• Payments revealed in annual report
  • One pay off appears to be £100,000 above maximum cap
  • NHS England’s investigation should be completed this month

NHS England has launched an independent investigation into how two clinical commissioning group managers were given redundancy payments which appear to have breached the maximum allowed.

Tony Bruce, former accountable officer of East Staffordshire CCG, and Wendy Kerr, the CCG’s former chief financial officer, both left the organisation in March when a combined management team was set up to cover all of Staffordshire’s CCGs.

The CCG’s annual report revealed Mr Bruce was given a payment for loss of office of £259,689 – nearly £100,000 above the £160,000 maximum allowed for very senior managers. Ms Kerr was paid £202,183.

NHS England has now confirmed an investigation is underway which is expected to be completed by the end of the year and that “action as appropriate” would then be taken. It declined to comment further.

The CCG’s accounts listed the amounts as compulsory redundancies but added no special payments were made and that the payments were “in line with the contractual terms and conditions”.

Mr Bruce is also now drawing his pension, according to notes in the annual report, although his Linkedin profile says he is a management consultant and coach. 

Ms Kerr is also a lay member for finance and performance at West Leicestershire CCG, and is described as recently retired.

An East Staffordshire CCG spokesperson said: “There is an ongoing review into this matter and we are therefore unable to comment further at this time.”

HSJ has sought to contact Mr Bruce and Ms Kerr for comment. 

Standard terms and conditions for NHS staff’s redundancy payments provide for one month’s pay for every full year worked. However, this is capped at 24 months’ pay with an annual earnings ceiling of £80,000, effectively creating a maximum cap of £160,000 for any one redundancy.