Why should boss of failing PTO get bonus, ask MPs

1 Feb 01
A powerful committee of MPs has slated the Lord Chancellor's department for its lax handling of the failing Public Trust Office. It also questioned the decision to pay the PTO's departing chief executive a maximum bonus.

02 February 2001

In its third critical report on the PTO in seven years, the Commons Public Accounts Committee finds continuing serious deficiencies in the agency, which is due to wind up in April.

'The Lord Chancellor's Department's approach to the Public Trust Office was clearly too hands-off,' said committee chairman David Davis.

'It failed to take decisive action although the agency's under-performance was conspicuous. It is very surprising that despite this failure they still allowed the former chief executive to be paid her full bonus.'

The PTO acts to protect and control the administration of the financial affairs of persons in England and Wales who, usually through mental incapacity, are incapable of managing their own affairs. It had around 550 staff and a budget of £19.4m.

The MPs say that it fell below the highest professional standards expected of public bodies that manage or regulate their clients' money.

In November 1999, a departmental review recommended that, in the light of its record, its functions should be transferred to other bodies and the agency wound up.

Chief executive Julia Lomas, appointed when the PTO was established as an executive agency of the Lord Chancellor's Department on July 1 1994, left her post on December 31, 1999 and was paid a final sum of £63,000, which included the maximum performance bonus for 1999/2000, £11,800.


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