To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what cognisance NHS Improvement took of the oral contribution of the Minister for Health of 27 June 2018, Official Report, column 1002, on irregularities of process that had taken place including at NHS Improvement in respect of the appointment process for the Chair of the Blackpool Trust, Pearse Butler, when advising the Chair of the Trust between June 2019 and September 2019 on those matters.
There were a number of issues raised around the appointment process for the Chair of the Blackpool Trust on 27 June 2018. NHS foundation trusts operate within a clear accountability framework. It is for the governors of a Foundation Trust to appoint the chair. NHS Improvement is not involved in the recruitment of chairs of foundation trusts unless there is a breach of the licence. In the appointment of the Chair of Blackpool Trust the Chief Executive voluntarily stood down from all of the interview process prior to the appointment.
The recommendations arising from the Kirkup Review and subsequent Kark Review provide a mandate for reviewing and strengthening NHS Improvement’s role in providing oversight and support relating to board-level appointments in both NHS trusts and foundation trusts.
The improvements being developed are informed by an appreciation that no single intervention in board appointments will result in provider organisations being better led. But, a more coherent, structured approach is needed - one that works across the whole life cycle of an individual board member and which is aligned to other leadership improvement initiatives.