6th August 2015

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Health Chat

Sir Robert Naylor

One of the longest serving leaders in the NHS, running one of the biggest Trusts.

What's life like at the top? Find out; in conversation with Roy Lilley; King's Fund 16th September 

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Making a meal of it
News and Comment from Roy Lilley

I often wonder where you are when you open this e-letter. I wonder what you are doing, who you are, what you look like, what you are saying in your head as you read this on the train, in the office, late at night or over breakfast.


That is, of course, if you have breakfast? A coffee maybe? A biscuit thing and a latté on the way. A full English? Porridge and fruit? Make the time and do it. Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper the fast track way to a beach body!


My point is, you have the choice. From what I understand there will be around 600 kids, this morning, who I know will not have had breakfast. Their normal start to the day, in London, Liverpool and Bristol would have been at a Kids Company centre.


You probably know the charity closed its doors last night amid claims and counter claims about money, governance and allegations of impropriety; charity money misused, with vulnerable children being bought designer clothes and sent on foreign holidays or handed large sums of cash.


I have no idea if any of this is true and the normally assiduous press, as far as I have read and seen, is unusually fact-lite. Drill down and there is nothing?


I had a look at Kids annual report and accounts. The latest I could find on their web-site 2013. The design is spectacular, a work of art and their mission statement brought a tear to my marble eyes.


If the organisation has got itself into governance problems we need to start with the Board. The chairman is Alan Yentob. I saw him on the telly last night, avoiding being interviewed by taking refuge in a coffee shop. Mr Telly running away from the telly... doesn't look good on the telly. Mysterious, as he mounted a robust defence of Kids Co two weeks ago.


The rest of the Trustees could be the former boss of a retail chain, the girlfriend of a comedian, a PR person, another PR person, a banker, a lawyer and a Trustee of another organisation. I can't be more precise because the web-site is CV-lite. I'm having a Google-guess. Collectively, they aren't stupid.


The most important member of the organisation is the director of finance, Ruth Jenkins who appears, also, to be something to do with The Vegan Society and an arts centre. Previously; Arthritis Care, CSV and Peace Direct. Formerly a student of the Cass Business School and has ACCA, ACA, DChA and MSc.


You would think, between them, they might have able to hold the flamboyant chief executive, Camila Batmangheligh to account? For eighteen years she has been working with the damaged kids that social services have given up on, providing meals, out of school help and support for families who find the modern world too much, too tempting or too far from their grasp. She's personally raised £150m.


The auditors give Kids Co a clean bill of health. The charity survives on £15.6m a year, the present row is over £3m and in the last ten years they have had about four million a year from the tax payer; £11k a day to help keep three centres going. Their cash flow is precarious, income is down and there are no reserves.


So, what's going on? For that we have to rely on the gossip. I hear the former Education Secretary hated the idea that Mrs Batman' had David Cameron on her speed dial. I'm told social service hated her for building successes out of demolished lives. She is an in-yer-face, Marmite person; unorthodox, controversial, a feather-ruffler and persistent. The civil servants must hate her!


What strikes me is the lesson for all NHS non-exec's, the abject failure of the Trustees. How did they let it get into this mess? There are kid's lives and futures at stake. Why aren't they stepping forward and supporting the organisation they are trusted to superintend? Why did Yentob hide from the cameras?


More important where will the kids go after school, who will take them home in a mini bus at 9pm, who will provide the computers for homework, who will give extra lessons, school holiday activities, counselling, winter clothing, give an evening meal, give them someplace to go other than the streets, who will believe in them?


Who will give them breakfast and why are we making a meal of it?  


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Sir Robert Naylor
One of the longest serving CEOs of one of the
 Biggest Trusts
At the heart of strategy and policy for over 25yrs.
What does the future hold for the Vanguards, strategy, regulation, funding.
Come and hear him in conversation with Roy Lilley 
King's Fund
16th September.
Book before you go on holiday, it will be a sell out.
Acute community nurse Essex; Operations manager Surrey
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This is what I'm hearing;
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>>  I'm hearing - Virgin Care is blocking our e-letter.  If you have friend or colleagues that are missing us in their in-box please ask them to go to www.nhsmanagers.net and subscribe from their private email account.  Thank you.
>>  I'm hearing - the monthly CQC and nursing home trades association get togethers are lectures in how good the CQC are.  Never discuss supply-side problems.  No take home learning points.
>>  I'm hearing - the chief nurse is recruiting senior nurses to join a safe staffing advisory group.  Gimme strength will this never end.  Go onto the wards and talk to the nurses who do the job and ask them.  Please!
>>  I'm hearing - DH is planning capital controls.
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