Health Minister Lawrie Hooper has said it would be ‘inappropriate’ to insist that the next chief executive of the DHSC live on the island.

Mr Hooper was asked by Juan Watterson SHK when his dept would be advertising for a full time CEO, whether Manx Care would lead to the role being regraded and whether the next incumbent would be expected to live here.

The Lib Vannin leader said that the process to advertise for a permanent full time CEO is ‘underway and the draft Job Description is going through the relevant OHR processes prior to advertisement’.

He added: ‘The department are hoping that this will be completed within the coming weeks ready for advertisement prior to Christmas/early in the New Year.

‘The department will recruit the best candidate for the role, i.e. one who meets the required criteria in terms of competencies and character, in order to take DHSC forward successfully. In doing so, it would be inappropriate to insist that the next incumbent should live on island in cognisance of the contemporary approach to flexible ways of working both Isle of Man Government and DHSC seek to support.’

Why Ask?

The Speaker’s point about the new incumbent living on the island likely stems from the criticism labelled at interim the appointment of Kathryn Magson who has remained based in the UK since her appointment in 2020. This approach, though importantly not Ms Magson herself, was criticised by Tynwald members upon her appointment and during the pandemic’s early days.

However when the issue was raised in Tynwald by Onchan MHK Julie Edge, former DHSC minister David Ashford said: ‘We are living in 2019, not 1919. People do work and can work remotely. If you have to have a chief executive physically here – physically present, sat in an office five days a week – then there is something fundamentally wrong if they have to micromanage to that extent the department and there is something wrong with the rest of our senior management team.’

Ms Magon’s appointment was on a two year contract which began in January 2020.

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