Thursday, May 04, 2006
Cult Of The Ex-Con
We've already blogged the massive problems caused in the public sector by having amateur management at the helm, but what's going on at the North Surrey Primary Care Trust really takes the biscuit.
First the facts: the Times gives a succinct summary:
"A disgraced Navy woman sailor who was jailed for stealing £11,000 from her ship and deserting with her married Navy lover is now a senior NHS manager. Sylvie Panter, 39, became the first Navy woman to be sent to a civilian jail — for 18 months in 1994 — after she and Petty Officer Ian Luff fled with money from the safe on the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. She is now in charge of mental health planning at the North Surrey Primary Care Trust and is married to the trust’s chief executive, Nick Yeo."
Since reading this I've been unable to get my jaw closed.
First, this woman is in charge of millions of pounds of public funds. Yes, she's done her time, but it is inconceivable that a private sector firm would put a convicted thief in such a position: nobody could ever be entirely sure of her future behaviour, and neither shareholders nor the firm's insurers would accept it- it's all downside.
Second, there's the issue of her marriage to the chief executive. Even if- as is claimed- "Mr Yeo was not involved in the appointment process", in most public companies, such a situation would be completely unacceptable. Close relationships between senior members of staff- particularly direct reports- always give rise to potential conflicts of interest and collusion. In most FTSE100 companies either Mr or Mrs would have to leave.
Yet again, we find that working standards long taken for granted in large private sector companies, are entirely ignored in the public sector. It is outrageous. Why should taxpayers' money be treated in this cavalier and amateurish fashion?
I wonder what the good Doc Crippen would make of it.
PS As always, there's much more colour in the Sun's account, which tells us she and her lover were known as the Bonnie and Clyde of Invincible. Which would all be good titillating stuff if it were not so serious.
PPS As a customer of North Surrey PCT, I'm getting in touch with Mr Yeo to ask him what the hell he thinks he's playing at. You can too at Nick.email@example.com.
Posted by Mike D at 6:55 pm