Select Committee on Public Accounts Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 160-179)


28 FEBRUARY 2007

  Q160  Mr Bacon: Fine; I just want to be sure about that. The meeting that is referred to in paragraph 1.9 is a meeting "in November 2004 between the Chief Executive of Dr Foster Ltd, the Group Director of Strategy and Business Development and the Chair of the NHS Appointments Commission who is also Chair of the Department's Commercial Advisory Board". Can you just say who in that meeting was the Group Director of Strategy and Business Development?

  Mr Taylor: Me.

  Q161  Mr Bacon: That is you?

  Mr Taylor: Yes.

  Q162  Mr Bacon: Yes, I thought so. Who was the Chair of the NHS Appointments Commission who was also Chair of the Commercial Advisory Board?

  Mr Taylor: Sir William Wells.

  Q163  Mr Bacon: And who was the Chief Executive of Dr Foster Ltd?

  Mr Taylor: Tim Kelsey.

  Q164  Mr Bacon: And he is the same Chief Executive referred to in paragraph 1.28, "One of the key assets of Dr Foster Ltd, its Chief Executive ..."; this is on page 19. That again refers to Tim Kelsey?

  Mr Taylor: Yes.

  Q165  Mr Bacon: With regard to the put option, which was referred to in paragraph 1.55, and Mr Dunne asked about this earlier, is there a minimum price at which the put option can be put on to you? Are you obliged to pay a certain amount?

  Professor Lievesley: We are obliged to pay the market value and that is independently assessed.

  Q166  Mr Bacon: By whom?

  Professor Lievesley: That is to be determined by us.

  Q167  Mr Bacon: So you can go out to independent advisers and figure out what it is worth?

  Professor Lievesley: That is right. That is exactly the situation.

  Q168  Mr Bacon: My next question is about the present Chief Executive; this is Jake Arnold Forster. What is his background?

  Mr Taylor: He is, I think, a journalist by background who has been with Dr Foster, I think, since pretty early on.

  Q169  Mr Bacon: I have come across something here which I found on an organisation called It says, "Googling Jake Arnold Foster returns a website document dated 23 January 1996 referring to a public hearing of the Nolan Committee study into local government where a witness of that name"—Jake Arnold Forster; it is Forster, not Foster, by the way,—"is listed as the deputy editor of the Local Government Chronicle. This is the same person, is it not?

  Professor Lievesley: That is the same person. He worked for EMAC before.

  Q170  Mr Bacon: Yes. He was the Managing Director of EMAC Public Sector Management?

  Professor Lievesley: That is right.

  Q171  Mr Bacon: What is the relationship between Jake Arnold Forster, who is now Chief Executive of Dr Foster, and Josh Arnold Forster?

  Professor Lievesley: I have never heard of Josh Arnold Forster.

  Q172  Mr Bacon: I am looking at an answer to a parliamentary question on 21 July 2005 and lists special advisers, and there is somebody called Josh Arnold Forster who is listed as the special adviser to the Secretary of State for Defence. When I googled Josh Arnold Forster I got loads of things suggesting that Josh Arnold Forster was a journalist. I do not know if Josh Arnold Forster and Jake Arnold Forster are the same person or not. Do you?

  Professor Lievesley: I have never heard of Josh Arnold Forster, so I would not be able to say if they were the same person.

  Q173  Mr Bacon: Is it possible that it is the same person, Josh and Jake are after all diminutives? Is it possible that this is the same person?

  Professor Lievesley: It is possible.

  Q174  Mr Bacon: But you do not know that?

  Professor Lievesley: No.

  Q175  Mr Bacon: Who was the Secretary of State for Defence at that time?

  Mr Taylor: When was this, sorry?

  Q176  Mr Bacon: This was in 2005. I have a feeling it was Dr John Reid, was it not?

  Mr Taylor: It may have been, yes. It probably was.

  Q177  Mr Bacon: And had he not been Secretary of State for Health before that?

  Mr Taylor: He was, yes.

  Q178  Mr Bacon: Is it possible you could find out, since he was a government employee, this Josh Arnold Forster, if it is the same person or not, or perhaps if they are brothers?

  Mr Taylor: I am sure we can find out.[11] What I am sure about is that Jake Arnold Forster was not a special adviser to John Reid in 2005.

  Q179  Mr Bacon: Okay. It would be helpful if we could be clear about the relationship, if there is one, because it is quite an unusual name. Matt Tee was the person you were referring to earlier when you talked about the employees?

  Mr Taylor: Yes.

11   Note by witness: Jake Arnold-Forster and Josh Arnold-Forster are brothers. Only Jake Arnold-Forster had any involvement with the subject of this Report, as Chief Executive of Dr Foster intelligence. Josh Arnold-Forster has never been either a civil servant or a special advisor in the Department of Health. Back

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Prepared 18 July 2007