Completing and updating your company's Person with Significant Control Register

As of 26 July 2017, it has been a legal requirement that limited companies and limited liability partnerships maintain a Person with Significant Control Register ( PSC Register ) so why is it, after all this time, when I look up a company at Companies House...

Having a contract in writing: why you need one and why it's a good investment

Many business deals are concluded by “Gentleman’s Agreements”. These can work for people and businesses - until there is an issue or uncertainty. Unfortunately, deals and relationships in business can, and do, go wrong for many reasons....

Lasting powers of attorney

What can I do if I am not able to manage my affairs? You may be worried about what happens to your assets during your lifetime if you are unable to deal with them because of ill health, or perhaps you quite simply do not want to. Lasting powers of...

Moving into care and your property

Moving into care can sometimes mean selling your home. We can help you through every stage of the selling process. Once you have found a buyer, our team will provide advice and guidance to you, or your appointed representatives, regarding completion of the...

What happens if you don't have a power of attorney?

If you no longer have the capacity to make decisions for yourself and you do not have a power of attorney, then someone will have to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy. There are two types of application that can be made to the Court of...

What happens if you don't make a will?

The law does not require you to make a will but if you die without having made one, your estate, which includes all your property, money and other personal possessions, will be distributed in accordance with the law and your wishes will not be taken into...

Funding in the health and care sector - ten years on

Recent anniversaries of events such as the closure of the US bank Lehman Brothers and the near collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland ten years ago bring back unpleasant memories for some of us of the global financial crisis. In the aftermath, businesses of all...

Should your GP surgery lease contain a break clause?

When negotiating a new lease, there are lots of terms to consider. Whilst GP surgery leases are fairly similar to standard commercial leases, there are specific points that should be considered when negotiating the terms of the practice lease. Consideration...

Is a worker entitled to be paid for all hours whilst "on call"?

A recent decision of the European Court has brought this issue back into the news. In the case the Court heal that stand-by time spent at home but within 8 minutes travel of a workplace was 'working time'.   The question of whether a worker...

GDPR - special category (sensitive) data

As 25 May 2018 fast approaches, and the EU General Data Projection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, the GDPR has expanded data protection and refers to special category data, which the regulation says is sensitive personal data that needs more protection....

LPAs are important for care homes too

Running a care home can be stressful - managing budgets, keeping residents and their families happy and ensuring consistent ongoing care. This burden increases when a resident has an accident, becomes unwell or loses mental capacity. If that happens, who...

More protection for residents and their families

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced, as part of its market study into care homes, that it is opening a case to investigate consumer protection in the care home market.  Tracey Dickens asks what this may mean for owners and...

Paying beyond retirement

Many doctors and healthcare professionals lease their surgeries.  Few realise that their retirement does not automatically release them from their obligations. Doctors or healthcare professionals that lease their surgeries need to consider assigning...

Your business - where will it be in 20 years' time?

Few people face as much pressure and time constraints as those in the health and social care professions.  In an attempt to ‘fire-fight’ it can be tempting to overlook the necessity of planning for the future.  As Liz Jones explains, it...

Law Update - Rent review provisions in NHS funded leases

NHS practitioners should bear in mind that when they lease a GP surgery any rent review has to be subject to the approval of the District Valuer.  There is little point, therefore, in seeking approval of the terms of your lease with the NHS unless it...

GP Partnerships - the gold standard

A House of Lords committee has caused quite a stir in claiming that the GP Partnership Model is ‘unfit for purpose’, recommending instead that a review should “assess the merits of engaging more GPs through direct employment” to...

The Apprenticeship Levy

The Apprenticeship Levy came into force on 6 April 2017.  It will facilitate the funding of new apprenticeships across the UK and aid the Government in meeting its 2020 target of three million new apprenticeships. This will have an impact on the...

Leasehold Arrangements

NHS Property Services Limited (“NHSPS”), has been seeking to regularise its property portfolio and in particular negotiate to improve conditions for GPs who occupy NHSPS-owned properties. Alongside the British Medical Association, a template...

Data protection shocks health sector

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined Regal Chambers Surgery in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, £40,000 when information about a patient, a child of 5, was released to the estranged father, despite specific notes not to do so. The...

Attention NHSPS leaseholders

NHS Property Services Limited (NHSPS) has been seeking to regularise its property portfolio, and in particular negotiate to improve conditions for GPs who occupy NHSPS-owned properties. Alongside the British Medical Association, a template lease has been...

NHS funding: who pays for what?

We are often asked about the confusing area of top up fees. If someone is eligible for continuing health care, fees are funded entirely by the NHS. But where do those financial obligations start and end? In essence, it is not possible to top up NHS...

Ten new security standards you need to know

New data security standards were approved on 6 July 2016 by the Health Secretary.  The regulator, CQC, has noted that GP practices should prepare for stricter inspections. Areas that have increased scrutiny will include control of information, with...

Essex law firm behind major care homes deal

Essex law firm Birkett Long has been praised by client Runwood Homes after its specialist healthcare team advised on a deal that saw the Benfleet-based organisation buy three care homes in Northern Ireland, making national news there. Runwood Homes...

Mental capacity - what does the law say?

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out five statutory principles which underpin its legal requirements.   The principles are designed to help people take appropriate action in individual cases and help people find solutions in difficult or uncertain...

Consent and capacity

Consent must normally be given for any type of medical treatment or examination.  But what happens when the person receiving that treatment does not have the capacity to consent to it? The test for capacity takes a "function specific"...

Surveillance in care homes - expert guidance

The Care Quality Commission guidance “Using Surveillance” was updated in June 2015 and includes a reminder that the legal framework requires that the use of surveillance in care services must be lawful, fair and proportionate.  Concerns over...

Corporate manslaughter - conviction in care

July 2007 saw the enforcement of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 and the consequences of breaches fell under the spotlight when former care home director, Mr Yousaf Khan, was sentenced to three years and two months’...

Care home purchase

Birkett Long acted for long-term clients Healthcare Homes Group Limited, in relation to recent acquisitions assisting with the purchase of the business and assets of Malthouse Care Home and separately the business and assets of Park House Care Home. Birkett...

Long-term care warning for Essex residents

A legal expert from Essex law firm Birkett Long is warning that people across the county are under threat if they fail to plan for their potential long-term care in old age. Solicitor and partner Caroline Dowding has spoken out after a recent ‘wake...

Partnership retirement and restructuring

Birkett Long acted for the Partners of a GP Practice and their Bank (in connection with the financial arrangements) in relation to the retirement of a Partner. The work involved restructuring the GPs loans to newly appointed and continuing Partners who run...

Avoid making a meal out of allergen information

October 2011 saw new EC regulations that increased the amount of allergen information on both non-prepacked and prepacked food. Those regulations (the EU Food Information for Consumers) came into force on 13 December 2014, giving those in the food...

Building and refurbishment projects - new regulations introduce significant changes

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 came into effect on 6 April 2015 making sweeping changes to previous CDM regulations.  The former exclusions for small projects no longer apply, which means that care homes and professional...

Workers' travel time - updates under the working and NMW regulations

Many employers in the health and social care sector employ workers and carers who do not have a fixed or regular place of work, but who travel each day from home to a place of assignment, such as at a client’s own home. A recent Spanish case...

Winter is coming - be prepared!

Every year, the onset of cold weather brings a raft of problems for property owners and occupiers.  This risk guidance offers you practical advice from Brents Insurance for some of the problems they most commonly encounter. Burst pipes The cost and...

Capital introduction

Birkett Long assisted a new partner joining a veterinary partnership with the arrangement for their introduction of capital to buy out an outgoing partner and acquire a share in the practice. Tracey Dickens, a Partner specialising in professional...

Healthcare share sales

Birkett Long acted for the Seller in the sale of a large nursing care home. This transaction involved detailed due diligence and the consideration and negotiation of detailed warranties. The business operated to very high standards, resulting in the Seller...

Employee dismissal and the question of disability

Heritage Homecare Limited (“HHL”) has successfully appealed a finding of ‘direct disability and discrimination arising from disability’ due to the failure of the employment tribunal to properly explain its decision.  The case...

CCTV in care homes - Implications for insurers

The mistreatment of elderly and vulnerable people in care homes is an issue that sadly continues to rear its ugly head.  A Panorama programme aired in April 2014 showed undercover filming of a number of distressing incidents arising in care homes. ...

Regulations could affect landlords and tenants of commercial property

Last year the Government consulted on its proposals to enforce a minimum energy requirement for commercial and residential lettings and in April 2015 issued a response to that consultation as well as draft regulations on the topic.  Although these...

Professional discipline mitigating the impact

Professionals such as doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists or social workers are regulated by official regulatory bodies whose duty it is to investigate alleged breaches of regulations or legislation. Such regulatory intervention will almost...

Local authority underpayment of care homes

The local authority’s contribution towards care fees is calculated on a ‘usual cost’ model, based on the amount the authority assesses to be the normal cost of care services for care home residents. Statutory guidance on calculating the...

Employees and workers and paid holiday

At the end of the year, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decided that employees and workers are entitled to be paid holiday pay which includes non-guaranteed overtime.   This is on the basis that such pay (like certain bonuses and commission from...

Workers are entitled to be paid holiday pay

Early in November the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decided that employees and workers are entitled to be paid holiday pay which includes non-guaranteed overtime.   This is on the basis that such pay (like certain bonuses and commission from cases...

Premises: perils and opportunities

Whatever your health-related or social care business or undertaking, your premises may give you the opportunity of revenue from sharing or subletting space to other occupiers.  This can provide useful and in some cases vital income streams. ...

Actions speak louder than words

In the nine month period to 30 September 2014 we completed on the sale of nine care homes in the East Anglia area.  Our statistics clearly show that the market has improved, illustrated by the number of viewings, offers and deals that have been agreed...

Be careful who you sleep in with!

Risks for the care sector With the National Minimum Wage (NMW) planned to be one of the Labour Party’s central policy items in the run up to the general election next year, involving significant increases in amounts paid, the subject remains a very...

The Social Care Commitment

In September 2013 The Social Care Commitment was launched by the Department of Health.  One year on, has it actually made a difference? What is The Social Care Commitment? The Social Care Commitment (TSCC) is a voluntary agreement between adult...

CQC ratings - what does it mean for your care home?

We speak to many care home owners that are eagerly awaiting the new CQC rating system, albeit with nervous anticipation of how the inspection will go and, of course, what rating their home will receive. When the star rating system was introduced some...

Birkett Long LLP acted for the sellers on the sale of their shares in Gemini Care Limited

Birkett Long LLP acted for the Sellers on the sale of their shares in Gemini Care Limited to a new corporate owner. After being involved in the care home business for a long time and creating two respected care homes, Winchley Home and The Lodge, which have...

Corporate accountability for health and social care providers

In the Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb’s report, published in March 2014, recording the response to the consultation on strengthening corporate accountability in health and social care, the Minister confirmed the intention to introduce new...

On the side of the employer? New legislation and the care sector

Changes to employment legislation over the last couple of years have certainly favoured employers, including in particular the requirement (in most cases) of two years’ service to bring a claim of unfair dismissal, the introduction of fees for...

Out with the old

The Care Act has received Royal Assent and with its introduction come big changes for care providers. The Care Act 2014 (the Act) is split into three parts, each dealing with a different aspect of care, carers and the law.  The first part deals with...

The headache of a hold over lease

It is in the best interests of both landlord and tenant to ensure that a new lease is in place to take effect from the date of termination of the old lease.  This will avoid problems which can arise where the tenant remains in occupation after that date...

Zero hours contracts and the care sector

In our previous winter issue we considered the thorny issue of employee status for carers “employed” on a zero hours contract.  Since then, this topic has grabbed the legal and political headlines with both the Government and the...

The importance of checking contractual terms

A recent case highlighted the importance of checking contractual terms of supply when entering into a contract and of maintaining a careful review over the contract’s lifetime. In this instance, the parties had entered into a long term contract for...

Care home fees and your home

In May 2013 the Care Bill was introduced in the House of Lords.  One of its main reforms is the potential for people to defer payment of care fees. Deferred payment has been available in some local authorities since 2001 but the proposal is that...

Breaking up is hard to do, well it should be unless your contract is rubbish!

Business lawyers are often consulted by clients who have entered into a contract with a customer or supplier, when that customer or supplier is seeking to pull out of the contract.  Our clients want to know whether the other party can simply walk away...

Care fee funding - the proposed changes

Recently the Government published proposals on changes to social care funding.  This was, in part, a response to the Dilnot Commission report published in July 2012. It is impossible at this stage to assess the full impact of the changes as the...

Beware the use of zero hours contracts!

These contracts are designed to avoid an employment relationship from arising by stating words to the effect that there is no obligation on the employer to provide work, and the individual is free to accept any work offered, or not, and is also able to...

Care provider profiles launched by the NHS

New online information on local care providers is now available to the public on the NHS Choices website with the aim of helping people to choose and compare good quality care.  The profile should include information on every registered care and support...

Break clauses in healthcare leases - avoid the traps

Many present day healthcare leases contain a “break clause” which gives the tenant the right to terminate the lease before the end of its term. Landlords will often include conditions attaching to the break clause such as: The rent has been...

Controversial regulations redrafted

Controversial regulations based on section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013, came into force on 1 April 2013. The regulations impose requirements on...

Care home fee rates...the saga continues

Our winter newsletter reported on a variety of court cases and judicial reviews brought against local authorities by care home providers, challenging the way care home fees had been set by the authorities.  For the most part the care home groups were...

How do things stack up?

New from Birkett Long is a range of fixed priced bespoke services for care homes.  Select from specialist services and benefit from first class legal skills at your fingertips - at extremely cost effective rates. Employment This is such a...

Reclaiming care home fees

When an elderly relative needs care, difficult choices can result in an emotional time for everyone concerned.  The elderly person may be facing a loss of independence for the first time, while the rest of the family must select the right care home and...

Health and Social Care Update

With the coalition Government’s employment law reform programme continuing at a pace, and with ongoing consultation likely throughout 2013 in relation to a variety of different proposals, now might be an appropriate time as we start a new year to...

Providers challenge fee payments

The middle of October 2012 saw the conclusion of the judicial review hearing relating to Devon Council, which was challenged by a group of care home providers over the way it set care home fees for 2012-13.  The council froze its care home fees in...

GP Partnership Agreements - is yours up to date?

When did you review your practice’s partnership agreement last? Things are always changing and particular changes, like a partner leaving or joining the practice, can be a good reason to get your agreement reviewed and updated.  Even if there...

GP revalidation - five key things to do now

Revalidation is likely to be introduced across the UK in December 2012, starting with responsible officers in the first few months, although the majority of licensed doctors will be revalidated for the first time by the end of March 2016. The RCGP Guide to...

Social care reforms

Following the Dilnot Report last summer, ministers are still refusing to fully commit to the recommendations put forward for reforms to the social care and support system in England. Andrew Dilnot, an economist, was asked by the Government to recommend a...

Claim what is rightfully yours

A deadline is fast approaching for members of the public to reclaim any private care fees that should have been covered by the NHS, Essex law firm Birkett Long has advised. Solicitor Caroline Dowding explained that, over the years, people requiring...

Duty of Care should be extended to staff as well as service users

It is well established and accepted law that hospitals and care homes owe a strict duty of care to those patients and residents for whom they are responsible.  However, what is less obvious, perhaps, is the duty of care owed to members of staff,...

Health and Social Care Act 2012

On 27 March 2012, the Health and Social Care Bill 2010-12 received Royal Assent to become the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (“Act”). Key reforms under the Act include the introduction of clinical commissioning groups with responsibility for...

Care sector appoints red tape champion

The Care Providers’ Alliance, a coalition of a range of the care sector’s representative bodies, has appointed Dame Denise Platt as its Red Tape Champion. Dame Denise, who has unrivalled experience of the care sector and is respected by both the...

Why are lasting powers of attorney so important for care home residents?

Running a care home can be stressful - managing budgets and administration, keeping residents and their families happy and ensuring consistent ongoing care and support.  This burden increases when a resident has an accident, becomes unwell or loses...