Monday 1 July 2013

Baroness Headhunter Company Making Money from Her Vote

New research conducted by Social Investigations has revealed a Head Hunter firm with financial links to a Conservative Baroness has been able to gain revenue directly from changes that took place because of the Health and Social Care Act on which the Baroness voted. Furthermore, the Chairman of the company has funded the Conservative party in a process that changes the NHS from within.

Baroness Bottomley is the Chair of the Board and CEO practice of Odgers Berndtson and also holds shares in their holding company Broomco Ltd.

The head hunter company works in thirteen industry areas including Healthcare, and been heavily involved in vetting key personnel into the new NHS

Their website boasts of their ‘unparalleled reach across the NHS, (and) private sector healthcare...(which) enables us to attract inspirational candidates others might never find.’

A key part of the Health and Social Care Act was to move commissioning responsibility for NHS services from Primary Care Trusts to the newly formed Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

In early 2012, Odgers produced a report titled ‘Leadership and management Challenges in Clinical Commissioning Groups’, which stated how ‘Making intelligent appointments to (CCG)…Boards, and, subsequently to management teams, through open and rigorous processes, will be the major determinant of success in the effort to develop leadership cultures in CCGs.’

The new ‘intelligent appointments’ vetted by Odgers & Berndtson and accepted by the relevant departments will act as the new drivers in the CCGs and change the NHS from within. ‘Through thought-leadership seminars and networking’ they claim to ‘bring the rising stars of the NHS together to inspire best practice and help shape a vision for the future.’ 

Despite having only been in existence since April, several CCGs have already spent over £350,000 on recruitment services provided by Odgers & Berndtson. These revenues, which were made possible due to the changes imposed by the Health and Social Care Act, occurred in part thanks to the vote of Baroness Bottomley.

The tentacles of Odger’s influence stretch across the NHS spectrum and they will be finding the replacement ofr current NHS Chief, David Nicholson. Odgers is part of the government’s recruitment framework and have been involved in four appointments in the Department of Health. A further freedom of information request revealed they were also involved in the recruitement of David Cameron’s former special policy adviser on health, and ex-McKinsey consultant Paul Bate to the beleaguered Care Quality Commission. Furthermore, Odgers have been used to fill seven appointments in the North-West London Commissioning Support Unit at a cost of £66,000.

In addition to the CCGs, a freedom of Information request has discovered that many of the key positions in the new NHS regulator Monitor, have been filled using Odgers Berntdson. In total 12 senior personnel have been sourced and vetted by Odgers at a cost of nearly £200,000 of taxpayers money.

Positions filled by Monitor through Odgers Berndtson
Compliance Manager
Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Policy Director
Head of External Affairs
Policy Adviser
Policy Adviser
Policy Adviser
Non Executive Director
Non Executive Director
Non Executive Director
Costing Specialist
Medical Adviser
Total cost of services provided (excluding advertising)

Since becoming a life peer in June 2005, Mrs Bottomley’s attendance rate has been just 20%, yet somehow she managed to turn up for every day of the Health and Social care bill and voted to help turn the legislation into an Act.

Richard Boggis-Rolfe
Furthermore, the Chairman of Odgers & Berndtson, Richard Boggis-Rolfe has given £207,500 in donations to the Conservative party between 2006 up until the General election. In an interview with City newspaper CityAM, he revealed the benefit of having the baroness and ex-health secretary on her books when he said ‘Everyone takes her call.’ When Baroness Bottomley rose to speak in the Health and Social Care bill second reading, the former Conservative health secretary said to her fellow peers “The role of Monitor has been excellently refined. It has allowed the transitional phases to develop, but the health service needs a bit of muscular intervention...I give this Bill an unequivocal and extraordinarily warm welcome.”  No doubt a thought shared by her chairman.

Further healthcare interests
In April 1993 Virginia Bottomley as Secretary of State for Health in the Conservative party under John Major, announced her intention to increase private company involvement in the NHS. In a speech reported by the Independent to the Confederation of British Industry, Mrs Bottomley informed us that although NHS patients will still be treated free, ‘the service should 'buy' more care from private hospitals and health care companies such as Bupa.’  

Forward wind 14 years and on the 17th of May 2007, Bupa announced the appointment of three new Non-executive Directors, one of which is Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone.

Although having just left her Bupa post in May this year, Mrs Bottomley’s healthcare interests don’t end there. The Baroness is also a non-executive director of medical technology multi-national Smith and Nephew, a member of the International Advisory Board for Tokyo-based Chugai Pharmaceutical Company Ltd a board member of Akzo Nobel, which is listed in the NHS purchasing directory as decoration suppliers.

Is it enough that Virginia Bottomley simply registered her interests but was still allowed to vote on the Health bill? In doing so she has played a part in opening up increased revenue opportunities for her employer whose chairman also part-funded Conservative central party. Her sheer delight at the bill’s existence and her connections to companies that are already benefitting from the NHS, surely makes for an urgent need to change the rules and end the vote when there is a conflict of interest.

Councillors at local level are unable to vote with a ‘prejudicial’ interest and can debate at the discretion of their fellow councillors but no such restrictions exist MPs or Lords. The time has surely come to make them abide by the same restrictions.

There are several companies who have connections to Lords and MPs who have directly gained revenue or changed company position due to the Health and Social care Act. In total over 200 parliamentarians have recent or present financial links to companies or individuals involved in healthcare, all able to vote on the Health and Social Care Act. This situation was recently described by the Labour MP for Easington, Grahame Morris as ‘nothing short of corruption.’


  1. Roger Gartland.1 July 2013 at 04:56

    Thoroughly agree. Aneurin Bevan wrote, "Politics is a conflict of interest". This government sees no conflicts of interest: it hates the NHS and social services in general, except as cash cows for private companies to outsource.

  2. And isn't it extraordinarily convenient that Mrs Bottomley's former protegee is now Secretary of State for Health? Where on earth would we be without nepotism?

  3. There are more crooks in the Houses of Westminster that in the prison population of Dartmoor. How sick is the United Kingdom?


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