Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mental Health Tribunal President missing from post after scathing audit

After scathing criticism of how the Mental Health Tribunal has been run, the President of the Tribunal service has been reported as absenting herself from her post ...

The Herald reports :

Mental health watchdog disappears from her job


One of the Scottish Government's most senior mental health watchdogs has disappeared from her job.

Eileen Davie, president of the Mental Health Tribunal service, was said to have "absented herself" from her £130,000-a-year post.

The tribunal service was created two years ago, making decisions on the compulsory care and treatment of people with mental health problems. Based in Hamilton, it now employs about 80 people with annual operating costs of some £8.4m.

Tribunals sit under a convener - a lawyer - with two other members, one of them normally a psychiatrist.

Mrs Davie is a former senior psychiatric social worker who qualified in social work in 1967. In 1983, she left social work to study law at Edinburgh University. She became an advocate in 1989 and specialised in medical negligence and family law.

She was appointed president of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland 2004 in advance of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 coming into force in October 2005.

An audit concluded that appropriate governance is not in place

Her temporary replacement is believed to be Joe Morrow, who according to legal sources had been vice-president until he resigned a fortnight ago after a row with Mrs Davie.

Mrs Davie's absence comes on the heels of a critical report by the Auditor-General on the need for improved governance of the service's administration - a separate arm from the tribunal itself, with its own chief executive.

In his report to the Scottish Parliament last month, the Auditor-General, Robert Black, said the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland Administration needed to improve to meet good governance standards.

Last year's audit concluded that appropriate governance was not in place for MHTSA and it needed to be developed as a priority.

This year, the overall conclusion was that although MHTSA had made progress in some areas, there remained a need to improve to meet good governance standards.

The framework document setting out the responsibilities and accountabilities of the agency had not been finalised and was still in draft form. The auditor said MHTSA should consider options including permanent recruitment to strengthen its financial management and leadership.

Throughout the financial year 2006/07 and as at August 2007, there was no formal board in place to direct and control the agency.

No independent non-executive directors had been appointed to the agency, and no audit committee to provide assurance on risk management, governance and internal control was in place.

Mrs Davie was at her home in Livingston last night but unwilling to make comment.

A member of her family said: "She is not at liberty to comment."

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