Another dirty day down Sloven way


Got the background details (via a Freedom of Information request) about the commissioning of the study into families’ experiences of Sloven’s serious investigation process yesterday. I’ve written about being invited to take part in this study. And of Lesley Steven’s defence around the magic wand stuff.

It turns out Sloven decided up front that this study should take the form of an Appreciative Inquiry. David Snowden offers a critique of this approach which includes:


It ain’t a big surprise Sloven like this approach. They don’t engage with their failings at any level or allow patients or families to express how they feel. Setting aside the criticisms identified by David Snowden, Appreciative Inquiry ain’t an appropriate approach for bereaved families. Unilaterally choosing an approach that only focuses ‘on the bright side‘ when looking at patient deaths is simply wrong. And risks causing more distress to people.

It turns out that the consultant who got the gig was recommended to Lesley Stevens and commissioned on the basis of a couple of emails and meetings:


Shudder. At the March board meeting, in response to mention of the commissioning of external ‘work’, Mike Petter, then Sloven chair, quipped: This is a company we haven’t worked with before – there is one out there. No joking matter. We know the sizeable chunk of Sloven expenditure over the past few years spent on commissioning ‘consultants’ or legal professionals to help dig them out out hole after hole after hole.

The cost of this latest venture?  £27,000 for 40 days work. Yep. Really.

Sloven have rules (like any public organisation) around the spending of public money on external services. There has to be justification for why there is no competitive process. Any spend of more than £25k has to go to the next Audit Committee for review…

The £27k agreed for this gig includes VAT so I assume the £22.5k (excluding VAT) figure (handily) means it doesn’t make the Audit Committee bar. As for the lack of competitive process… the excuse is presented on the Single Tender Waiver form here:


Ah. Bloody hilarious. Though it ain’t of course. Recommendation about the supplier is surely the reason procurement rules were implemented. Recommendation by whom? [Handily redacted in the FOI info]. Pace required following Mazars and CQC..? Sloven first got sight of the Mazars review last summer. Not much pace here. Lesley Stevens gifted the job to the consultant in February 2016 after it must have  (eventually) dawned on senior Sloven muppetry that the CQC inspection did not go well. So competitive processes to protect public money are swept aside because of continued Sloven crapness, denial and arrogance… A circularity that makes my brain weep. And for the record, alternative suppliers are plentiful/Appreciative Inquiry philosophy ain’t essential. Quite the opposite.

What’s particularly chilling? (I dunno, running out of words/thoughts here, it’s all so utterly shite) is that Sloven think this ditsy review is an appropriate response to either the Mazars review or CQC inspection.To commission it in such a shoddy, careless and piecemeal way underlines how unfit for purpose the Sloven senior team are.  It’s actually flagged up by Katrina Percy in a letter to NHS Improvement (who she still calls Monitor here) as progress on their enforcement undertakings:


Further demonstration of how devoid of understanding, ability, empathy, willingness, whatever the senior team are. As if any more is needed. These people simply shouldn’t be running this organisation. There’s a superficiality so obvious, documented so publicly and repeatedly, leading to such serious failings it is extraordinary.

Getting a colleague of a colleague, a mate of a mate or whatever combination to write some nonsense, bypassing processes in place to make sure public money is spent with caution and transparency and demonstrating a complete lack of understanding about bereavement is so wrong it almost defies words.

Work on this ‘review’ is due to be finished in the next week. I don’t suppose for one moment the consultant has been able to do anything approaching what she outlines in communication with Lesley Stevens. I hope Victoria Keilthy reads whatever puff that reaches her with a sharp lens and reflects on the commissioning of this crap. This is a public body.


4 thoughts on “Another dirty day down Sloven way

  1. All those not investigated deaths. The avoidable deaths. The inquests and that dreadful ‘ I am almost sorry” – letter from the CE.. All the highly critical CQC reports and Mazars report and the brilliant LB campaign. And more. All SHOUT…… YOU – (SHFT) – are hurting far too many very vulnerable people and their families and YOU appear are stone deaf to all…………

    This research could be a wee bit close to the man turning a thumb screw while wearing ear plugs – saying ‘ ever so gently……..’does it hurt’.

  2. It seems to me that the primary purpose of public bodies is to turn public money into private profit. Consultants, recruitment, training you name it and it gets contracted out at vastly inflated fees. You really don’t need to spend that kind of money to see the nose on your face, you just need to be willing to look in the mirror.

  3. The long-awaited Chilcot inquiry into the invasion of Iraq is to be published on Wednesday 6 July and will no doubt dominate the media for several days. A good week to bury bad news.

    Smart’s promised the Secretary of State to publish his long-awaited decision on the competency of Sloven’s Board on Wednesday 6 July. A deliberate ploy or pure coincidence?

  4. Pingback: The talented Mr Martin and viral impact | mydaftlife

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