PCN - Network Agreement
The deadlines for PCNs to achieve a number of areas including the Network Agreement have been really short, with advice and guidance coming out piecemeal.
With this in mind and taking into the account the level of queries the office received on this topic, Wessex LMCs organised a number of workshops to support PCNs in developing their agreements. We worked with a number of solicitors and accountants all with specialist knowledge of general practice, to ensure these workshops provided PCNs with basic knowledge of what their agreement may need to look like and areas for consideration. These workshops also offered packages of support from the different solicitors.
Following on from this, the General Practice Defence Fund (GDPF) have released a Network Agreement template with the schedules completed, along with some guidance notes.
- GPDF Guidance on Structuring PCNs
- Guidance Note 1 - Completing the mandatory Network Agreement with its Schedules
- Guidance Note 2 - Employment & Pensions
- Guidance Note 3 - Governance, accountability, liabilities & internal arrangements
- Guidance Note 4 - Contracts, sub-contracts & service delivery
- Guidance Note 5 - VAT & Funding Implications
- Guidance Note 6 - Clinical Director
If you decide for your PCN this is what you wish to use, you will need to review these to ensure they meet the needs of your PCN and we would suggest that you may need to seek legal or financial advice to ensure these are fit for purpose.
If your PCN appears simple with the aspiration in the first year to undertake the requirements of the DES only, then it is likely using the templates will be fine initially. If you are looking at more complex structures or are planning to be more radical, then we would suggest that you need to consider getting specialist advice.
PCNs in year two will continue to grow therefore it is likely that a more robust Network Agreement will be required with the need for specialist advice.
Given there now seems to be wealth of information relating to Network Agreements, we would suggest essentially the options are:
- Read the guidance and write your own schedules
- Read the guidance and use the GPDF template, considering whether specialist advice is needed
- Engage with a solicitor who can provide a template Network Agreement
- Engage with specialist solicitor to write the Network Agreement for you and make them bespoke for your PCN (estimate the cost between £2000 - £2500)