Philp backs calls for more questions over Croydon PCT

Chris Philp, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Croydon South, used the platform of a local debating society this week to call for greater accountability over the mysteriously vanishing £27 million of public cash from Croydon’s former NHS Primary Care Trust.

Former Para John Power: still questioning the governance of the former Croydon PCT

Former Para John Power: still questioning the governance of the former Croydon PCT

In the audience at Monday’s Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society was John Power, the retired army colonel who chaired the Croydon PCT’s Audit Committee. Power is now a non-executive of the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and was the star witness at the joint inquiry by south-west London councils into the “mislaid” millions by the PCT. The PCT audit committee was chaired by Tory Croydon councillor David Fitze, but Croydon Labour’s leader Tony Newman was also on the PCT board, which was chaired by another Labour councillor, Toni Letts.

From the floor of the local debate, Power renewed his call for the former PCT chief executive Caroline Taylor and for the borough councillors who were on the PCT to testify to a re-opened inquiry. He received the backing of Philp.

“I think all three actually should come along and give an account of themselves as they all should be answerable to local people,” Philp said.

Philp was debating a motion against Andrew Pelling, the former Tory MP now a Town Hall election candidate for Labour. Pelling suggested that Taylor and Croydon’s councillors had probably been gagged by non-disclosure compromise agreements.

Such financial gagging orders were an element in the Stafford Hospital scandal and their use has been criticised by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

Pelling said that the use of “funny accounting was motivated by a desire to protect services with insufficient funding for Croydon NHS services”.

One accounting practice that may have been used would see money “lent” overnight to a PCT by another NHS body for the purposes of “decorating” the annual accounts, hiding the financial black hole. The funds would then be “returned” the next day.

Pelling said that the investigation into the PCT’s finances had been compromised by its politicisation, accusing Croydon Council’s Tory leader, Mike Fisher, of “wanting to catch out the Labour leader Tony Newman and Labour’s councillor Letts and be willing to take the collateral damage of sacrificing fellow Tory David Fitze”.

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This entry was posted in 2014 council elections, 2015 General Election, Andrew Pelling, Chris Philp MP, Coulsdon, Croydon South, David Wood, Health, Mayday Hospital, Mike Fisher, Toni Letts, Tony Newman and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Philp backs calls for more questions over Croydon PCT

  1. We need a Croydon code of conduct to ensure that the same people do not keep appearing on every committee, ie there should be some basic guidelines whereby people cannot serve in multiple roles and that a real effort is made to draw in as wide a group of good quality people as possible to all of these local boards.

    That way there would be:
    a. proper checks and balances within and between organisations;
    b. some kind of limit on people leaving the Council employment and then turning up on Boards which are dependent on Council funding;
    c. less suspicion that everything is a closed shop between a very small group of people;
    d. less politics and watching “friends” reputations and more delivery of good quality services at a fair price.

    • There is a local authority Code of Conduct already, Charlotte. It’s just that Mike Fisher and this council picks and chooses when it applies the moral code, and when it ignores it.

      A code of practice, with some of the points you suggest here, would see the Town Hall run on a far more ethical and accountable basis. So we won’t see that happening any time soon…

  2. David Aston says:

    The transparency of Croydon’s Council changed when the Labour Party formed the so called Inner Cabinet where all the major decisions are taken by just a “chosen” few. The rest of the Councillors attend sub committees to claim their “salaries” but achieve nothing. They then finish up sitting in the Council Meetings like rotting cabbages.

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