STRUCTURE: A South West mental health trust has deferred its foundation trust application amid concerns about quality governance.

Devon Partnership Trust’s application has been with Monitor since the beginning of the year. Recently published board minutes reveal the trust has asked Monitor for a deferral to “address improvements to quality governance scoring”.

Quality governance was identified as an issue in the trust’s tripartite formal agreement last year. Concerns related to care provided to four patients who killed people during 2006-07 and an initial restriction on the trust’s registration with the Care Quality Commission which has since been removed.

A paper to October’s board meeting highlighted “risks” in “relation to the safeguarding team capacity” and reported initial feedback from a joint CQC/Ofsted review of children’s safeguarding had noted “variable practice”.

Chief executive Iain Tulley left the £130m turnover trust this month to join Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Trust which has major quality governance issues of its own. He has been replaced on an interim basis by Peter Cubbon, former chief executive of West London Mental Health Trust.

The trust now hopes to be authorised in April 2013.

A spokesman said: “We have a high degree of confidence in the quality of our services and the robustness of our quality assurance systems and processes. 

“However, some further work needs to be done to embed these processes and to ensure a consistent approach to quality governance at all levels of the organisation.”