The scrolling images above are of board members , directors and senior managers of SABP and MCCH Society Ltd. These images are already available online on SABP's and MCCH's own websites. Click on images for details of who these people are.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Patiently Waiting

Originally uploaded by Paulo Vizeu.

Loved this pic by Paulo Vizeu on Flickr, reminded me of resolve . Have been bit ill over the last couple of weeks but I'm still waiting for SABP to formally acknowledge that I am not happy with its response to my complaint about Fiona and hubby Mark Edwards of Softools using the Trust for their own ends and Stanley Riseborough , SABP's User Involvment chappy no less, has yet to get back to me about progressing my complaint to next stage of the NHS complaints process. Stanley has been formally asked to do this and Fiona has been copied in so you have to wonder what the problem is.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Highcroft Lifebook Video

While Surrey & Borders , the Surrey PCT and various unaccountable and largely self-interested mental health charities have been wasting time and public money dithering over the future of the Old Moat Garden Centre Paul Brian Tovey and a few other determined people up in Birmingham have got a user led Birmingham Arts group off the ground and Paul's own enabling work - the lifebook project - can be seen in the following video.

The Making Of The Highcroft Lifebook

For more details on obtaining the full video and getting more info on the Birmingham Arts group go here


Monday, April 02, 2007

SABP's Long Delayed Official Response to Conflict of Interest Issue

I recently received the following from Stanley Riseborough , SABP's Director of Nursing and User Involvment. Mr Riseborough makes no attempt to explain why Fiona Edwards husband's firm Softools immediately removed all references to SABP from its website after I posted that the company was profiting from showcasing work undertaken for an NHS Trust ran by his wife.

This advertising was aimed at other NHS Trusts.

Unlike Mr Riseborough , Mark Edwards, co-founder and a Director of Softools, clearly saw that there was a conflict of interest in his firm citing work done for the Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust as an example of its expertise without acknowledging that he was married to its Chief Executive.

There is also very little evidence that SABP now runs more efficiently, indeed the bodged reform of SABP's work services - how much has this cost taxpayers? - suggests otherwise as does the inability of the Trust to respond to FOIA requests for information and complaints within the deadlines set down by the NHS and Parliament.

Softools also did work for one of the PCT's connected with SABP extending the circle of officials who should have made sure that the husband and wife relationship was openly declared by both Softools and SABP to avoid suspicions of insider dealing , kickbacks and corruption.

If there was nothing wrong here, Mark Edwards would not have removed all mention of his wife's Trust from the Softools website to ditch the smoking gun.

Given the context of SABP originally cutting the pitiful payments it was making to its own service users and its official reluctance to help create real job opportunities alongside appropriate non work related activities , care and support for its service users I think its fair comment to draw attention to the type of business and employment opportunities that are available to SABP's Chief Executive and her family.

Farnham Road Hospital
Farnham Road


Tel: 01483 443516


26th March 2007

Dear Mr Curley

Formal Complaint re Conflict of Interest

I write further to your telephone message and your e-mail, both dated 8 February 2007, in relation to the above matter. I understand that you have made a formal complaint upon the grounds that Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust (the “Trust”) have commissioned an IT service from a Company with whom the Chief Executive of the Trust may have a conflict of interest.

I was asked to investigate the issues raised in your e-mail, as I had no involvement in the procurement process.

I have been asked to review your complaint in relation to the procurement of the services from the software company, Softools, and in particular, the fact that Mrs F Edwards, Chief Executive of the Trust is the wife of Mr Mark Edwards, the Technical Director of Softools.

In investigating your complaint I have reviewed all of the procurement paperwork in relation to the commissioning of Softools, alongside numerous Board Minutes from the Trust Board meetings at which the commissioning of the work was discussed. Please find below a summary of the Department of Health guidance, together with the Trust’s local Policy in relation to conflicts of interests, upon which I have based my decision:

1. NHS Code of Conduct

The NHS Code of Conduct of Accountability in the NHS (2004) (the “Code”) provides guidance for NHS Boards as to how they should ensure accountability and openness in conducting the business of their Trust. The Code states:

“It is a requirement that chairs and all board directors should declare any conflict of interest that arises in the course of conducting NHS business. All NHS organisations maintain a register of member’s interests to avoid any danger of board directors being influenced, or appearing to be influenced, by their private interests in the exercise of their public duties. All board members are therefore expected to declare any personal or business interest which may influence, or may be perceived to influence, their judgement. This should include, as a minimum, personal direct and indirect financial interests, and should normally also include such interests of close family members. Indirect financial interests arise from connections with bodies which have a direct financial interest, or from being a business partner of, or being employed by, a person with such an interest.”

2. A Guide for NHS Boards

The Department of Health have also published “Governing the NHS: A Guide for NHS Boards” (the “Guide”) which provides guidance on effective Board Management and the Roles of Board Members. It draws on the recommendations of the Higgs Report and was published in June 2003 and states that “conflicts of Interest must be detailed and registered”.

3. Standards of Business Conduct Policy

The Trust have an internal Policy for ensuring standards of business conduct. The Policy, at paragraph 14 states:

“An employee has responsibility for declaring any relevant interests including:

(iii) whether their cohabiting partner has any employment business or other relationship that conflicts, or might reasonably be predicated to conflict with the interests of the Trust.

…A Declaration of Interests Form is attached to these Guidelines”

Procurement of Services from Softools

I have reviewed the paperwork in relation to the procurement of services from Softools and note that Mrs Edwards’ interest was declared at the initial meeting about IT development. Mrs Edwards complied with the Trust’s own policy by declaring her interest in Softools at the first opportunity, and an entry was accordingly made on the Register of Interests of Directors available on the Trust’s website.

Mrs Edwards also complied with both the Code and the Guidance by declaring her interest at the outset. Both the Trust Board and the Trust’s Audit Committee were made aware of the interest and it was duly noted at meetings.

I have reviewed all of the procurement paperwork in relation to Softools and can find no reference to Mrs Edwards’ involvement in the discussions. Once she declared her interest, there is nothing to suggest she took any further part in the procurement exercise.

Mrs Edwards complied fully with guidance and policy at both a local and at a national level to ensure that the procurement process was not influenced, nor could it have been perceived to have been influenced by her relationship with a Director of Softools.

Mrs Edwards played no part in the decision to award the contract to Softools and that the decision was made by the Transition Projects Team and the Trust Board based on the information that they were given. I therefore find that there was no conflict of interest in the procurement of services from Softools.

If you would like to discuss this matter any further, please do not hesitate to contact me at the above address.

Yours sincerely


Director of Nursing and Service User Involvement


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