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‘Compassionate’ CEO sought for agency accused of bullying, racism and sexism

Published on: 17 Feb 2022

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch is searching for a new chief executive who ‘suspends ego to influence, engage and motivate’ and can create ‘trust and loyalty’.

The job advert, published on the NHS England website today, stipulates candidates must have a track record of “building a respectful and psychologically safe culture” and need to be a “proven senior leader”.

“We would like to recruit a compassionate leader with excellent communication skills who suspends ego to influence, engage and motivate and who creates trust and loyalty,” the advert said. “A high degree of resilience and the ability to deal with ambiguity are all essential attributes.”

It added: “Candidates will need to be a proven senior leader; the ability to operate in a highly complex environment with multiple stakeholders is essential, along with a track record of building a respectful and psychologically safe culture, high performing, engaged, inclusive teams and of developing diverse talent.”

The role has a pay scale of £131,301-£161,600 and is a fixed-term contract until June 2023, with candidates considered on a seconded basis.

HSIB chief executive Keith Conradi announced he would retire last November.

In November, preliminary findings from an NHSE-commissioned King’s Fund review into HSIB’s leadership and culture were shared with staff. It found “damaging” cultural problems, including bullying, sexism and racism which go “right to the top of the organisation”.

HSIB said Mr Conradi had informed national bodies about his retirement plans several months prior to this, and there was no connection to the King’s Fund’s review findings.

Former HSIB staff have also spoken to HSJ in detail about the poor behaviours displayed by individuals, including Mr Conradi, which allowed a “toxic culture” to develop in the safety watchdog.

The new CEO will be responsible for overseeing HSIB’s investigations and working closely with patients, families and staff, as well as other national organisations.

There have been long delays to plans to give HSIB full independence. However, the Health and Care Bill, currently going through Parliament, would finally achieve this, creating an independent statutory arm’s-length body. The advert said the new chief executive will need to work with the incoming board to support this new body’s establishment.

A large amount of HSIB’s powers, for local maternity investigations, are also due to be taken over by a new body, in a move that has long been planned.