Friday, February 09, 2007

Two Sues Out To Grass

At least this bunch aren't tax-funded

BOM readers will be familiar with the Two Sues, Osborn and Williams, who were the job-sharing joint chief executives of the rubbish £35m pa National Patient Safety Agency (see all relevant posts here).
With MRSA and other plague bugs raging through the NHS, they were suspended last August pending an inquiry into their manifest managerial failure. Now, finally, they have been dispensed with. Well, specifically, at 54, they have been given early retirement.

Tyler has no problem with early retirement per se. But let's be clear- this has cost taxpayers a packet.

First, there's the £90 grand they have been paid while on six months gardening leave (translation- while senior DoH officials faffed and wibbled around wondering what to do). Then there's the probable £50-100 grand paid for their temporary replacement CEO. And don't forget the cost of all those crisis management knock-ons, including hiring headhunters to fill the £130 grand pa post permanently.

And of course, there's the cost of their early retirement package. Full pension at 54? You wouldn't want to bet against it. Six years early, contributions waived... got to be £1-2 mill.

From the NPSA to the Rural Payments Agency to Eastbourne Primary Care Trust, the public sector routinely uses our cash to reward failure. Early retirement packages are a classic.

But what we still really need to know is who decided to appoint these people in the first place? And why weren't they properly assessed during their time in post? Why did the problems not come to light until the NAO investigated? Where's the accountability there?

In particular, who on earth thought it was a good idea to appoint job-sharing CEOs to run a £35m pa "business" in the first place? As we said last August:

"Can you think of any large commercial organisation that has a job-share as Chief Exec? No neither can we. You might have job-shares among junior staff doing routine jobs, but commonsense tells you the CEO has to be on the case 24/7, pulling the whole thing together and taking the ultimate responsibility."

The two Sues aren't the only ones who should be heading for the donkey sanctuary.

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