Katrina Percy’s role as Chief Executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust had clearly become untenable. Tim Smart, as the then interim Chair of the trust, received advice that there were no legal grounds upon which to dismiss her, and that doing so would open the trust and the wider NHS up to potential litigation and the very real possibility of significant costs to the taxpayer.
Leaving her role as chief executive
As an advisor, Ms Percy's strategic skills would be put to good use for a period of twelve months. Ms Percy had already done significant work in this area and this was work that needed to – and still needs to – be done. Tim Smart provided us with appropriate assurance that this would deliver the best value for the taxpayer and we supported this.
It has been clear in the weeks following the announcement – and Ms Percy herself recognises this – that this agreement cannot now be delivered. We have, therefore, worked with the trust to renegotiate with Ms Percy for her to leave its employment immediately.
We know that this won’t please some who think she ought to have received no payment at all. In situations like this, a perfect deal is not possible. But the strong legal advice we have received is that to do anything else would have a much greater cost to the public purse and, as a consequence, would go against good management of public money.