We got there, this is from the ‘Mail online’, 20/6/13, heavily edited by me;
The toxic order telling a CQC official to suppress his critical internal review was issued at a meeting on March 12 last year at the regulator’s London office.
Present with the official – named only as Mr J – in the Finsbury Tower building were chief executive Cynthia Bower, her deputy Jill Finney and a third senior official, whose identity is not known.
In the redacted report, commissioned by the CQC from consultants Grant Thornton, the three officials are identified as Mr E, Mr F and Mr G.
Grant Thornton does not say which letter relates to which individual, although it has confirmed that genders have been changed.
Mr J said Mr G ‘gave him an instruction to delete his report and that Mr E supported him in this, as did Mr F’.
The report continues: ‘According to Mr J, the reason for Mr G giving this instruction was that the report was damaging for the CQC and posed a “FOI” [freedom of information] risk.
‘Mr J claimed that Mr G said to him “Read my lips” when he gave him the instruction.’
Mr J produced a handwritten contemporaneous note of the meeting to support his allegations.
When Grant Thornton spoke to Mr G he was ‘somewhat equivocal’ about what had occurred.
At an initial interview he said ‘he was not sure’ whether there had been an instruction to destroy the report. Questioned a second time, he claimed he could not remember as far back as March 2012.
When asked if he had instructed Mr J to delete the report , Mr G replied that he did not as ‘he would not have been authorised to do so’, which, says Grant Thornton, ‘was somewhat ambiguous, although preceded by a denial’.
Grant Thornton concluded that when given the chance to explain himself at two interviews Mr G ‘did not unequivocally deny’ giving the instruction. Mr F was also ‘somewhat equivocal’. When asked if he recalled anyone giving an instruction to delete Mr J’s report his first answer was that he did not. When asked a second time, he replied that he could not say whether the instruction was given but if it had been he could not think why he had not acted upon it, ‘which is not a denial that the instruction was given’.
Mr E’s answer was much more clear-cut. ‘He “had no recollection of the meeting but said that an instruction of that sort” would have stuck in his mind.’ None of the three produced notes of the meeting.
The report concluded: ‘Of the four accounts we were given during the course of the of our enquiries, we find Mr J’s version the most reliable.’
After all this nonsense of ‘Mr J, Mr E and Mr G’, a few hours later Channel 4 news revealed everything, although for legal reasons, they and I are publishing ‘denials’ as well.
These are extracts from their website, heavily edited by me;
Former CQC boss Cynthia Bower, her former deputy Jill Finney and current CQC media manager Anna Jefferson are named as the officials accused of covering up inspection failures at a Cumbrian hospital.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had redacted the senior managers' names from a damning report which detailed the alleged cover-up of an internal review highlighting a failure of inspections of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.
The report described how "Mr G", who we now know was Jill Finney, uttered the ominous words "read my lips" when telling the author of the report to get rid of it.
Current CQC media manager Anna Jefferson was quoted in the report as saying "are you kidding me? This can never be in a public domain, nor subject to FoI (Freedom of Information request)".
Louise Dineley, the author of the damning internal report, told independent investigators that Ms Finney had ordered the deletion of the report and that Ms Bower and Ms Jefferson had "verbally agreed".
Cynthia Bower, former chief executive of the CQC, and her deputy, Ms Finney, have since left the CQC, but Ms Jefferson is still in post.
Denials of deletion
Cynthia Bower, 57, became CQC chief executive in 2008 but left the organisation last year after the publication of a report, critical of the CQC, with a pension pot of over £1.3m. In a statement, she said she regretted any regulation failings, but denied ordering that the critical report be deleted.
"I gave no instruction to delete any such report; I have no note or recollection of such instruction being given. Had I heard any such instruction, I would have countermanded it.
"The report was, in fact, never deleted and indeed a copy was provided to Grant Thornton," she said in a statement.
Ms Finney was behind the CQC's response to the Francis report into the Mid Staffs scandal. She was on a salary of up to £145,000 after being appointed Ms Bower's deputy and director of communications and marketing in 2009, but left the CQC in February and now works for the internet company Nominet.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms Jefferson has been at the CQC since February 2003. She also denied the allegations, and said the quote attributed to her was "false, uncorroborated and has since been retracted, I am appalled that it appears in the report".
Nominet has now fired Ms Finney. What a shame.
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