• Virgin Care and Surrey CCGs settle after High Court case
  • One CCG identifies “liability” of over £300,000
  • CCGs awarded children’s services contract to local trust and social enterprise alliance

A legal dispute between Virgin Care and six Surrey clinical commissioning groups has been resolved – with an apparent payment by the NHS to the company.

The litigation – over a £82m procurement of children’s services across Surrey – was launched after the three year contract was awarded to Surrey Healthy Children and Families Services – an alliance between Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust and two local social enterprises.

Virgin Care Services started High Court proceedings against NHS England, Surrey County Council and the CCGs in November last year. It said there were “serious flaws in the procurement process” which had left it “so concerned” that it had launched the proceedings.

However, governing body papers for NHS Surrey Downs – one of the six CCGs involved - have revealed that its “liability” in the case is £328,000. The sum was published this month in a finance paper covering October on the CCG’s website. The paper was uploaded earlier this week but subsequently removed after HSJ started to enquire about the settlement. A CCG spokesperson said the reference had been removed because “the level of detail…should not have been included in the report.”

It is not clear whether Surrey County Council and NHS England have also contributed to any settlement, or if the amount stated also covered legal costs.

In a joint statement, Virgin Care and Guildford and Waverley CCG – the lead commissioner – said: “The parties are pleased to confirm that an agreed resolution on the litigation concerning the Surrey children’s procurement has been reached to a satisfactory conclusion for all parties with detailed terms confidential to the parties.”

When Virgin launched the legal challenge, the CCG said it had confidence in the commissioning process involved and intended to defend the claim. NHS Guildford and Waverley’s latest governing body papers suggest that it had sought specialist legal support and that NHS England had been kept informed of the situation and was involved.

The new providers took over the contract in April 2017. Virgin Care had previously held the contract for the western part of the county with the two social enterprises providing services in the Surrey Downs and East Surrey areas.