By Graham Smith
Health and council bosses have said no final decisions have yet been made about what salary should be paid to Kate Kennally for assuming the lead commissioning role once Cornwall’s proposed Accountable Care System takes over from the NHS on 1st April.
Although the component parts of the NHS will continue to hold their statutory responsibilities, in the short-term, Ms Kennally has said the “shadow” ACS will immediately start to operate “as if” it enjoys statutory authority in its own right. NHS Kernow bosses insist the new arrangements will be a “partnership of equals” but it is clear from the draft business case that some partners will be more equal than others.
Ms Kennally’s role as chief executive of Cornwall Council has her in a salary band of around £180,000 per year, and gives her responsibility for a £1.2 billion annual budget. The proposed addition of NHS Kernow’s £850 million budget might be expected to justify further reward, but in response to a Cornwall Reports Freedom of Information request, health and council bosses insist the question has not yet arisen.
The agreement signed by Cornwall Council, NHS Kernow, the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust and the Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust makes it clear that Ms Kennally will be the “lead officer” for commissioning healthcare. But the FOI answer says no final decision has yet been taken as to whether she will get the job on a permanent basis.
Cornwall Reports wanted to know who had made the decision to put Ms Kennally in overall charge and why the post had not been advertised. This was the response:
Kathy Byrne (left) and Kate Kennally
“There has been no decision that has been made that Kate Kennally is the Single Strategic Commissioner. An option appraisal is currently being conducted of which one of the six options is for the Council to act as the lead commissioner, rather than an individual being named. Kate Kennally is the Chief Officer, as part of the Shaping Our Future programme, leading on the work to integrate strategic commissioning and consider the options.
“These lead officer responsibilities were agreed through the Shaping Our Future Governance arrangements and have been reported to the Health and Adults Overview and Scrutiny Committee in November 2017. “
Asked for salary details, the health and council bosses replied: “As no decision has been made on the arrangements for Strategic Commissioning, we are not in a position to undertake any salary evaluation and therefore answer this information request.”