Report into Brent PCT £25m deficit finds catalogue of financial management and corporate governance failings

An independent report commissioned by NHS London has found “serious and serial failings” in the leadership of Brent PCT during 2006/07, together with a catalogue of financial management and corporate governance problems. The findings contained in the report, conducted by independent investigator Mr Michael Taylor, include:

– The PCT Board failed, over a number of years, to exercise a competent oversight role in respect of the organisation’s financial affairs.

– The PCT Board failed to ensure that balance existed between its developmental work and executive grip.

– The Non-Executive arm of the PCT Board was culpable of failing to monitor agreed action by members of the Executive Team.

– The PCT’s Clinical and Corporate Governance Committee had very thorough debates about Clinical Governance matters. It did not exercise an effective oversight role of other aspects of Corporate Governance including financial risk and financial standards.

– In 2005 and 2006, the PCT indicated that it was Fully Compliant in the area of governance. These were erroneous Declarations.

– The PCT’s Audit Committee considered many matters in fine detail. This resulted in time being unavailable to ensure that follow-up action to Audit Reports had been properly carried through by the executive members of the Committee. Similarly, the Audit Committee did not drill-down, with regularity, into the underlying financial health of the PCT.

– Appraisal of NEDs was regular and comprehensive. Appraisal of EDs was a more problematical area, with the majority indicating that this task was at best ad hoc.

– Overall, there was “Inadequate Corporate Governance machinery.”

The full report can be downloaded at: www.london.nhs.uk/londonnhs-news.aspx?id_Content=7428

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