A former mental health trust chief executive, who resigned last year after helping to cover up the sexual harassment of a HR director, is being paid £60,000 to work two days a week as a private consultant at a neighbouring trust.

Former Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust chief Professor Steve Trenchard has been appointed as a project director at Pennine Care FT to help develop a new mental health strategy.

Pennine Care told HSJ Professor Trenchard was not a trust employee but a private consultant, was not managing any staff and it was fully aware of his previous behaviour, which was criticised in an employment tribunal last year.

Professor Trenchard was one of several board members at the Derbyshire mental health trust who was criticised by an employment tribunal into the unfair dismissal of HR director Helen Marks. He resigned as chief executive in February 2016.

Ms Marks was sexually harassed by former chair Alan Baines and suspended after she turned down his advances. Professor Trenchard “colluded” with other board members to cover up what happened and protect Mr Baines, the tribunal found.

Mick Martin, former deputy ombudsman at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, resigned last year when his role in the cover-up was revealed by HSJ.

Pennine Care said Professor Trenchard works on a contract with a fixed daily rate for two days a week, which started in July, five months after his resignation from Derbyshire Healthcare.

In a statement the trust said: “The trust was aware of the reasons for Professor Trenchard’s departure from his previous role and the tribunal, which was fully considered prior to his appointment. It was concluded that this was a separate issue to what he was being commissioned to deliver on behalf of the trust, in his capacity as a private consultant.”

It said the trust was provided with an independent report, commissioned by Derbyshire Healthcare, which determined Professor Trenchard was a fit and proper person for roles in the NHS.

Pennine Care chief executive Michael McCourt added: “This is a significant and complex programme of work, requiring additional senior capacity to complete it within a relatively short time frame. Therefore, Professor Trenchard was selected based on his wealth of knowledge and experience of frontline mental health services.

“Professor Trenchard reports progress directly to an executive director. His work to date has been very well received and has helped the trust make positive progress with its strategy. Professor Trenchard is a champion for service users and carers and he has brought a helpful focus to our planning.”