The Health Director’s ex-colleague was the only person considered for a 12-week £45k contract which was not advertised either locally or on the mainland, it has been revealed.
But the government – and now Health Minister, Deputy Richard Renouf – is still maintaining that “proper process” was followed in the recruitment of Senior Nurse Charlotte Hall.
The latest revelation came as Director General of Health Caroline Landon and Deputy Renouf were grilled over the move after Express broke the news on Monday.
Ms Hall was appointed to the £750-a-day post in May by Director General of Health Caroline Landon, with whom she worked over nine years at hospitals in the UK. Totalling around £45,000, the contract allows Ms Hall to work two weeks at a time in order that she can commute to the UK – all flights and accommodation paid.
Pictured: Charlotte Hall (left) and Caroline Landon (right) have worked together for almost ten years.
Facing urgent questions from the Health Scrutiny Panel – a group of politicians tasked with reviewing the Health service and Minister’s work – Ms Landon confirmed that Ms Hall faced no competition for the role.
She said that this was because the department had to “react quickly” and appoint someone to help reform the Health Department following a damning government watchdog report that blasted its governance and risk management.
Meanwhile, when Express put the same questions to the government ahead of the Scrutiny hearing, it was issued with a statement described as a “combined response” to 15 separate queries on the appointment process.
“This contract was agreed under the normal process for filling short-term capacity and capability gaps, and it was approved by the States Employment Board. Proper process was followed, and any potential conflicts of interest were declared at the time.”
Replying to questions from Chairman of the panel, Deputy Mary Le Hegarat, over the recruitment process, the Minister maintained that he believed it to be “standard”.
Pictured: The Scrutiny hearing brought to light more details about the highly paid six-month contract.
She later emphasised an urgent need to start work on a “risk and governance framework quickly before we commenced any other pieces of work” when she came into post, “so that I could provide assurances to the Minister that the care that we deliver was safe.”
“That is why we moved at speed, that is why we have [Charlotte Hall] in post."
Deputy Le Hegarat, who last week asked the Chief Minister about the appointment of interim consultants such as Ms Hall, urged the Health official to consider how the appointment looks to the general public.
“I think we need to be clear that we need to make sure of the checks and balances… We have to as elected politicians, we have to assure the public that we are spending their money as taxpayers in the right manner and we are looking at all of the options we’ve got available to us,” the Deputy said.
Ms Landon responded: “I absolutely hear what you’re saying, Deputy, and recognise the quite right challenge that you’re putting definitely to me. This person is here for six months and at the end of that six months will be gone.”
Pictured: The Health appointment was the subject of extensive grilling at the quarterly Scrutiny hearing for the department.
During the hearing, the Director General and Minister made commitments to share what Ms Hall has achieved during her six-month contract after her time in Jersey is over with the Scrutiny panel.
This is a commitment that Deputy Kirsten Morel wants to make obligatory across all Departments with his first propositionin the States asking the Chief Minister to report back regularly on the Government's use of consultants.
In it, he writes that the proposal is in the interest of "openness, transparency and accountability," explaining: "This proposition aims to make it easier for the Government to be open and transparent about its use of consultants. Its adoption will bring greater accountability to the issue of the engagement of consultants and, in so doing, will provide Islanders with an easy-to-access overview of their continuing use by the Government of Jersey."
I'm really pleased to have lodged my first proposition in the States today. If passed, it will require the Chief Minister to present a 6-monthly report to the States accounting for the government's use of consultants.— Kirsten Morel (@KirstenJersey) June 11, 2019
While the recent hearing shed further light on the controversial Health appointment, much remains unclear.
Express is awaiting a response to the following questions regarding Ms Hall’s appointment from the Government:
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