NHS Successfully Defends UNISON JR Challenge

19 Mar 2012 | by Caroline Sweeney

Michael Bowsher QC, Kassie Smith and Valentina Sloane represented the interveners NHS Shared Business Services Ltd (NHS SBS) and the Secretary of State for Health in the successful defence of a  judicial review challenge brought by the trade union, UNISON.  UNISON claimed that the proposed outsourcing of administrative functions of 10 primary care trusts to a private contractor, NHS SBS in a cost saving exercise failed to comply with EU public procurement rules.  UNISON challenged the Trust’s argument that they would be able to call off the proposed contracts as the subject-matter and terms differed to those set in the framework agreement.

Mr. Justice Eady held that a breach of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 could affect the members of a union so that remedies could be sought through public law.  However, he refused permission to UNISON on the basis that it lacked standing and was out of time.  He considered but declined to apply the Court of Appeal’s obiter judgment on standing in the Chandler case.

Michael Bowsher QC and Valentina Sloane represented the interveners NHS Shared Business Services Ltd.

Kassie Smith represented, as the second intervener, the Secretary of State for Health.

Click to read the judgment in Unison v NHS