Sheffield health bosses respond to 'jobs for the boys' and bullying claims

A senior member of staff at Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group has spoken out to criticise what they perceive to be a ‘jobs for the boys’ culture – highlighting two senior roles which were only advertised internally.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 3:18 pm

The accusations come just two years after the CCG, which is made up of 75 city GP practices and is responsible for planning and buying many of Sheffield’s healthcare services, was rocked by bullying allegations which saw two top bosses leave their posts.

The staff member – who wishes to remain anonymous - said that in their opinion, by only advertising internally, leaders at the CCG effectively ensured that the successful appointees were ‘a forgone conclusion’.

When subject to an Freedom of Information request asking how many of the highest bands of jobs were only advertised internally in the two year period between March 1, 2019, and February 28, 2021, the CCG reported that the number was zero.

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Sheffield CCG Headquarters in Darnall.

This was confirmed on two occasions. However, The Star then saw internal emails advertising two such jobs internally during that time. These same jobs were not advertised externally.

The CCG has now said that the information in response to the FOI was given erroneously, and has, since being contacted by The Star, corrected that number to two.

Speaking to The Star, the CCG employee said: "These are Band 9 jobs which have a starting salaries of more than £90,000 per year.

Dr Terry Hudsen, chair of the Sheffield CCG.

"I have worked in the NHS for 10 years and in my experience, it is not normal to do this anywhere else. Maybe for short term contracts where people are not going to relocate, but not for permanent appointments.

"In my opinion, these incidents suggest to me that the culture there is jobs for the boys. These appointments make me concerned that people in Sheffield are not always getting value for money and that sometimes, the CCG is not appointing people with the relevant skills.”

Dr Terry Hudsen, Chair of NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We follow NHS best practices when recruiting to roles in the CCG. We often advertise jobs internally first to give opportunities for development for our fantastic staff, which is a common and accepted practice across the NHS.

"All permanent posts go through a fair and competitive process and interview panels for senior managers consist of a range of members from within the CCG and from external organisations, including HR representatives.”

A spokesperson for the CCG added: “We have looked into the FOI request and it appears that the wrong information was given. This was a genuine error.”

In 2019, the then-chair of Sheffield CCG, Tim Moorhead, stepped down amid claims of ‘bullying, harassment and favouritism’ within the organisation. At the same time, accountable officer Maddy Ruff left.

Those claims of bullying, favouritism and harassment also led to the body being subject to an independent NHS England review.

However, the source says that based on their experience, any claims of change at the organisation are ‘lip service’

The source highlighted an occasion when they submitted a bullying complaint which they claim was ‘ignored for a year’.

The source explained: “I found myself in a position where I was being bullied by a certain individual. I made an informal complaint about it. Nothing was done and it continued, so I made an official complaint about it.

“In my case, it took a year for them to do anything. Eventually there was a change of manager and I was pressured into complaining via an informal process and not an external one.

"I was up for a regrade on my job at the time and they said to me that this complaint made it clear that I was not good at working with people and that it would be difficult for me to successfully keep my job if I made this complaint external.”

Dr Terry Hudsen also addressed the bullying claims. He said: “We take all bullying and harassment claims seriously and have support in place for staff to raise concerns. We fully investigate all complaints and grievances. As outlined in our policies, we encourage informal resolutions first.

"Where this approach doesn’t resolve the issue then the next stage would be a formal investigation.

“We also have a freedom to speak up guardian who staff can approach for impartial guidance and advice on bullying. Since 2019, it has been mandatory for all staff to undertake bullying and harassment prevention training.”