• Dozens of managers given payoffs of more than £160,000, often due to pay in lieu of notice
  • NHS redundancy normally capped at £160,000
  • One manager and CCG entered into NDA

Several senior staff at clinical commissioning groups have left with payments above the £160,000 cap as their redundancy payoffs are being topped off with payments in lieu. 

HSJ has uncovered 33 cases in the last three years where staff at CCGs were paid £160,000 or more in redundancy and associated costs, including nine cases where departing staff were paid more than £200,000. Many of these involved governing body members, while others were linked to CCG mergers or the appointment of shared senior staff.

One manager and CCG entered into a non-disclosure agreement, which are designed to prevent the amount involved and the individual concerned being revealed.

Standard terms and conditions for NHS staff’s redundancy payments provide for one month’s pay for every full year worked. 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.

However, HSJ discovered several cases where this was boosted by a payment in lieu. Very senior managers in CCGs are meant to have notice periods of no longer than six months. In many cases, managers may leave earlier than this. Such payments do not count towards the £160,000 cap. 

The biggest payment in lieu identified by HSJ went to Martin Phillips, accountable officer for Darlington CCG, who took voluntary redundancy in 2016-17. He was paid £220,247, consisting of a £160,000 redundancy payment and a £60,427 payment in lieu. Mr Phillips, who had been on long-term sick leave at points in 2015-16, was on a salary of £105,000 to £110,000. 

Meanwhile, Derbyshire, where four CCGs merged to form a single organisation, paid more than £600,000 for the redundancy of three accountable officers of the former CCGs.

Redundancy pay of governing body members is usually shown in CCGs’ annual reports, alongside their pay. However, a non-disclosure agreement meant Trafford CCG did not name the governing body member involved in a payout, although HSJ has established they were paid £160,000.

HSJ has previously reported that the CCG was criticised over close relationships between some governing body members and the developer of a health hub which was left largely unoccupied, costing the CCG £2m a year.

A Trafford CCG spokesperson said: “The content of our 2017-2018 annual report was as a result of decisions made by the governing body in place at the CCG at that time. These annual accounts are set out as a matter of public record and were approved by our external auditors and NHS England.”

Among the managers receiving the highest payments were two from East Staffordshire CCG who left with packages of £259,689 and £202,183, prompting an NHS England investigation. This found the payments were in line with “prior contractual requirements” and were not subject to the £160,000 cap which came in on 1 April 2015.

East Staffordshire CCG declined to comment further. 

Nine £200,000-plus payoffs

£259,689 paid to Tony Bruce, accountable officer at East Staffordshire CCG, in 2017-18. 

£220,247 paid to Martin Phillips, accountable officer at Darlington CCG, in 2016-17. Darlington CCG said the redundancy was in line with NHS policy. “As this issue relates to an individual’s personal circumstances, it would be inappropriate to comment further on this situation,” it added. 

£220,476 paid to Trish Anderson, chief officer at Wigan Borough CCG, in 2017-18, which included pay in lieu of both annual leave and notice. The CCG said pay in lieu of notice was deemed appropriate because of the start date of the new postholder and the pace of delivery of its transformation programme.

£210,833 paid to Ian Stidston, accountable officer at Castle Point and Rochford CCG, who left in April 2018. This consisted of a redundancy between £150,000 and £155,000, plus pay in lieu of notice. A Castle Point and Rochford CCG spokesman said it had formed a joint management team with Southend CCG “to streamline commissioning and reduce running costs”. However, after the accountable officer was made redundant, the CCGs appointed an interim from an agency before a permanent joint accountable officer was appointed.

£205,955 paid to Stephen Allinson, chief officer at North Derbyshire CCG, in 2017-18. A Derbyshire CCG spokesman said the payments across the four CCGs – Erewash, Hardwick, North Derbyshire and South Derbyshire – which merged to form a single organisation were to reduce duplication and costs. The payments were approved by CCG remuneration committees.

£204,012 paid to Gaynor Mullins, chief operating officer at Stockport CCG, in 2018-19, which includes pay in lieu of notice. Stockport CCG said it had restructured its senior leadership to align with other local CCGs and the national position with an accountable officer and a GP chair. Previously, it had a lay chair, a chief operating officer and a chief clinical officer, who was also the accountable officer. Both the chief operating officer and the chief clinical officer were made redundant, and the CCG decided to move to this new structure as soon as possible as a new clinical chair needed to be in place for the AGM.

£203,040 paid to Andy Gregory, chief officer at Hardwick CCG, in 2017-18, which included payment in lieu of notice of £43,040.

£202,183 paid to Wendy Kerr, chief financial officer at East Staffordshire CCG, in 2017-18.

£201,494 paid to Rakesh Marwaha, accountable officer at Erewash CCG, in 2017-18, which included £41,494 in lieu of notice.