Our Bill for Gov to Defend Its Treatment of Dr Ranson

The taxpayer has, so far, picked up a bill of at least £43,528.80 in external legal fees stemming from the Dr Rosalind Ranson tribunal.

Dr Ranson was victorious in her claim against the DHSC, with the tribunal unanimously agreeing that she was unfairly dismissed from her role as Medical Director.

The figure was revealed following a Freedom of Information request from Gef and covers fees charged up to February 11 2022.

Dr Rosalind Ranson was unfairly dismissed

Throughout the tribunal, the DHSC was represented by James Boyd, instructed by Ms Anna Heeley from the Attorney General’s Chambers. Mr Boyd  is head of the Employment Team at the UK based Kings Chambers.

That FoI also revealed that, up until the start of June, the AG’s Chambers had spent 508 billable hours on the case. 

The AG’s Chambers said that it ‘does not charge back to Government Departments, Boards and Offices for the time it spends providing legal advice and representation to them’. 

It added: ‘AGC does keep a log of the time spent providing litigation-related services on matters upon which we are instructed by any Departments, Boards and Offices for internal management purposes and to assist in recovery of any legal costs arising in favour of Government from litigation.’

The Tribunal

Chaired by Douglas Stewart, the tribunal ruled unanimously that Dr Ranson, having made protected disclosures, was automatically unfairly dismissed and suffered detriments in consequence. They also agreed that she was unfairly dismissed irrespective of the protected disclosures.

Throughout the tribunal, it was revealed that Dr Ranson was frozen out from decision making in the early weeks of the pandemic, had her phone number blocked by the former director of public health Dr Henrietta Ewart, had her office phone taken away and her assistant redeployed. 

Since the tribunal decision was published, there have been several changes made at the top of the gov, with Chief Secretary Will Greenhow, DHSC CEO Karen Malone, Treasury Minister (formerly DHSC Minister) David Ashford MHK, executive director of the Office of Human Resources Clare Conie and Dr Ewart have all “left” their roles.

However, the panel also had concerns about documents produced by the gov during the tribunal and has called for a new hearing to examine these documents and allegations that they were concocted. The dates for that hearing, as well as a setting down of what payout Dr Ranson will receive, are yet to be revealed.