Is the decision to close 2 Walk In Centres at Moreton and New Ferry last week unlawful?

Is the decision to close 2 Walk In Centres at Moreton and New Ferry last week unlawful?

Is the decision to close 2 Walk In Centres at Moreton and New Ferry last week unlawful?

                                    

Joint Strategic Commissioning Board (Wirral Council) 9th July 2019 Left Co-Chair Cllr Chris Jones Right Co-Chair Dr Paula Cowan
Joint Strategic Commissioning Board (Wirral Council) 9th July 2019 Left Co-Chair Cllr Chris Jones Right Co-Chair Dr Paula Cowan

The author is currently a party to an Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) case where one of the multiple grounds of appeal is that the decision subject to judicial review is alleged to have been made by the wrong people.

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Joint Strategic Commissioning Board (Wirral Council) 9th July 2019 Part 1 of 2

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Joint Strategic Commissioning Board (Wirral Council) 9th July 2019 Part 2 of 2

Last week I was present at a public meeting of Wirral Council’s Joint Strategic Commissioning Board (videos above) and a decision made solely by the Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (Wirral CCG) individuals on the Joint Board was made to close two walk in centres at Moreton and New Ferry.

This is the long list of reasons why I consider the decision to be unlawful (which are grounds for judicial review). However knowing Wirral Council as I do there is very little point in raising this internally!

Ground 1 – Decision made by wrong people

The Joint Strategic Commissioning Board is constituted by Wirral Council as a Cabinet Committee.

At the Wirral Council Cabinet Committee meeting held on the 24th June 2019 Cllrs Chris Jones, Julie McManus and Tom Usher were appointed to it with Cllr Anita Leech as a deputy.

However the Cabinet only has the legal power to appoint to a Cabinet sub-committee, not a joint committee, in the latter case the power to appoint does not rest with Wirral Council’s Cabinet but with all 66 Wirral Council councillors, to do otherwise is a breach of the Local Government Act 1972, section 102(1)(b).

Although the Wirral CCG can suggest names for the Wirral CCG part of the JSCB, as a Cabinet Committee of Wirral Council all 66 Wirral Council councillors would have to agree to the individual nominations of the Wirral CCG Members and this hasn’t actually happened.

Ground 2 – Decision made by disqualified people

Section 104 of the Local Government Act 1972 disqualifies certain individuals from being on joint committees such as Wirral Council employees (with the exception of teachers or school employees) and those in politically restricted posts.

This is because of the conflict of interest that would arise.

Graham Hodkinson (Wirral Council’s Director of Adult Social Services) and Julie Webster (Director for Health and Wellbeing) are both Wirral Council employees that are in politically restricted posts. Both are considered as being part of the Joint Strategic Commissioning Board as they are both on the Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body, yet both are not only disqualified from being on this joint committee, but even if appointed to it ex-officio by