Tom Kark KC's Fit and Proper Person Test in the Spotlight after Lucy Letby Verdicts


In the wake of Lucy Letby’s life sentence for murdering seven babies and the subsequent Public Inquiry to review what went wrong, Tom Kark KC, who reviewed the Fit and Proper Person test’ for Senior Executives in the NHS in 2019, releases a press statement:

“In 2018 I wrote a report on the workings of the Fit and Proper Person Test as it applied to Board Directors of all NHS Trusts.  The purpose of my five central recommendations to the Minister of State for Health was to improve patient safety by strengthening board governance, identifying the skills required to sit on a Health Board, ensure references were candid and full and to stop "the revolving door" which allowed poorly performing or badly behaved directors from continuing to be employed in the NHS in senior roles.   

A number of the recommendations were accepted, and I am pleased that the NHS is now rolling out to all NHS Boards the new Fit and Proper Persons Test (FPPT) framework which will help define the required skills for Board members.  The Government also accepted my recommendations for mandatory references which will reveal a much fuller employment history including whether an individual has been disciplined or investigated. 

I also recommended that a Health Directors Standards Council be created which would have the power to investigate complaints and to suspend or disqualify senior directors from sitting on NHS Boards when serious misconduct is proved.  This recommendation was not accepted and although the fuller reference requirement will make it harder for incompetent or badly behaved directors to move around the system, such a council with the power to ban directors could have provided greater public protections and greater reassurance to the public that there was an effective system in place to stop “the revolving door”.  I made five central recommendations, my view still, is that all five were necessary.

Although there is much media interest currently in this topic in view of my current role chairing a Public Inquiry it would not be appropriate for me to comment further. “ - Tom Kark KC

Press coverage can be found HERE and HERE.

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