EDP: Call made to ‘end culture of pay outs’ in public sector – as it was revealed mental health boss will work six more months

On the front page of the Eastern Daily Press, Geraldine Scott reports:

Call made to ‘end culture of pay outs’ in public sector – as it was revealed mental health boss will work six more months.

It comes as it was revealed the chief executive of the region’s failing mental health trust will be paid £87,000 over the course of the next six months, despite announcing his retirement last month.

Can it be right that NSFT can afford to spend £150,000 on two Chief Executives over the next six months, with only one doing the job, but NSFT can’t afford to open enough beds for patients?

When Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) issued a press release last month that Michael ‘Pay off’ Scott had left the organisation and retired, it was a lie. Michael Scott hasn’t left the trust and hasn’t taken his enormous pension.

NSFT can’t stop lying. A press release issued yesterday claimed:

[The new Finance Director’s] appointment comes after previous Director of Finance Julie Cave became Interim Chief Executive following Michael Scott’s retirement at the end of September.

What kind of ‘work’ for £87,000 during Michael ‘Pay off’ Scott’s so-called ‘retirement’?

Will Michael ‘Pay out’ Scott be coming to the office every day for his £175,000 per year? He’s still being paid more than the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

We are going to use NHS Board meetings, the Freedom of Information Act and NHS regulators to make sure that Michael ‘Pay out’ Scott does genuinely work for the NHS commensurate with his massive salary of £14,583.33 per month, works all his hours and that this ‘work’ is monitored properly. We expect him to come into Hellesdon Hospital every single day.

As an NHS employee, Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils’ Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees and the CCGs will be able to compel Michael ‘Pay off’ Scott to appear before them in public.

We are not going to let Scott spend his time and the NHS’ money going on long-haul holidays, running triathlons, sitting in his garden or watching day-time TV.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) said this was the “best value for NHS money” instead of paying off Michael Scott with a lump sum.

The trust said he was instead working his notice period, but it was not clear what duties he would be taking on over the half-year period.

Michael ‘Pay off’ Scott doesn’t appear to have wanted to take responsibility to put right the Care Quality Commission failure: he wanted to leave before the announcement. So, there was no need to pay him anything at all. Nothing. Gary Page could have told Michael ‘Pay off’ Scott “Do the press conferences and television interviews.” That Michael ‘Pay off’ Scott wouldn’t do his job, but still expected to be paid for it, explains why the CQC rated the leadership of NSFT as Inadequate.

NSFT doesn’t have any idea what Michael ‘Pay off’ Scott will be doing because the Board had no intention of the public discovering he was doing nothing and being paid £87,000. To see that, one only has to watch the misleading and disingenuous performances on BBC Look East by the Chair of NSFT, Gary Page, and the interim Chief Executive, Julie Cave.

Is it acceptable that the directors of an NHS trust believe they can behave like this towards the public? We are taking up the issue with the regulator of NHS trusts, NHS Improvement (NHSI).

Of course, Julie Cave was herself the beneficiary of an NHS pay off when the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) failed and was put into Special Measures.

Labour councillor Emma Corlett, who has campaigned for improved mental health services and sits on the council’s health overview and scrutiny committee (HOSC), said: “You wouldn’t normally work a notice period when you retire.”

And at yesterday’s full council meeting Michael Chenery of Horsborough, chairman of the HOSC, suggested Mr Scott had not been aware of his impending retirement announcement ahead of an NSFT private board meeting on September 28.

However, an NSFT spokesman said Mr Scott “advised the chair and the deputy chair of NSFT in the spring of his intention to announce his retirement after the summer.”

But he added: “No date for retirement was set at that time.”

How utterly complacent and incompetent. Why wasn’t Scott told to name a date and a recruitment process started?

We bet Michael ‘Pay-off’ Scott knew exactly what he was doing: Scott has national broadsheet fatcat form and wanted his pay-off.

If Michael ‘Pay-off’ Scott was an honourable man, he wouldn’t have sought or taken taxpayers’ money meant for patient care.

What kind of professional with any pride or self-respect would seek NHS funding for not doing their job?

During his notice period, Mr Scott will be performing an “extensive handover” and NSFT will then look at where his expertise could be used across the wider healthcare system.

Frankly, we don’t believe that.

Chloe Westley, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “This is a huge amount of taxpayers’ money being spent on pay offs for public sector bosses. Most of those working in the private sector couldn’t dream of packages like this and there’s no reason they should pay for public sector top brass to get them.

“Taxpayers don’t want to see their hard-earned cash funding executive pay-offs at a time when they are seeing their essential services come under threat.”

Norwich South MP, Labour’s Clive Lewis, said to someone on the outside it could look like “cronyism”.

He added: “It makes people have less faith in the system as a whole. It seems like a revolving door for senior managers who find more and more excuses while budgets are being cut.”

It is cronyism.

If you meet Michael Scott, tell him what you think of his behaviour.

While Conservative MP for Norwich North, Chloe Smith, said: “Taxpayers are rightly concerned about big or concealed severance packages because it’s their money. I believe that overly generous executive packages can do damage to public services too because the hardworking frontline would feel it is unfair.”

In July, it was reported a former Suffolk mental health boss who received a £54,000 payment after resigning rejoined the NHS three months later in a top role at Colchester Hospital.

Shameless Alison Armstrong.

Three options at NSFT

An NSFT spokesman said there were three options when handling Michael Scott’s retirement.

He said: “The first is to pay the individual in lieu of notice. This means that a lump sum payment is made, calculated at six months’ full wage, and the person ceases to be an employee of the NHS.

“The second option is to ask the individual to work their notice period in situ. In this case, Michael would have continued to run NSFT for a further six months as CEO.

“The third option is that the individual remains on the NHS payroll as an employee during their six-month notice period, and fulfils other agreed work. Although the first option of a lump sum payment is common practice with very senior NHS staff, our trust felt that the most appropriate and best value for NHS money was to require that Michael work his notice period, but would no longer oversee the running of NSFT as CEO. Therefore, he will be fulfilling a six-month notice period with pay, as is the contractual obligation.”

This is untrue and it wasn’t a retirement.

Michael ‘Pay off’ Scott didn’t want to take responsibility for the CQC failure. Gary Page could have told Michael ‘Payrise’ Scott to work for his money or leave immediately without it.

But Gary Page didn’t.

Because, as Margaret Thatcher said, it is all too easy to spend other people’s money. Merchant bankers like Gary Page know all about that.

Click on the image below to read Geraldine Scott’s article in full on the EDP website:

127 thoughts on “EDP: Call made to ‘end culture of pay outs’ in public sector – as it was revealed mental health boss will work six more months”

  1. NSFT consistently bleats about ‘negative press’ but then proceeds to shoot itself in the foot again and again and again.

    It would be great to actually have some faith in the weekly platitudes that arrive via trust email but each time it only reveals a wider and wider disparity between reality and what the trust want their employees to think.

    The worst aspect of all this is that senior management seem to think that their staff have no capacity for critical thought and simply absorb their preachings like tablets of stone from above. I can disabuse the board of this view here and now.

    Worst of all – the BBC and others via their reality programmes every day show the NHS in the best possible light as an organisation staffed by selfless and intrinsically caring people and for the majority of the front line staff I could support this. Problematically the senior staff demonstrate their cynical and self-serving nature every time their behaviour is put under close inspection.

    Sack the ENTIRE board – they have presided over a collective failure of immense proportions.

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