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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12179
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I would like information about Friendly Societies.We have

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I would like information about Friendly Societies.
We have a friendly society set up for the advancement of knowledge of gastroenterology, many of whose members are clinicians. One of these has been asked to set up a gastroenterology service to an NHS trust. Is it possible to do this through the society?
Thank you for your question.
Can you let me see the rules of the Friendly Society please?
And let me have more details of the service sought by the NHS, will it be paid for and why it is thought desirable to do this through the Society as opposed to as a separate venture.
So could you explain your situation a little more?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The service already exists and was set up some 25 years ago and provides a clinical gastroenterology (GI) diagnostic service to the hospital.

This service is provided by clinicians who are employed by the university which is attached with the particular NHS Trust.It is usual that such clinicians work part time in the Trust as well, although they don't usually provide a bespoke service.

When the service was set up arrangements there was a verbal agreement that the Trust would pay a sum of £20k/year regardless of how many patients that came to the unit. Space is provide in the hospital, which is considered college embedded space.

The service has grown significantly and many attempts have been made to negotiate an increase as it no way covers the costs, however, due to the lack of money and poor management these have always come to nothing. Fortunately, due to the units reputation, may other Trusts refer patients to the unit and pay for their tests, which has subsidized the unit and our Trust patients for many years.

The conversation is being had once again and as part of this the Trust require a formal service agreement. What isn't clear is who this should be between.

Can the head of the GI unit sign personally? Possibly not because as a member of University staff we are not usually authorised to signed contracts and this has to be done by approval through a designed institute signatory, even though the contract is nothing to do with the university. The other complication is that the funds from the

Trusts come into a University account through which the GI unit it run, again a historic arrangement as the easiest at the time. The problem being that, like most university, they are looking to make money where ever they can, it is likely the will try to insist on a cut of the revenue, for doing nothing.

That is why the suggestion was that the friendly society which was set up to support GI in our institution might be able to be the entity that enters into the agreement with the Trust and administers the service.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have responded to the email and attached the rules of the society

The attachment hasn't come through but I've read your narrative with interest. From a legal point of view there would appear to be no reason why the Friendly Society could not enter into a contract in the manner that you describe assuming that the rules do not prohibit such an arrangement.
You can email the rules to***@******.*** and ask them to forward the email and attachment to JGM. I will then have a look over them for you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sent rules as directed above

Thanks, ***** ***** out for them arriving from the moderator m
Thank you for sending the rules of the Society through which I have now read. From what you have said the intended service is still within the aims of the Society, that is to promote the study of gastroenterology and for that reason I see no reason why you can't enter into a contract to provide such services to the Trust.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So it doesn't have any legal implications. What about financial are there any restrictions on what a friendly society can do?

Historically, a friendly society was for the benefit of its members and was formed because of the lack of a health or welfare system.
However Rule 3(3) allows your Society to accept donations and funds towards the objects of the society. Rule 5(1) allows for the remuneration of members for services carried out. Read together that would suffice to enable the Society to provide services to the Trust, for the Trust to pay the Society in recognition of those services, and for the Society to remunerate individual members.
It's not perfect but there no reason why it shouldn't work. Your other alternative is to set up a trading arm by way of a commercial entity to raise the funds from the Trust, pay the consultants and make donations to the society.
The financial side is something that you may want to take advice from the society's accountants or auditors.
JGM and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many thanks