Clause 1 - Removal of Secretary of State’s powers to appoint trustees

NHS (Charitable Trusts Etc) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 2 December 2015.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

With this it will be convenient to consider the following:

Clause 2 stand part.

That schedule 1 be the First schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Conservative, Aldridge-Brownhills

It is a privilege to serve under your chairmanship and have the benefit of your experience and guidance, Sir David. It is interesting to note that you successfully steered your own private Member’s Bill through the House and, like me, you were drawn fifth in the private Members’ ballot, which I hope is a good omen for Peter Pan and me.

My private Member’s Bill makes provision in relation to two main subjects. First, the Bill makes provision to remove the power of the Secretary of State for Health to appoint trustees to NHS bodies in England, and it makes amendments to primary legislation consequential on the removal of that power. That will fulfil a commitment made by the Government in 2014, following a consultation on the regulation of NHS charities begun in 2012. The Bill will give greater freedom to such charities for fundraising; it will reduce the burden of dual governance in the form of the Department of Health and the Charity Commission; and it will provide greater liability protection for trustees than enjoyed at present.

Secondly, the Bill makes provision to amend section 301 of and schedule 6 to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to transfer to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity—Great Ormond Street hospital’s new independent charity—the royalty rights to J. M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan” play. Currently, the rights are conferred on special trustees appointed by the Secretary of State under NHS legislation.

I am happy to talk the Committee through the grouped clauses for the benefit of Members if that would be beneficial.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir David, particularly in such happy circumstances. The Government welcome the Bill as a whole, and I will perhaps say something about that in my conclusion.

The Government support the provisions in clauses 1 and 2 and schedule 1 relating to the removal of the Secretary of State’s powers under the National Health Service Act 2006 to appoint special trustees in England and to appoint trustees to certain NHS bodies in England that can hold charitable property. The removal of those powers to appoint trustees, and the supplementary and consequential provisions made in these clauses and schedule 1, will deliver on a key Government commitment made in response to the review of the regulation and governance of NHS charities in 2014. Those powers are no longer considered necessary, as the Government committed to allowing NHS charities to become independent if they so choose. Those NHS charities that do not wish to become independent will remain governed by NHS legislation, with the NHS body holding the charitable body as a corporate trustee—meaning that the board of the NHS body acts as trustee of the property.

My hon. Friend has set out the effect of these provisions and the rationale behind them, and I do not propose to detain the Committee by repeating that detail. The Government support clauses 1 and 2, and schedule 1, standing part of the Bill.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

I listened carefully to what the hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills said and, while the Committee would love to hear her voice again, given that there has already been a Second Reading of the Bill, there seems to be a will in the Committee that our proceedings be dealt with swiftly.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 2 to 6 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 1 and 2 agreed to.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

On a point of order, Sir David. May I beg the indulgence of the Committee for one moment to pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills for this Bill, which will forever after be known as the “Peter Pan and Wendy Bill”?

As you quite rightly said, Sir David, because we spent some time debating the Bill on Second Reading, there was no reason to do so in Committee. However, I want to put it on record that the Bill will ensure that the rights, royalties and other remuneration in respect of “Peter Pan”, the play by J.M. Barrie, are to be conferred on the new, independent Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Indeed, dealing with the legislative changes that have been made was one of the points of the Bill. The contribution that J.M. Barrie’s play has made to Great Ormond Street hospital over the years is, of course, well known. It has been of immense benefit and provides the hospital with an opportunity for its stories to go beyond even the extraordinary work that it does for children, to be associated forever with Peter Pan.

Making this change in legislation, as proposed by my hon. Friend, was an important thing to do. It had to be done well, properly and quickly, and it has been. It is a wonderful coincidence that her name happens to be as it is, and that we have this opportunity to pass the “Peter Pan and Wendy Bill”. I am not quite sure what role I play: that morning I was both Tinker Bell and Captain Hook—later in the morning and for other reasons—so I have learned that lesson.

The provisions of the Bill also deliver on a Government commitment made in December 2014 to Baroness Blackstone in the other place, who wished to table an amendment to the Deregulation Bill, as it was, to deliver the same result. We pay due tribute to her for all her work.

All those connected with Great Ormond Street hospital should know that the whole House supports what it does. This is a nice thing that we are able to do today, but the contribution of “Peter Pan” has been immense. Nevertheless, we are all pleased to have played a small part in the history of both the hospital and the royalties of the play, and to have set my hon. Friend on course, within her first few months of being in Parliament, to pilot her own private Member’s Bill through the House.  I am grateful to the whole Committee for its attendance today, to my hon. Friend, to you, Sir David, and to all our officials.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Conservative, Aldridge-Brownhills

On a point of order, Sir David. The Minister has put things very succinctly. I would like to thank you, Sir David, for your excellent chairmanship, the Clerks of the Committee and my colleagues from all sides of the House. Today is a busy day in the House, so I really appreciate their giving up their time. I know that they have done so knowing how important the Bill is and what a big difference it will make, especially to Great Ormond Street hospital. Thank you all very much.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

I know I speak for the Committee in congratulating the hon. Member on her achievement—I had to wait 18 years for that opportunity. Her place in history is assured, because the Bill will be stored in the Victoria Tower forever more.

Bill to be reported, without amendment.

Committee rose.