Following the recent publicity surrounding the use of confidentiality clauses in the NHS and Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry by Robert Francis QC, the NHS Employers organisation has in April 2013 published new guidance on:
The Guidance on compromise agreements and confidentiality clauses includes sections on:
The suggested whistleblowing clause may also be of use for those employers who are outside of the NHS but employ staff in nursing or caring roles.
For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this Agreement shall prejudice any rights that the Employee has or may have under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 and/or any obligations that the Employee has or may have to raise concerns about patient safety and care with regulatory or other appropriate statutory bodies pursuant to his or her professional and ethical obligations including those obligations set out in guidance issued by regulatory or other appropriate statutory bodies from time to time.
The Guidance on severance payments includes sections on:
This guidance states that written advice should be taken by NHS employers for all severance payments from the relevant trust’s auditors and legal advisors.
Both of these sets of short Guidance will be essential reading for all those who represent any NHS employer or employee in an employment case. As the media coverage following the Robert Francis QC Inquiry has shown, the stakes are high if stricter gagging clauses are included than those permitted under this Guidance.