Blimey. More documents pinging mysteriously into the Justice shed. Including a letter written by the then Sloven board chair to Monitor (now NSH Improvement) raising serious governance concerns in 2011. [Yes. Really]. At first graze, a dense, detailed, informed, harrowing and enraging addition to an apparently unlimited evidence pile highlighting Sloven governance failing.
I’m typing this post listening to Laura Veirs. A vague balm. Rich and I have spent the last three days since the faux announcement of Katrina Percy’s (yet to be properly confirmed) ‘resignation’ in a harsh and agitated space. It’s not about her, as a person. It was never about her as a person. Blimey. She didn’t make it to the Connor Manifesto. But it’s becoming more and more about her.
Percy failed to lead effectively. We all know that. The board failed, and continues to fail, as an executive board. The Council of Governors remain split between an enlightened minority and the waste of space rest. There remains a consistent and shocking lack of competence, authority, knowledge and sense among both the board and council. Backfilled with a frenzied focus on reputation and apparently unlimited funds to buy in whatever spurious consultancy or legal support they think will magic away the disorder that surrounds them.
Deeply depressingly, the documents leaked to us today were shared with Tim Smart to provide context to his review of the board. Now we don’t know (I don’t think anyone really knows) what Smart based his (30 June) judgement of the board on. We do know he scathingly dismissed the Mazars review during the meeting with My Life My Choice and we now know he must have dismissed the serious concerns raised by the board chair back in 2011.
We also know he agreed to the very recent secondment of Sandra Grant and Flash Gordon to new pastures (as well as gifting Percy a substantially reduced role on a CEO salary). Why you would give a board under serious scrutiny a clean bill of governance health and then start seconding execs five minutes later is a mystery. Oh. Unless you finally, and belatedly, realise the board is as grubby as they come.
Indeedy, it’s probably about time some of the spotlight shifts to Smart and Jim Mackey (the CEO of NHS Improvement My Arse). What this pair of muppets are doing is beyond me. Did they really not anticipate the inevitable backlash against such offensive and scandalous news? Did Smart not realise erasing all whiff of failure in Percy’s leaving statement, blaming press interest, would simply enrage and inflame? What an almighty pigs ear of executive and regulatory ‘action’.
Ironically, one of the biggest failings here is candour and transparency. From where we’re sitting, it appears Smart made the wrong judgement on June 30 because he is incapable of listening. Days later Michael Buchanan broke the news about dodgy contracts. Patient deaths are clearly nothing compared to doshing your mates £millions for going viral nonsense. Once Roy Lilley was on Radio 4 condemning the spiralling of a £300k contract to £5m, the writing was on the wall. Failing governance a go go.
Instead of a clean sweep, an acknowledgement of failings – of letting down hundreds of patients and their families, of a board gone bad – Smart, Mackey (and Hunt?) ballsed it up. Big time. Generating more media attention and public outrage than the publication of the report revealing that Sloven investigated less than 1% of the unexpected deaths of learning disabled people over four years. A report that led to the appointment of Smart as the troubleshooting interim chair.
What a stinking mess. Do the right thing someone. Please.