relationship – NOTED, NO ACTION Existing contractual relationship –NOTED, ACTION but NO CHANGE IN CONTRACT Existing contractual relationship – NOTED, CHANGE IN CONTRACT (this may include amending contract price or conditions) APPENDIX 1 PROTOCOL FOR SHARING INFORMATION Under this protocol members agree to share the following information about providers of Learning Disability services: 1. Costs 2. Contractual agreements of service provision 3. Change of ownership (including merger). 4. Closure of a business. 5. Voluntary withdrawal by Provider from contract. 6. Successful prosecution under any Health and Safety Legislation, including Environmental Health and Food Hygiene (post hearing). 7. Adverse findings in any formal investigation by the Commission for Racial Equality or any finding of unlawful racial discrimination by any court or industrial tribunal. 8. Proceedings for bankruptcy or similar proceedings currently pending. 9. Outstanding obligations in relation to payment of social security contributions or taxes. 10. Outstanding claims or litigation against the Provider. 11. Successful prosecution of Directors, Trustees, Committee Members or management under the Children’s Act 1989, Disqualification from Caring for Children (England) Regulations 2002, Protection of Children Act 1999, Schedule 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 12. Successful prosecution of Directors, Trustees, Committee Members or management under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Care Standards Act 2000, or Education Acts of 1944,1981 and 1993. 13. Successful prosecution in relation to any offences under the Food Safety Act (1990) or Food Hygiene (General Regulations 1970) 14. An incident resulting in a referral of an individual for inclusion on the POVA list. (effective from June 2004) 15. Temporary suspension of contractual arrangements 16. Permanent end of contractual arrangements 17. Relevant monitoring information For clarification and additional information on all notification, members should contact the person identified on the form from the issuing authority.
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