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Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has won a new appointment to advise the Department of Health's Private Finance Unit (PFU) on a major change to employment arrangements under health PFIs.
Partner Rob Eldridge and solicitor Clare McConnell are working on contractual drafting which takes into account the new Retention of Employment Model (ROE) which will replace the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Tupe) system for individuals providing catering, domestic, cleaning, laundry and security services. Under Tupe, these individuals transfer to the private sector, but under the new model they will remain NHS staff and will be seconded to the private sector. McConnell described the new model as "the biggest change in PFI health policy in recent years". McConnell has been on secondment to the PFU and was involved in the high-level negotiations surrounding ROE. BLP is one of four firms advising NHS Trusts on a group of pilot schemes using the new employment model. PFU consultant Moreton Hall said that a number of firms were considered for the role of adviser on the contractual changes necessary to reflect the new employment model. The PFU is understood to be a new client to BLP. It has its own in-house lawyers and does not normally instruct external advisers. McConnell said: "Because this is such a major change, we've been instructed to make the changes to reflect the ROE model. We've been instructed because of our expertise and familiarity with what is going on in health."