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Health Director ex-colleague ‘sole candidate’ for £750-a-day job

Health Director ex-colleague ‘sole candidate’ for £750-a-day job

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Health Director ex-colleague ‘sole candidate’ for £750-a-day job


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.

caroline_landon_charlotte_hall.jpg

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”.

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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.”

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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."

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: 

  • What exactly is the SEB standard process which is used for short-term contract appointments of this kind?
  • Who, aside from the Director General and the Health Minister, was involved in signing off the appointment?
  • The Health Minister has now stated on record that Ms Hall was the only person considered for the role - did she have to undergo any interview process at all? Were her credentials reviewed by anyone aside from Ms Landon?
  • Was it always known throughout the process that Ms Landon knew Ms Hall?
  • Although the total amount of flight/expenses for Ms Hall has not yet been calculated, please provide a running total of her expenses since her appointment in May.

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Comments

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Posted by nigel pearce on
Why is the Director General of Health not in charge of seeing through the necessary changes required assisted by our Health Minister? Surely something this important should not be delegated, especially to someone who has no connection to the island and would not be in the picture as to what has occurred. When her six month contract has expired, I foresee an announcement either that the post has been made permanent or she has received an enormous payoff.
It seems that almost weekly, we have a new imported 'expert' hired at great expense, to tell us which way to turn. I honestly feel that the Jersey public are being taken to the cleaners and we shall be left to pick up the pieces.
Posted by Nick Arnold on
It looks like we are determined to make this into some crisis and abuse of power…. It’s a lot of ££ for sure, but if the DG has been hired to lead, deliver change, and we trusted them, and valued her experience to get the job done, then we should trust her to know what resources she needs to deliver, and furthermore trust her professional ethics to do what is needed in the best interest of our island – if we don’t, then we have bigger problems in our hiring process than this. And remember this role is time limited, very specialised and based on my research of the incumbent, she has what is needed. Stop looking at then interim roles with such suspicion. It is the same regarding the interim CIO, we need his experience and need it now, we aren’t in a position to have a local learn and grow, we need to deliver critical change now, the opportunities for locals will come, but we are in crisis and can’t afford to have mistakes or “learning opportunities” we need to hit the road literally running, and in the CIO role we need them to run fast to bridge the gaps we have when compared to other locations. Consultants or interim positions aren’t automatically bad, we need them, try to look past the ££. Deputy Morel surely, in his position, must understand the needs of the island, criticising this standard real business operating model and the use of consultants just doesn’t make sense, wouldn’t it be nice to have all these positions and needs filled by local permanent FTE, it would be fantastic, but it isn’t possible, and would in the long run be a waste of money, potentially, in some cases costing more over time. We want a world class government, but we need to be up front and acknowledge that we can’t do it all and don’t have the top level skills, especially in the time that we want it. We have identified that the “old way” was not delivering what we wanted and we acknowledged we needed to transform what we had, especially given our gap in funding, we now need to support the very people who we have hired and trusted to deliver it.
Posted by Glenn Cowie on
So, Jersey Government can afford a £750 a day jobs for your chums, but not £10k for the whole school community in Jersey to keep Jersey Sings going. You really could not make this stuff up. Effectively saying the value of Charlotte Hall for 13 days is greater than that of the needs and educational progression of the entire Jersey schools population, that happens ONCE A YEAR!! Please, get a grip and quickly.
Posted by ️Teresa Hughes on
Really....this post was not advertised locally or in the UK. 45,000 pounds for 12 weeks work, given to a former colleague! This is frankly outrageous and is simply jobs for chums as Glenn Cowie has previously stated. Surely the SOJ have a
duty to report how much money is spent on Consultants? Where is the transparency? Well done Bailiwick Express for reporting these issues, excellent informative journalism.
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