A SENIOR Health appointment was not advertised as it was ‘important that a speedy temporary’ replacement was found, according to the government.
Chris Bown was appointed as interim chief officer on a 12-month fixed-term contract on 1 April following the sudden resignation of Caroline Landon.
He was initially brought to the Island three months earlier to lead a ‘change team’ recruited to drive improvements in Health.
Constable Andy Jehan, vice-chair of the States Employment Board, said that the lack of advertising for the role was necessary ‘on an exceptional basis’ due to the sudden departure of the department’s most senior civil servant.
He said: ‘Chris had already recently been through a process of selection for similar skills and experience, and it was important that a speedy temporary appointment be made to ensure continued operational leadership to the department.
‘A brief was agreed with the Health Minister, and the States Employment Board recommended Chris’s appointment be approved, along with an immediate move to open recruitment for a permanent role.’
But Deputy Rob Ward, the new chair of the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel, warned that ‘exceptional can become habitual if we are not careful’ and added that the reasons for the exceptional appointment needed to be made clear.
The Reform Jersey Deputy said that the SEB needed to be ‘very clear’ about the process used to recruit senior Health officials, explaining that ‘there will also be concerns about transparency if there is not an open process of recruitment’.
‘This is particularly important for a government who promised openness and transparency before being elected. Now they have to live up to that,’ added Deputy Ward.
The Health Scrutiny chair stressed that the criticism was ‘nothing personal’ against any individual, and said that ‘it gives people authority in their position if it is known that they went through a thorough recruitment process’.
Mr Bown’s new salary has not been revealed, although his predecessor’s total annual remuneration package was around £200,000.
It has also been confirmed that the States Employment Board has agreed for the recruitment process to begin for an interim chief nurse following the resignation of chief nurse Rose Naylor, who left her role on 31 March 2023 – the same day as Ms Landon.