• NHS England investigated the CCG’s pay structure after complaints from MP
  • Report says governing body members at Liverpool CCG were paid ”significantly higher” than peer group
  • NHS England will liaise with Department of Health to ensure remuneration guidance for CCGs includes population measures

NHS England is to update its guidance on pay for clinical commissioning groups after a review found “significantly higher” remuneration levels at Liverpool CCG.

The national body investigated the CCG’s pay structure after complaints from an MP, and found that pay levels had been set without following appropriate governance procedures.

The findings resulted in the resignation of lay vice-chair Professor Maureen Williams, who had a salary of £100,000-£105,000.

The CCG has now published NHS England’s full report within its July board papers, which says: “Remuneration of NHS Liverpool CCG’s governing body members, excluding GP members, in financial year 2015-16 was significantly higher than a peer group of 10 other CCGs selected based on allocation…

“The chair, chief finance officer and chief nurse had the highest pay in their peer group; the chief officer had the second highest pay in their peer group; the two lay members were paid significantly more than any of their peer group; the practice nurse and secondary care doctor were paid significantly more than any of their peer group.”

The CCG has commissioned independent consultants to review its governing body pay in relation to NHS England’s guidance and the prevailing approach at similar CCGs.

The report says NHS England will liaise with the Department of Health to ensure remuneration guidance for CCGs includes population measures to help determine pay levels for the most senior staff.

Liverpool CCG is one of the largest in England, covering a population of more than 500,000 and with 90 member practices.

Katherine Sheerin, chief officer of the CCG, told HSJ: “We’ve accepted that we got some of our decision making processes wrong, and we are happy to share that and put things right. We will learn from this and move forward.

“It would be very helpful if the [NHS England] guidance was clearer, so that it’s clear which population measure should be used and whether there should be a weighting for complexity.”

The current guidance, written in 2012, says remuneration for lay members should be “in line with non-executive director payments in other NHS organisations”. Non-executive directors’ pay for NHS trusts is capped at £6,100, however foundation trusts are not bound by this.

Trust NEDs are typically contracted for two days a month, whereas Professor Williams was contracted for more than 80 hours a month.

According to the CCG’s annual report, Ms Sheerin’s salary was between £155,000 and £160,000 in 2015-16. Chief finance officer Tom Jackson was paid between £145,000 and £150,000, chief nurse Jane Lunt was paid between £115,000 and £120,000, and chair Dr Nadim Fazlani, whose salary includes “backfill” costs for his GP practice, received £150,000 to £155,000. These figures exclude pension benefits.

NHS England’s review was sparked by complaints from West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, who said: “It is not sufficient for the chair of the remuneration board to simply stand down, the governing Body should resign and pay back the monies they’ve grabbed.”