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Right Arrow Concluding statement on whistleblowing investigation
29 June 2017 at 13:25
Following a number of whistleblowing complaints made in 2015, the Trust undertook rigorous and detailed investigations into allegations against four members of senior management. They were the former Chief Executive, the former Director of HR and Communications, the former Chief Operating Officer and the Deputy Director of Performance.

The investigation determined that the Deputy Director of Performance had no case to answer. Allegations against the remaining three individuals were taken to independent disciplinary panels for consideration.

An independent disciplinary panel exonerated the Chief Operating Officer of the allegations against her. Given that the Deputy Director of Performance and the former Chief Operating Officer were exonerated, it would not be in the public interest to release the details of the unproven allegations against them.

Following a disciplinary hearing and subsequent appeal, which was successful in part, it was found that the former Director of HR and Communications had committed misconduct and would have been dismissed had she not retired from her position before the disciplinary hearing. The findings of the independent panel were that she had:

• Failed to follow HR due process in relation to recruitment and disciplinary procedures on several occasions
• Negligently failed to maintain a grip of a key national HR project leading to potential financial loss to the Trust

It was further found, by a separate independent disciplinary panel and appeal panel, that the former Chief Executive had committed gross misconduct. He was dismissed without notice. The nature of the findings against the former Chief Executive were that he had:

• Negligently breached the Trust’s governance arrangements on a number of occasions
• Failed to comply with the Trust and the NHS’s conduct requirements in his approach to whistleblowing complaints
• Failed to meet required conduct standards in his behaviour towards colleagues
• Breached his duty of confidentiality towards the Trust

As the Trust has previously confirmed, no aspect of the whistleblowing complaints, investigation or disciplinary processes related to issues of patient care or safety. The Trust can also confirm that neither the former Chief Executive nor the former Director of HR and Communications derived a personal benefit (financial or otherwise) from their actions.

Richard Fraser, Trust Chair, said: “Throughout this process, the Trust has aimed to ensure fairness to the individuals concerned while acknowledging a legitimate public interest in the timescale and costs involved.

“We believe by disclosing this new information today we are meeting that public interest. The Trust does not consider that it would be in the public interest to provide any further information. No further comment will be made on this matter.”

Issued by Tony Ellis, Marketing and Communications Manager
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Telephone 01704 704494
Twitter @SONHSTrust

Notes for editors:

1. The costs incurred to the Trust between August 2015 and March 2017 in relation to the whistleblowing investigation and subsequent disciplinary proceedings are as follows:

Legal advice 204,804
Investigation charges
Good Governance Institute 226,916
Investigations by Design 79,529
Ibex Gale 63,446
Interim directors 819,660
Total 1,394,355

Further information is available in the Annual Report and Accounts 2016/17 on the Trust website.

2. Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust manages Southport and Formby District General Hospital and Ormskirk and District General Hospital. The North West Regional Spinal Injuries is hosted by the Trust from Southport hospital. We also provide sexual health services across the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton.