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Ex DHB pair in Australian Integrity Commission inquiry in Australia Integrity Commission report into allegations of nepotism and conflict

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 01:15 PM

Looks like Jane Holden and Gavin Austin are in hot water in Australia with the Australian Integrity Commission.

It raises the question, what other skeletons are hiding in closets that need to be unearthed in Northland, including with Whangarei branch?

Ex-NDHB pair in misconduct probe

By Mike Dinsdale
10:00 AM Thursday Jun 5, 2014


Two former Northland District Health Board managers have been accused of misconduct after an Australian Integrity Commission inquiry into allegations of nepotism and conflict of interest while they were heading Tasmanian health services.

Gavin Austin and Jane Holden have both denied any wrongdoing after a damning report tabled in the Tasmanian Parliament last week found former Royal Hobart Hospital boss Ms Holden hired her associate Mr Austin without following proper processes.

The report also found that Mr Austin hired several of his past associates and his own son without following due process.

Mr Austin told the commission that Ms Holden and he were members of what he described as the "Dream Team" of high-performing employees at the NDHB.

The report alleges that Ms Holden's husband was paid nearly $200,000 over two years to perform building and maintenance work for which he was not accredited.

Mr Austin's wife and son were given high paying jobs in his organisation outside proper processes, the report said.

"It is the view of the Integrity Commission that the conduct of both officers involved conflicts of interest which were not dealt with in accordance with applicable policy or legislative requirements," the report found.

"The investigation revealed that the two officers failed to comply with procurement and employment policies and procedures ... in every instance identified in the report, a family member or associate of the officers was a beneficiary of the non-compliant conduct."

It found there was evidence that a practice developed of entering into "local" arrangements to boost the remuneration of employees, contrary to applicable State Service policies.

"A consistent theme in the responses of Ms Holden and Mr Austin to the investigation and its findings was that they relied on their staff to ensure compliance with relevant policies and, in Mr Austin's case, that he did not know about applicable policies.

The commission found it was not an acceptable excuse to assert that more junior officers should have ensured that the senior officers exercised their responsibilities properly.

Mr Austin has been stood down on full pay as head of the North-West Health Organisation, while an internal investigation is carried out.

He was quoted on the ABC as saying: "I do want to add it has been my privilege working for the board, the people, patients and staff of the North-West. I do dispute the allegations in the report.

"I look forward to the outcome of the investigation."

Ms Holden has declined to comment and remains on the public payroll, for now.

Northland District Health Board (NDHB) CEO Nick Chamberlain said Mr Austin was the health board's manager financial services in 2001 and became general manager finance and support services in 2003, resigning in 2007.

He returned to NDHB in 2009 as programme manager oral health and resigned in 2010.

Ms Holden was employed at NDHB as general manager surgical and critical care services from 2003 to 2007.

Dr Chamberlain said NDHB had not been involved in the investigation.

The full Integrity Commission report into allegations of nepotism and conflict of interest at Tasmanian health services can be found at:



By Mike Dinsdale

Integrity Commission report into allegations of nepotism and conflict of interest at Tasmanian health services

Northland District Health Board

View PostIDB, on 18 May 2004 - 09:29 PM, said:

Work 'bribe' divides health staff


Northland Health staff are being offered free trips -- including a chance at winning a Fiji jaunt -- in a bid to stop them taking sick days in winter.

The controversial scheme has split staff opinion, with some suggesting it may encourage sick staff to turn up at work to qualify for the holidays.

The offer follows a big increase in recent sick leave -- 9884 hours in March compared with 5079 hours in February.

Staff members who take less than two days' sick leave between May 15 and October 31 are eligible to go in a holiday draw.

Rostered staff and nurses are being offered trips for two to Fiji while a trip for two to Queenstown is being offered for other staff. The trips were offered in a staff memo sent by surgical services general manager Jane Holden and organisation development general manager Gavin Woolley.

The memo said the trips were being offered in order "to support and reward staff who manage their sick leave effectively over winter".

Northland Public Service Association says the "bribes" would compromise health standards by encouraging staff to turn up at work sick.

The scheme was an insult to committed staff members who did not abuse sick leave, Northland PSA organiser Mark Furey said.

"The inference is that their work ethic is such that they have to be bribed to come to work," Mr Furey said. "I think it's a dumb idea."

Northland Health organisation development general manager Gavin Woolley said staff liked the scheme.

"The DHB wishes to reward and recognise those people who stay well and healthy over winter," Mr Woolley said.

"As a health provider, the DHB encourages all people, including its staff, to stay well. Obviously we do not encourage staff to come to work when they are ill."

He said two occupational health doctors and an occupational nurse were on hand to help staff .

The health and wellbeing promotion formed part of the district health board's wider workplace health strategy, which included a focus on occupational safety and health, a fully subsidised vaccination programme, discounted gym memberships, a smoke-free policy and supporting staff events associated with healthy activities.


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