According to www.publicservice.co.uk (the information portal for the public sector, 7 January 2009) Stoke-on-Trent Primary Care Trust (PCT), now NHS Stoke-on-Trent, made Lee Whitehead its new director of planning and modernisation but had to sack him when they found out that he had lied on his curriculum vitae (CV) about having a Master’s degree and a doctorate. Not only did Whitehead lose his £78,000-a-year job, but he has also been sent to prison for 12 weeks after the Department of Work and Pensions decided to take the matter to court.
According to a report in the Stoke-on-Trent Sentinel newspaper, Whitehead said in November 2006 that he had a first class science degree, a post-graduate science degree, a PhD in psychology, and that he was a member of the British Psychological Society. The only truthful statement was that he had a science degree but it was second class. The irony is that none of these made up qualifications were needed for him to get the job.
Paul Kay, prosecuting for the DWP, said: “The post-holder was not required to hold either a Master’s or a PhD, or be a member of the BPS. But clearly these assisted him in getting the job.”
It wasn’t any checks made by the PCT that brought Whitehead’s lies to light but another member of staff who was suspicious about his qualifications. When the PCT then challenged Whitehead he failed to provide any proof and the bodies he said he studied at and was a member of had no record of him. The court heard Whitehead had told the same lies to get his previous job with another PCT.
A spokesman for NHS Stoke-on-Trent said their selection procedures had been tightened up, adding: “We weren’t the first organisation Mr Whitehead made his irresponsible claims to. People can be assured that we have strict checks in place to ensure that all our staff are qualified to do their jobs.”