An exemplar in absurdity (and conkers)

A sort of follow on from the (updated) The Talented Mr Martin and viral impact post. Underpinned by continuing incredulity at the removal of the Talentworks website. A ‘leadership’ consultancy with the tagline:

Meet the Talentworks team… hired for our large brains, love of psychology and impeccable dress sense.

Yes. Really. Well, and at least £5m of public money.

In the continued absence of any apparent scrutiny from NHS Improvement and others who should, we’re left digging deeper into shit we should never have to go near.

Talentworks. A virtual collective of people with large brains… etc have not only been getting obscene amounts of dosh from Sloven. They’ve also been working closely with Thames Valley and Wessex Leadership Academy (TVWLA). An academy led until last year by Katrina Percy.

I’m rubbish with figures but the Talentworks ‘blah blah’ work with the Thames Valley bunch (Financial Summaries available here) seems to involve a shedload of dosh for the two years Percy led the academy (around £500k and £370k)  dropping to around £20k after she stepped down. [As an aside, how could Percy dismiss Mike Holder’s safety concerns while championing Chris Martin and his jibber jabber? [howl]]

A brief browse of the Talent Management pages on the Thames Valley Leadership Academy pages:


A teeth achingly meaningless statement. Just noise. How the Wessex leadership gang allowed this to be published on their website makes me want to weep. I’m left wondering (again) is this about stupidity, incompetence, fear, corruption, bullying, greed, narcissism or simple slumbering?  The focus on this hocus pocus crap, while staff were left without leadership, untrained and unsupported to provide the most basic care to keep LB and so many other patients alive [alive], is haunting.

More bollocks…


Greater pipeline intelligence? A driver of culture change? It’s like the Stepford Wives meet NHS England.


I’ve not read this blinky blonky table yet. The headings alone suggest nonsense. I just want to know who authorised payments for this ‘work’? Where were the internal (and external) audit processes? Did no one ask what is this about and is it effective?

Did Talentworks really have a blank cheque to do whatever?

What are the links between Chris Martin, Katrina/Iain Percy and others?

What does it mean that Talentworks have withdrawn their website?

What the actual fuck?

Here’s a photo of conkers we collected in the park earlier. I bloody love this photo. These are conkers. As simple and uncomplicated as.



34 thoughts on “An exemplar in absurdity (and conkers)

  1. It seems to be quite common for leadership in large public sector organisations to not realise that they’re supposed to be providing competent and basic operational management, and instead waste their time on empty marketing guff like this and in self aggrandising award chasing, neither of which provide anything to improve the service they’re suppose to provide. The problem is, this incompetence goes all the way to the top to the feckless politicians who are supposed to be ultimately responsible for services, and when things go badly wrong, they all close ranks and try and make sure nobody is held to account.

  2. You are doing a great job in exposing what can only be described as the utter crap that has completely colonised the NHS. I have made a small discovery in north Wales – an ‘executive coaching’ company (led by someone known to me who describes herself as someone who has held ‘senior leadership roles in academia and the NHS’ but who is actually a former nurse who stuffed up badly in serial not very senior roles) claims to be advising the local Health Board (as patients continue to die). I am currently trying to find out whether the Health Board really has hired this ‘executive coach’, if so what for and how much they paid her. Her website also boasts that she had been hired by a number of other NHS organisations in Wales. There is no way that this person has the knowledge or expertise to advise in the way that she claims. But she does talk a lot about ‘leadership’ and ‘learning organisations’…

  3. Pingback: An exemplar in absurdity (and conkers) | danutag57

  4. The brand of Leadership that Katrina championed is hollow at the core because it was all about self promotion.
    I make a mistake as a clinician and I get referred to the GMC. My attitude is scrutinised in annual appraisals and I have to ask my colleagues to give me 360 degree feedback anonymously. I have no problem with all these things as they are there to stop me going rogue and doing unsafe things to my patients.
    But my practice and the conditions I practice in are controlled to a large extent by the managers and directors who are in charge and who decide where and how money can be spent, team structured and service configuration. They determine far more than the public imagine. Non clinicians control the NHS.
    Maybe we should have a similar regulatory body for NHS managers? Maybe they should have to seek 360 degree feedback from clinicians and patients and their families too? I wonder what my patients would say about Katrina and the board and the directors in charge in adult psych in southern?

    • is there no responsibility for clinicians to report to the GMC their own observations of any/all perceived ‘ rogue ‘ behaviours within the Trust ? Besides not doing unsafe things to your patients yourself and obviously policing fellow clinicians and colleagues , doesn’t the GMC require you to speak up if you have serious concerns about governance ?

    • Although the GMC have the capacity to come down hard on doctors referred to them, they frequently do not – I know of unsafe doctors practising in north Wales (one of whom was referred to the GMC five times in one month and was successfully sued by at least one patient) and the GMC have done nothing. Then there are all the allegations that the GMC are institutionally racist or pursue whistleblowers rather than dangerous doctors. As for NHS managers – indeed, no regulation/accountability at all. There are debates about NHS managers needing to be ‘fit and proper’ (I don’t know about England but I was told that in Wales that the ‘fit and proper’ rule is also supposed to apply to managers of nursing/residential homes – but again I have knowledge of the most unsuitable people being in this position and in some cases the facilities being shut down with still no reference to the ‘fit and proper’ rule) but I’m not aware that any NHS manager has yet been removed for being unfit.

    • is there no obligation for the ‘ clinicians voice ‘ to be heard by the GMC when observations of ‘ rogue ‘ governance are made ? I understand you will avoid doing unsafe things to your patients and police colleagues ensuring they are doing the same but what of reporting serious concerns within the Trust affecting your practice in a timely manner ?

      • Nina may well have more pertinent information about this but as far as I can see the GMC are incredibly selective as to which doctors they choose to listen to. As far as I can remember there is an obligation for doctors to speak up if they know harm is being done but doctors can also get into very hot water if they denigrate colleagues or (I think) suggest that they are better doctors than their colleagues. I was told ages ago by someone in Wales that it was these potentially clashing guidelines that make it nearly impossible for doctors for report unsafe colleagues. I communicated with the GMC – yet again – recently regarding the unsafe practices continuing in north Wales and at the same time put in an FoI request from the GMC as to whether they had taken any action against any doctor in the wake of Mid-Staffs – they confirmed that they hadn’t and kindly attached a pdf of the ‘legal advice’ that they had sought with regard to Mid-Staffs. So that’s it in a nutshell – the biggest scandal in UK NHS history and the GMC took action against precisely no-one.

    • Patients frequently sent feedback about service redesign and staffing effects and affect on patients and careers to Percy et al
      Sadly PALS had also been infiltrated by her ‘values’

  5. I can see rooms of stressed people forced away from their already poorly staffed jobs…worried about their patients and made to feel really foolish – noncomprehending – when the above nonsense is flashed up on screens. Scared to admit that to them…it was all just words.

    Caring intelligent motivated people made to feel stupid because a toothless Board let an incompetent leader.. employ people in expensive smart spin management gibberish…into a 5 million pound pay day …for themselves.

  6. is there no requirement for clinicians to report their observations of any/all behaviours considered ‘rogue’ when they occur within the Trust ? Besides not doing unsafe things to your patients and policing fellow clinicians and colleagues to ensure they are doing the same doesn’t the GMC expect you to report serious concerns about governance ? Isn’t your practice controlled purely by oath ?

  7. I HAVE read, or attempted to read, the blinky blonk table. It seems to be an attempt to turn the bleeding obvious into some kind of arcane science you can charge £5m for. Much about being able to identify “talent”. Not actually against that, because it probably is the case that there is wasted talent in any organisation. But what is wrong with training people to do the jobs that need doing better (like being well informed about epilepsy and other risks in the people who need care) instead of poncing about identifying future “leaders”, more interested in their own roles and career advancement.

    Is there any evidence – any at all – that care down at the coal face is improved by this kind of stuff?

  8. Dr Sally Baker, I was thinking in terms of pertinent information being made available to the GMC in the past. It is extremely difficult to accept that clinicians had serious concerns but failed to act upon them at that time. An inferno of five million pounds of public money was burning under their noses and no one speaks ? There is always one that does and is willing to face the music.

  9. Reasons behind removal of the TalentWorks website: Immediately prior to the disappearance news was announced of the interim CEO’s resignation. A Smart move ? !
    The protection screen for The Talented One alias “Mr Don’t do anything by halves if you want to get away with it”.. had gone.
    Then came the belated response from Southern H to the Freedom of Information request from Mr C Bell. Twenty four close typed sheets listing TWorks invoices between 29 Feb 2012 to 4 August 2016 total = £5,861,424.03.
    That is charging at the rate of £133,214 per month for the 44 months listed.
    Alas but no details of the Contracts that presumably continue. Too commercially sensitive indeed – what is this nuclear technology ?

    I read something recently written by a media Consultant concerning the use of the word Viral and the link with remuneration. Possibly worthy of consideration in this case.
    “If your client says “make me a viral video” then try to charge the f*** out of them and plan on sticking around for only a short time. Such a policy if pursued with avarice across the campaigning world, will eventually expunge the word from clients brains. Then the word ‘viral’ will be a way to screen consultants; anyone who uses it will never be granted work”.

    Greater investigation and scrutiny into this gravy train route of remuneration is the way towards increased exposure of this scandalous wholesale plundering of the public purse.

    The mention above of Percy/Martin at Thames Valley and Wessex Leadership Academy prompts suspicion. Which other NHS Authorities does this talented wizz-kid “advise” ? …….and at what price ?

    It is pleasing TWorks website has been withdrawn. The text contained much erroneous (some might say untrue) information but wow did that bullshit flow……..

    Incidentally, how did a start-up business with no track record whatever initially manage to secure an order from Southern Health ?

  10. Yes CRASH – my apologies I did mean Peter Bell.
    There is indeed much more to learn from the FOI request – notably from omissions in the responses.
    Failure to show information relating to each Contract is unacceptable. The terms/scope/limitations agreed upon each renewal/extension must also have been signed and approved.
    If there had been any semblance of Management or financial control, gross expenditure, variances and irregularities would have been highlighted throughout each and every year.

    A list of invoices is not the same as “copies of all invoices”. It is believed important to uncover who approved Invoices and how the individual content was presented.

    TW website went directly upon BBC news release of Smart’s departure. This preceded public release of FOI response by a few hours.

    Some amendment to the original or certain contract(s) must (or should) have occurred. Initially disclosure reveals (2012) invoices from “Talent Works Psychologists Ltd”, then apparently from January 2013 “TW Performance Consulting Ltd”, then (2015) back to “TW Psychologists Ltd”.

    Something smelly here.There was a reason for this and it would have required explanation to and agreement from the Client. (different Bank Accounts ?).

    It is hoped SFO become focused on events. Then the long-term links between Percy and the HenleyTalent will be exposed and probably much more.

    Anyone out there know:
    Are Southern Health staff still being expected to face these TW Training gurus for advice, guidance and enlightenment ?

    After all the prolonged training expertise (hmmm) and expense, have duties been handed to Southern Health internal trainers who must surely by now be capable to progress matters of culture and change for themselves ?

    Have TW been invited to stay away ?

  11. for clarity did the nigh on six million figure come from the GOV.UK FOI assorted docs published 23rd September relating to the role of the CEO . So many bits flying around. The Monitor( now NHS Improvement) £50k limit on consultancy contracts without prior approval has anything surfaced relating to that ?

  12. Yes, there is a list of invoices in that FOI set (Peter Bell) which adds up to nearly £6m. I don’t know about the NHSI £50k limit. There is a meeting with the National Audit Office and families on Thursday. Would have thought they’d be all over it. I mean how can you redact a tender document… [brain melt].

    • sincere apologies if I am looking in the wrong place, the GOV.UK FOI published 23rd withholds information using cost limit. The request related to the role of CEO, creation of the new strategic advisory role and performance of SH from the 1st January 2016 ? Can you provide a link to FOI relating to the invoices ? I think we are referring to different requests .Many thanks.

    • Check out both TW companies on Companies House web site – very interesting to see dates of incorporation. If anyone out there has evidence that might be useful for the meeting with the National Audit Office on Thursday, please email it to by tomorrow afternoon. (We have the response to Peter Bell’s FOI request and others relating to expenditure. We also have TW’s Companies House records.)

  13. Forgive me if I am lagging behind things..for my brain has melted with all the numbers etc.
    Will these FOI request(s) provide the invoice from the org who carried out the recent psychometrics on Ms Percy?. Or is this request in the FOI’s already submitted ?

  14. CRASH – Pleased to hear you have a meeting arranged with National Audit Office. This may be helpful.

    A brief examination of Companies House records reveals certain Appointments and businesses. They give the appearance of some pretty incestuous tie ups. Those familiar with Southern Health will better recognize people and the names of Consultancy “specialists” who have become involved by Percy and accordingly sent Invoices to SH.
    This may turn out to be a somewhat tedious and long entry for which apologies. Something might prove useful along the way.

    Mention was made in an earlier comment that it was at very least an affront for SH to suggest that “Commercially sensitive information” may be at risk if full disclosure of TW Contracts/Tenders was made available.
    The redacted sheets were purely an attempt to deflect attention from the dealings between SH/TW.
    The blanked out pages are important. In the early stages it is believed likely that Percy was closely involved (even if she was able to orchestrate matters more remotely and from a greater height as time and the years went by).

    Consider the following and retain the commercially sensitive remark in mind:

    Consilium Partners Ltd (08931467) Director: Paul Gray.
    Consilium Strategy Consulting Ltd (06969611) Director: Paul Gray.
    C & TW Consulting Ltd (07513981) Directors : Paul Gray, Christopher Martin.
    Talent Works Performance Consulting Ltd (07308357) Director: Christopher Martin.
    Talent Works Psychologists Ltd (09390468) Director: Chris Martin, Sarah Law.
    Meercat Consulting Ltd (04684646) Director: Sarah Law.

    Research prior to removal of the TW website revealed that a number of their so-called “Our Team” appeared on other Occupational Psychology Consultancy websites. They similarly appeared in the competitors “Our Team” listings.

    Commercially sensitive or just a plain barefaced untruth ? Come on Lawyers take your client(s) on one side and get them/him to explain how they/he operate(s).

    Maybe I’m mistaken (hmm) but I thought I read somewhere that Consilium Partners/Consilium Strategy Consulting were the beneficiary of particularly lucrative SH Contracts handed out by Percy without even having to go through the mill of tendering ?? I seem to recall the figure of £600,000.

    These clowns have set out, allegedly with Percy’s knowledge and consent, to extricate as much as possible from the public purse.

    HSE and today.
    Mention was made in an earlier comment concerning ongoing involvement and investigations by HSE (Health and Safety Executive) into matters of safety/risk conditions within SH premises.

    The Company operating Alton Towers were today found guilty in respect of events on the “Smiler” ride.
    WHAT CHANCE have SH to avoid charges of neglect, failure to identify risk, mismanagement, malpractice and abject failure of duty of care ?

  15. Consilium Partners Ltd (08931467).
    Apart from Mr Paul Gray (ex-C & TW Consulting Ltd) this outfit introduced another Director in May 2014. Mr Andrew P Liles.
    It is clearly yet more lucrative working as a consultant than being the Chief Exec of an NHS Trust. (Ashford + St Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust).
    But we know that.
    Pipeline Intelligence ?

  16. meeting with the auditors is sweet music , if they ‘go in’ perhaps other regulatory bodies with be shamed into following. The facts will be laid bare and auditors are most particular checking the placement of the decimal point.

    Southern Health’s obligation to spend in accordance with best practice for ‘off-payroll ‘ engagements , any prior approvals sought or the lack of to exceed financial limits on spends will be scrutinized.
    No FOI exemption is going to stop disclosure ‘ to the world’ from auditing , unless there is a very special hiding place for non-disclosure specifically for millions of pounds of public funds spent on hocus-pocus. Best wishes to all the families for your meeting.

    • Again…
      just for clarification me – for us – a family of a man with serious learning disability who waited for two years on a waiting list (and still waiting) – and did not get the contracted
      support service from SHFT..

      Can the National Audit Office demand every dot and comma from SHFT.. the record of every penny spent and why it was spent and where it was spent..or can SHFT- for example – insist on withholding ‘sensitive’ financial info/contract info – by claiming extraordinary confidentiality for themselves and or their contractors…?

      If they do this how can this be addressed ?
      Any one ?

      • I think they have free rein to establish the ‘ health value’ from every one of the nigh on six million pounds spent .

        No legal firewall protection from non-disclosure due to ‘commercial sensitivity ‘. Plain old value for money , accounting for the public pound. Everything crossed .

  17. Talent works are gone. “Ended their contract with southern” so the email said.

    Well done Julie Dawes (interim CEO). If only the old Board had your good sense. We would have £5.5 m not thrown away.

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