Select Committee on Public Accounts Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 60 - 79)



  60. I am rather surprised at that, to be honest, because I would have thought it would be an obvious question the Committee would be asking.
  (Mr Crisp) Right.

  61. By all means come back on that. Now, he was sacked without any compensation whatsoever, which again is very unusual.
  (Mr Crisp) Right.

  62. His Chief Executive was also dismissed.
  (Mr Crisp) Yes.

  63. Now, the Chief Executive, on the other hand, did receive compensation. To what extent was he less at fault than the Chairman? Why did one receive compensation and another not, or did one have a better lawyer than the other?
  (Mr Crisp) My understanding of the situation, but again I think I may have to come back to you on this, is that we are actually talking about different arrangements for the employment of the Chairman and the employment of the Chief Executive. I am sorry I am not able to answer that.

  64. You see, you are presenting us with a genuine problem here.
  (Mr Crisp) Right.

  65. In that in a way the fact you are helps a point of view several of us hold because we find that normally we are told you are like the monarchy, there is a continuous flow.
  (Mr Crisp) Right.

  66. The Accounting Officer is dead, long live the Accounting Officer.
  (Mr Crisp) Yes.

  67. Therefore, the fact there has been a change of Accounting Officer should make no difference whatsoever to the nature of the advice we are given.
  (Mr Crisp) Yes.

  68. Here it is clear that there is a difference. I am not criticising you. It does, in a way, undermine some of the arguments from some of your Permanent Secretary colleagues who do not like the practice we are developing of calling back witnesses from the past.
  (Mr Crisp) Okay. Let me apologise, first of all, for not having actually expected you to ask this question, and therefore not getting myself briefed. I have actually now just ascertained that the position that I thought was the case is the case. That is that the Chief Executive had a contract and the Chairman did not, and that is typically so of special health authorities. Different conditions therefore apply to Chairs as they do to Chief Executives. Therefore, the issue with the Chief Executive is that you have to go through all the normal processes you go through with an employee—

  69. In sacking the Chief Executive he got six months' pay. What did that amount to?
  (Mr Crisp) £43,000.

  70. He received £43,000. Then there was breach of contract. What did he receive for that?
  (Mr Crisp) £65,000.

  71. £65,000. Then there was a contribution to his pension.
  (Mr Crisp) Yes, of £124,000.

  72. £124,000. So he ended up with £232,000 for making a mess of his job. Think what he would have got if he had got performance pay on top of it?
  (Mr Crisp) Yes.

  73. You must have really wanted to get rid of him.
  (Mr Crisp) He also had a contract within which we have to operate and the grounds for terminating the contract were such that there was a liability for a claim for damages for breach of contract.

  74. I suppose it is an alternative route to going on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. It is not bad, is it, for failure, a quarter of a million pounds?
  (Mr Crisp) May I just make the additional point that, of course, he did not actually get the additional £124,000 in money, that went into his pension account.

  75. I am sure he might be inclined to feel he got it.
  (Mr Crisp) Right.

  76. If you feel it does not make a lot of difference, if you would like to put £124,000 into the pension account of each one of us sitting here, I am sure we would be grateful and we would acknowledge that we had received some material benefit from it.
  (Mr Crisp) I understand the point.

  77. It does not take a lot of understanding, does it.
  (Mr Crisp) There is a contractual issue here.

  78. We have come across this before.
  (Mr Crisp) The Chief Executives in this sort of position are entitled to appropriate contracts of employment.

  79. One looks at someone like this who makes a mess of his job and then you look at haemophiliacs who have been infected with HIV and they are innocent victims and you look at the way they are treated. It was the fault of the Service that it happened.
  (Mr Crisp) I understand the point that you are making on that. We need to run a Blood Service that is both safe and responsive to its customers, as Mr Rendel has been stressing, and employs people in a proper and appropriate way.

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