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The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Who is the Chief Executive?

One organisation in the Western Isles has the unlikely distinction of having two Chief Executives, a problem that has dragged on for five months.

I refer, of course, to the Western Isles Health Board where the current/past/suspended Chief Executive has been replaced pending investigations into his CV.

Of course, it is never as simple as that, but with the NHS still paying Laurence Irvine £5,000 per month pending conclusion of the investigation, one could reasonably expect that the investigation would proceed apace. This exchange in the Audit Committee is enlightening.....

George Foulkes:You did not succeed in getting a permanent chief executive, though, did you?
Malcolm Wright: A permanent chief executive [Laurence Irvine] was appointed and we handed over—
George Foulkes:
But he is suspended, is he not?
Malcolm Wright: I understand so.
George Foulkes: Whose fault was that?
Ronnie Cleland: This is a difficult area, convener. It is difficult to discuss the allocation of blame, given the situation with the chief executive.
The Temporary Convener: Okay.
Ronnie Cleland: I am not trying to avoid the question.
George Foulkes: No—it is a difficult situation legally.

Clear as mud.

The allegations - as I understand them - would seem to be reasonably easy to resolve. So why the delay?

It is my understanding that there is not enough to remove Mr Irvine from post, but perhaps enough to undermine his position, and to avoid an Industrial Tribunal the lawyers are negotiating an early retirement package that can be justified to Parliament.

Meantime, Mr Irvine is still nominally in charge of the Health Board - although, practically, he has no remit - and the ship sails on, holed underwater.

This may become a theme, but can someone - please, please - take a decision and allow us to move forward?


Anonymous said...

Yes - the Audit Committee also sussed out that whatever good work the acting CE may currently be doing is only a temporary situation. He's only there until the actual CE's situation is sorted out. The bad news for us all is that there will probably be yet another CE before long........

Anonymous said...

You're not surprised, are you, Angus?

Anonymous said...

Yes, lots to go on the text of the Audit Committee meeting. Like why for instance did all the accountants with a combined 80 years of WIHB experience all of a suddenly leave the Health Board during the Manson/Currie era?

The word on the street is that they refused to fiddle the books to build in the costs for an unprecedented three (!) medical directors - so they were bullied into leaving.

Others were bullied into leaving too like IT and HR managers.

Manson, Currie, Smith (who has a reputed enhanced pension of £75,000per annum to keep quiet), Sim (who's on a reputed £250,000 - £300,000 salary to keep quiet), and Fordham (who's reputed to have received £27,000 in relocation expenses to come to the Western Isles instead of the normal maximum of £8,000 and who now has a rather nice B&B business) have to be brought to account.

George Foulkes needs to keep probing... and Malcom Wright needs to stop denying that he wrote a report into the Manson/Currie era -as he did in front of the Audit Committee. Everyone knows that he did write a report - but it's been buried.