In David Flory’s Dear colleague letter to strategic health authority (SHA) and primary care trust (PCT) cluster chief executives of 31 May 2012, the DH has confirmed the requirements and timetable for the property and estates transfers by PCTs and SHAs to either NHS providers or NHS Property Services Ltd (NHS PS), to be completed through the property transfer schemes (under Section 300 (2) of the Health and Social Care Act) by 31 March 2013.

To enable an orderly and effective transfer all property transfer scheme documentation will need to be completed and authorised by 31 December 2012.  

The key steps and key dates are as follows:  

  • SHAs/PCTs must provide DH with details of their legal advisors appointed to assist in identifying property assets rights and liabilities to be transferred by 6 July 2012
  • All properties and legal charges that will need to be transferred and recorded in property transfer schemes need to be identified. In order to prepare the scheme, a schedule of property and other assets and liabilities must be completed and submitted to DH by 14 September 2012. A property transfer scheme template is to follow and in readiness each SHA and PCT is urgently required to complete a schedule in the form of Annex A to the guidance notes accompanying David Flory’s letter
  • To ensure the schedules are complete PCTs and SHAs are required to apply to the Land Registry to carry out a search of the index of proprietors’ names (PN1 search) against their organisation’s name and names of any predecessor bodies by 31 July 2012
  • Where approval has been given for sites to be split and to be transferred to different recipient bodies, details must be provided to [email protected] by 31 July 2013
  • Where a PCT or SHA is aware of other property believed to be in its ownership, but which has not been identified by the PN1 search, it should carry out a search of the index map. Immediate action to register ownership of a property or legal charge in the relevant PCT's or SHA's name should be taken. This exercise must be carried out by 31 August 2012
  • Replies to short form property preliminary enquiries (in the form of Annex B to David Flory’s letter) together with replies to the “Enquiries of a PCT /SHA” issued as Annex C to David Flory’s letter, relating to property transferring to NHS PS, will need to be provided to NHS PS and should be sent to [email protected] by no later than 15 October 2012
  • In replying to these enquiries the PCT/SHA is assumed to have made all reasonable enquiries and inspections for each transferring property and is required to provide copies of all title deeds and documents that relate to a transferring property and correspondence relevant to the replies whether or not requested
  • Property transfer scheme schedules need to be finalised by 15 November 2012 and signed off by 31 December 2012
  • Transfer of all PCT and SHA property is to be completed by completion of property transfer schemes on 31 March 2013

It is also proposed that contracts relating to single properties transfer with those properties directly to NHS providers or NHS PS, as appropriate. Where the contracts relate to multiple properties, with more than one transfer destination the contracts should be transferred to NHS PS, prior to reaching agreement with providers in relation to how the benefit and liability will be shared in each case.