Back on 12th January this year, I placed an FoI request with the trust titled, “Payments to Senior Officers”.
The first time news surfaced that Sue Green, wife of David, and Director of HR for Wirral University Teaching Hospital had been experiencing problems under her new CEO arrived in the Health Services Journal, November 2013:
(Google “Mystery Surrounds Executive Director Suspension” to read the full article).
The suspension started at the beginning of October 2013 and all those who could shine a little light on the situation were keeping shtum, seemingly on the orders of David Allison, the CEO, who by this point had apparently cleared out all members of the executive board who’d served under the previous CEO. One gets the feeling from the outset that here is yet another Wirral based set of public servants who prefer to operate in the shadows, well out of pesky public view.
Mrs Green declined to comment also. Which is predictable really. Both times I was suspended, my experiences were that in this version of democracy, you get banned from contacting anybody you work with, not to mention the newspapers. And if your intention is to eventually clear your name, you’re not going to step out of line and invite trumped up charges from anyone tempted to abuse the power that’s been vested in them. Mrs Green’s husband certainly made me feel isolated for 5 long months through summer 2003.
So basically, a senior hospital director has been suspended, but nobody knows why, except those closely involved. The hospital draws a mountain of public money to operate (no pun intended). Presumably the suspension will be followed by an investigation… but an investigation into what exactly? We don’t know. Nobody’s talking.
So what of the investigation? The article “Cleared HR Director Loses Job” appears not to exist any longer on the server of HSJ.
Luckily, there was an article in the Wirral Globe of 10th February 2014. It appears that regardless of the outcome, which was that she had “no case to answer”, there’d been an executive restructure, which had come up with the brainwave that they no longer required a Director of HR and that the suspended director had no post to return to. How convenient. So off she went.
It’s reassuring that isn’t it? Does the Wirral Health Trust have nobody in charge of Human Resources? Not quite. Somebody will be doing just that, but there’s been a clever wheeze perpetrated, and the title of the job will have changed to something else. Wirral Council engage in such restructures when it was er… improving.
There are several more unknowns here, as follows:
- Was the director concerned Sue Green? (Nobody has actually confirmed this publicly)
- How many employees were directly involved?
- Were there any disciplinary charges?
- If so, what were they?
- What were the allegations? (the subject matter of the investigation)
- Who did the investigation?
- Was the investigation independent?
- Has the investigation report been published?
- Was there any public oversight?
- How much was the departing director paid off? (There’s always a payoff)
- Did the departing director receive a clean bill of health? (Presumably yes, if she had no case to answer)
- Was there a compromise agreement signed?
- Was there a gagging clause within the compromise agreement?
- Was there a confidentiality clause within the compromise agreement? (for me, this would also serve as a gag)
So, lots of questions but precious few of them have been answered in response to the FoI request I placed.
I’ve had a partial answer, and here’s what we now know…
- One director has received a redundancy payment during the period outlined
- The payment was made as the director’s post became redundant on 31st January 2014
- Within the time period specified, no other directors have left their post and signed compromise/settlement agreements
- One director was suspended from post pending an internal investigation
- The investigation did not lead to any disciplinary action being taken
- In the period specified, one employee has signed a compromise agreement
- The agreement did not contain a gagging clause
- The agreement contained a standard confidentiality clause, the intent of which is to protect the confidential nature of the agreement between the employer and employee
The Trust finished its response with an absolute corker. Get this…
In view of the response that the Trust has provided,
the rest of your questions are not applicable.
So, this trust is positioning itself above Parliament, above the Freedom of Information Act, and stating rather loftily that my requests for information are somehow inappropriate. I made the following annotation on the request and have asked for an internal review. Click on it to see the newspaper article referred to:
Apparently, Sue Green had previously raised concerns about a bullying culture within the trust. Could the suspension, the hidden allegations, the investigation, the report and the subsequent removal of Mrs Green have had something to do with this?
Perhaps Mrs Green would like to get in touch, if only to lift the lid on what’s been going on here. Now that Monitor have stopped looking, will the bullying be free to break out again and pick up where it left off, wrecking people’s lives?
Here’s the response to what looks like a relatively recent FoI request to the Trust. We can now confidently strike Sue Green, HR Director and Lesley Metcalfe, Deputy Director of Nursing from the list.
Hmmm, and one wonders whether Lesley Metcalfe was similarly suspended? I will make enquiries…