Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP has advised Community Dental Services on its move to become an employee owned social enterprise. Over one hundred dental staff will transfer from Bedfordshire Community Health Services to Community Dental Services CIC, a community interest company.
The project is another successful restructuring under the Department of Health's 'Right to Request' programme. So far a small number of community services have been spun out of the NHS but this number is expected to grow significantly as a result of the Government's emphasis on growing social enterprise and the co-ownership of public services.
Community Dental Services CIC (CDS) serves the Bedfordshire region, providing a variety of dental services to people who need them most, including oral health promotion and dental services to children who are vulnerable or have behaviour management problems, adults with special needs including mental health conditions and those who are homeless.
The transfer means that CDS staff will be able to take charge of the service and shape how it is delivered. The community interest company will reinvest any financial surpluses it makes for the benefit of patients, staff, the local community and service development.
Fieldfisher advised Community Dental Services CIC on the employee-owned business structure, the constitution of the new business, the transfer of staff and assets, the dental service contract and on property law issues.
The firm is a leader in the field of employee ownership and has advised on a range of NHS employee owned spin-outs. These include the first two projects of this kind, at Central Surrey Health Limited and, from, Hull NHS to City Health Care Partnership CIC.
Fieldfisher Corporate partner Neil Palmer led on the project, assisted by Employment partner, James Warren and Real Estate partner Ramatu Banga. Graeme Nuttall, Employee Ownership partner advised on the employee ownership structure of the new business.
Neil Palmer said:
"This deal allows the transfer of public service delivery to a not-for-profit company in which all employees are shareholders. It is good news for patients. Experienced dental staff are able to better control and shape the service they deliver to provide real value to the community. Given the Coalition Government's commitment to the co-ownership of public sector services and the announcement of the "right to provide" for public sector staff, we expect to see an increasing number of social enterprise spin-outs across the NHS and other public services."
Patrick Burns Executive Director of the Employee Ownership Association said:
"The successful mutualisation of Community Dental Services is another important step in the growing movement for employee owned mutuals. These offer the public sector tremendous opportunities to modernise, motivate staff and improve services relied on by millions of citizens. I hope that examples such as this will inspire others to consider employee mutual status. "
Bedfordshire NHS Primary Care Trust was advised by Mills & Reeve. WS Law advised on certain property related aspects of the deal.
For further press information, please contact:
Louise Eckersley, PR Manager, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP on +44 (0)20 7861 4120
Fieldfisher contributed to a practical "How to guide" for public sector organisations looking to become employee-led mutuals, the publication of which was welcomed by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and the chair of the Prime Minister's Mutuals Taskforce Professor Julian Le Grand.
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