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Editor’s blog Thursday 3 June 2010: Non-'cheerleading’ Monitor chair Bundred wants to denationalise FTs

The latest HSJ captions its front cover picture of new Monitor chair Steve Bundred, late of the Audit Commission, with the phrase ‘No Cheerleader’.

Their interview gives Bundred the chance to signal that he will be no Bill Moyes in his approach.

Bundred tells HSJ’s Dave West that “‘famously tempestuous’ is not the kind of relationship an organisation like Monitor should have with the department”, outlining his Audit Commission era prowess  at telling ministers “their flagship policies were wrong”, yet not developing “relationship difficulties.

“Maintaining the independence of this organisation is absolutely vital but my experience is that it can be independent without being either supine or confrontational - and that’s where I want to be.”

Bundred states his view that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley “absolutely believes in foundation trusts and in devolution”: a fascinating view, given that Lansley strenuously opposed the creation of FTs.

(Perhaps it’s a BMA-NHS thing.)

This is interesting, because a news piece in HSJ not so long since reported concerns that Moyes’ successor would prove, in that headline’s word, “biddable”.

Bundred promises not let-up in the financial and quality rectitude Monitor will expect from FTs.

De-nationalising FTs?
Bundred also floats the intriguing and radical idea of de-nationalising the contractual fiscal and physical assets and liabilities of FTs, taking their spending off the department expenditure limits and thus off the public sector books. His reported inspiration is from the 1992 changes to remove polytechnics from local authority control.

So, the public sector that has funded the creating, training and staffing of these institutions would be getting what in return?

This is thinking aloud, which is fine.

It could even be starting a debate, which is always good.

The current context, though, is important. We are in a