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Our letter to the Secretary of State on the Grant Thornton report

Updated on 23 September 2013

The CQC has received a formal complaint from solicitors acting for Jill Finney, Pinsent Mason LLP, about references to her in the report below. In particular she denies that she suppressed the Louise Dineley report and criticises aspect of Grant Thornton’s process as unfair.

20 June 2013

Dear Secretary of State,

Following the publication of the independent report by Grant Thornton into CQC's monitoring and oversight of University Hospitals Morecambe Bay, this letter provides you with an update on our decision following the further advice we have received regarding the naming of individuals in the report.

As you know, this is a report CQC always wanted in the public domain as part of being an open and transparent organisation. We are changing the culture of the organisation and the commissioning and publication of this report symbolises that approach.

You will be aware that we took legal advice in order to ensure that we were able to publish the report at our public board meeting. That advice raised certain risks if the report was not anonymised, including breaches of the Data Protection Act.

We have reviewed the issues again with our legal advisors (and taken into account the comments of the Information Commissioner). In the light of this further consideration, we have come to the view that the overriding public interest in transparency and accountability gives us sufficient grounds to disclose the names of the individuals who were anonymised in the report.

The report identifies the key actions and decisions taken by the individuals involved although, as the report makes clear, some of these actions are disputed. Nevertheless, CQC has taken the decision to publish the names of the key individuals, both past and current employees of CQC, that were either involved in the meeting, interviewed by Grant Thornton or who were referred to in the report.

There were four members of staff present when the discussion about deletion occured:

  • Mr E: Cynthia Bower - former Chief Executive - resigned
  • Mr F: Anna Jefferson - Media Manager - current employee
  • Mr G: Jill Finney - former Deputy Chief Executive - resigned
  • Mr J: Louise Dineley - Head of Regulatory Risk & Quality - current employee

Other individuals interviewed by Grant Thornton about the meeting but not present:

  • Mr B: Dame Jo Williams - former Chair - resigned
  • Mr D: Amanda Sherlock - former Director of Operations - redundant

The other senior individuals referred to in the report are:

  • Mr C: Louise Guss - former Director of Governance and Legal Services - redundant
  • Mr K: Dr Martin Marshall - former Board member - term ended
  • Mr N: Sue McMillan - former Regional Director, North West - current employee

Of the other two, 'L' works for another organisation, 'H' is a junior member of staff and neither were involved in a decision to 'cover up'. 3 letters - 'A', 'I' and 'M' were not used.

Since the publication of the report, we are seeking advice on whether there is any appropriate action that might be taken in relation to the named individuals and we will keep you advised of this.

We have also today decided to publish CQC's internal review into our regulatory activities into UHMB. (This is available below)

David Prior (Chairman) and David Behan (Chief Executive).