Published: 24/04/2003, Volume II3, No. 5825 Page 6 7

Commissioners for the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection are to demand that corporate governance of the organisation is tightened to prevent a repeat of the resignation of chief inspector Peter Homa.

Though the 10 commissioners have yet to be officially appointed, HSJ understands that all are in place (see box) and a number are thought to be unhappy with the way Dr Homa's resignation was handled.

Written guidelines on the corporate governance structure of the organisation will be called for because of the hands-on role of shadow chair Professor Sir Ian Kennedy.

One CHAI commissioner told HSJ that they were angry the first contact between some commissioners and Sir Ian was a telephone call once the story of Dr Homa's departure had already broken.

They complained that there had been no attempt to consult or even tell people what was happening.

The commissioner said: 'I want to know to whom the chair is accountable. In my experience a chair is normally first among equals, but that doesn't seem to be the case.'

The commissioner went on to say there was an 'assumed collective responsibility' among board members and that they should be consulted about major decisions.

Another CHAI commissioner said it was imperative that corporate governance standards for CHAI were 'impeccable'.

The commissioner said it was important that the organisation achieved public confidence, and that would not be achieved by the commission's activities being 'trawled through the media'.

Both commissioners also said answers must be provided on the likely cost of Dr Homa's resignation.

Commissioners commissioned: the ten commanders

An official announcement of CHAI commissioners is to be made soon but HSJ understands that the ten are:

lKirshid Alam - head of personnel at charity St Mungo's

Shirley Pearce - professor of health psychology at the University of East Anglia

Sarah Blackburn - managing director of the Wayside Network

John Scampion - immigration services commissioner

Stephen Thornton - chief executive of the PPP Foundation

lqbal Singh - consultant physician in medicine for the elderly

Bruce Keogh - consultant cardiothoracic surgeon

Nick Partridge - chief executive, Terrence Higgins Trust

Melinda Letts - chair of the Long Term Medical Conditions Alliance

Paul Street - chief executive of Diabetes UK