Recommendation 176

Statutory duty to disclose information

Accepted
Any statement made to a regulator or a commissioner in the course of its statutory duties must be completely truthful and not misleading by omission.

The government’s initial response to the public inquiry, Patients First and Foremost reaffirmed a commitment to the values of openness, honesty and acceptance of challenge and when things go wrong to learn from and not conceal mistakes. There is a clear expectation that every health and care provider should abide by these values. There is a similar expectation of truthfulness between commissioners and providers – service condition 4.1 of the NHS Standard Contract is explicit that ‘parties must at all times act in good faith towards each other’ and between providers and regulators. Also, the Care Quality Commission will assess whether providers have an open and transparent culture, backed up by effective leadership, governance and clinical involvement as part of its new approach to inspection and regulation. As set out in recommendation 182, the government is putting in place additional measures to ensure that certain key information is truthful and not misleading. There is an existing requirement of Monitor’s licence that information provided is accurate, complete and not misleading and an expectation that licence-holders notify Monitor in the event of any incident, event or report that may raise concerns over compliance with their licence. The Care Bill contains provisions to introduce a new criminal offence applicable to care providers that supply or publish certain types of false or misleading information, where that information is required to comply with a statutory or other legal obligation.

Update

The Government is putting in place a new criminal offence applicable to any care providers who supply, publish or otherwise make available certain types of information which is false or misleading, where that information is required to comply with a statutory or other legal obligation. This offence also applies to senior individuals in a provider organisation if they consent or connive in the offence. Further information is set out in the update to the response to recommendation 182.