back to article Corrupt NHS official jailed for £80k bribe over tech contract

An NHS official who pocketed £80,000 in bribes for doling out lucrative IT contracts has been sentenced to three and half years in the slammer, while the techie contractor who benefited from them was given 14 months. Peter Lewis, 57, of Windlesham, admitted receiving corrupt payments from Richard Moxon, 41, of Wynbury in …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    "who found that 40 per cent of the IT product supplied by Moxon did not meet the needs of the Trust." - only 40 per cent? So they got off lightly then.

    I've been involved in major infrastructure projects where less than 10 per cent met our needs but management just steam rollered it though. Until it didn't work in front of the end users who rebelled.....

    1. BillG Silver badge
      Devil

      The prosecution evidence showed that Lewis had approached Moxon for a bribe...

      Buyers are often shameless when demanding bribes from suppliers.

      1. Vic

        Buyers are often shameless when demanding bribes from suppliers.

        A long time ago, the company I worked for had a potential customer in. He "wanted training" so that he could commission a machine on his own.

        He spent the entire day dropping exceptionally unsubtle hints that he wanted us to get him a hooker. This was quite a big deal, so it actually would have been cost-effective - particularly as we'd be able to charge for the commissioning of any machines he'd buy, as he was singularly incapable of doing the job.

        My boss - one of the directors of the company - was a lay preacher, and was very serious about his faith. We didn't get that sale...

        Vic.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Buyers are often shameless when demanding bribes from suppliers."

        The only bribe I demand is that the product works as described.

    2. David Austin

      60% Fit for purpose is a pretty good success metric for a Public Body IT project.

      I'd say apart from the fact it was illegal, it was a pretty cost effective measure...

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Go

        @ Vic

        That's where Recording Equipment and an email of the resulting tapes to the CEO of the Purchasing Company are very effective.

        You probably still wont get the contract, but at least the dirty scroat will be out of a job sharpish! And who knows you might actually gte the contract as, the purchasing Company might be terrified of the publicity, that leaving themselves open for not selecting the whistleblowing firm might attract...

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: @ Vic

          "You probably still wont get the contract, but at least the dirty scroat will be out of a job sharpish! "

          You never know though, he might show up as head of the DVLA next.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      that would be a success then in the NHS

      Promote that person straight away

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amateurs

    Amateurs, both of them.

    Into own account? Same country? Instead of creating a company in [Panama | Virgin Islands | Grand Cayman | etc ] and invoicing the IT contractor for consulting services? What a muppet.

    1. Dr Who

      Re: Amateurs

      Totally agree - utter amateurs. These amounts are loose change compared with the shenanigans involved in awarding NHS wide contracts to the big consultancies. How many ex-politicians are now non-execs on a big business board somewhere?

      And then we get to defence contracts, but that's a whole nother story.

      1. m0rt Silver badge

        Re: Amateurs

        ...but that's a whole nother set of zeros added to the end.

        FTFY.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amateurs

        "Amateurs, both of them"

        yeah, they'll never make Parliament.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Amateurs

      When people use the term "script kiddie" they are generally implying that their own IT/haxing skillz are far better than said kiddie so you can look down at them with withering scorn at their abilities.

      The same is true of the phrase "amateurs" , especially if accompanied by an exclamation mark. To use the phrase "amateurs" you are implying that you yourself have far better skills in the area applicable.

      So to summarise , you are in fact bragging about how much of a better thief , fraud and money launderer you are *. Although shouting about it isnt one of the hallmarks of a true expert (i wouldnt have thought).

      * .... unless done ironically for comedic value of course!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

    at RSCH A&E today, all I can say, what a load of ****.

    The older VB system was a lot faster to use.

    The fonts are microscopic, they use Popup boxes with just numbers and no text.

    The staff were complaninig that it crashed at least once a day.

    To enter the details in A&E Triage took at least twice as long as it did to examine me, take my BP etc and agree that My Mother needed to be treated.

    do I need to go on?

    As a general point.

    The NHS + Social Services are total data islands.

    Even the NHS can't even use the data from the last time that the patient was there for treatment even if that was a week before. So you spend hours repeating the same story over and over and over again.

    They get all uppitty if you say 'I told you all that last week. She hasn't grown a pair of wings since.'

    I've lost count how mant times I've told the physios that my mother has a walk in shower, handrails in the toilet etc etc etc.

    No wonder it drinks our money as if it was going out of fashion.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

      "They get all uppitty if you say 'I told you all that last week. She hasn't grown a pair of wings since.'"

      Well wouldn't you get all uppitty if someone got arsey with you for doing your job? It isn't the fault of the nurse taking the information pal. Be an arsehole to the idiot who thought the system was a good idea in the first place.

      1. TDog

        Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

        Worked in the NHS - Clinician who ended up running IT for a community NHS Trust. I actually don't know how to handle this situation where the software sucks and the implied questions and absolute questions are unethical.

        Simple example from Anglia Railways - wanted an immediate refund as the beggars cancelled the train I was physically on for some indeterminate reason. Went to the ticket office with the current tickets and asked for a refund. All worked well until they asked for my name and address. WHY? It was a question on the form. They hadn't asked for it to sell me the ticket but refused to give me a refund if I didn't give that information.

        I can still see no reason for it other than marketing and data gathering. Prats. Similarly in the NHS there were an infinite (slight exaggeration) set of questions that were repeated ad nauseam or re-iterated questions previously asked.

        Looking at current community software it appears to have been created (Not specifically talking about system one [and every time I need a repeat prescription I can not find the appropriate menu process without experimenting, I have yet to experience dementia but this POS at least lets me know what it will be like] but talking to my wife who has to use it every day, and hearing how user unfriendly it is, I somewhat regret the days of restricted choices.

        All that has happened is a proliferation of deep menus driven by HR and management - how could you not know that the access to form 83B, subversion etc., etc., etc.

        Life, don't talk to me about life.

        Just in case anyone in the NHS reads this who is involved in commissioning, the primary aim is to make it easier for the clinicians. And hence for the patients. NOT YOU F*CKERS.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

          This has happen many many times and will keep on going on, I know of a local NHS Trust lets call it Rusty Hall, in the blok country, that gave a company lets call them Aots over £2 million to tell them they didn't want the contract because it was finically wrong and they could not work it.

          At least they didn't have a long queue of ambulances sitting out side , oh that's right they do

        2. 's water music Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

          They hadn't asked for it to sell me the ticket but refused to give me a refund if I didn't give that information.

          AIUI one of the motivations for asking for an address to process a refund is fraud detection. Obviously only the frauds too stupid to think of giving a hooky address but I am sure there are plenty of that type.

          I bet they totally abuse the data for marketing too though.

    2. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

      Some fair points...right up until this dick comment: "...They get all uppitty if you say 'I told you all that last week. She hasn't grown a pair of wings since..."

      It's you and your mum. You know one another intimately. The poor frontline staff see possibly hundreds or more people through their doors on a weekly basis.

      You'd be pretty pissed off if they assumed to know your mothers' medical history and then harmed her.

      You cannot blame someone for doing their job in the best way possible. Especially when they're being forced to use crappy systems and software to boot.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

        The poor frontline staff see possibly hundreds or more people through their doors on a daily basis.

        1. Vic

          Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

          The poor frontline staff see possibly hundreds or more people through their doors on a daily basis.

          And yet I once went to the eye hospital where one of the nurses remembered me from an appointment I'd had some thirty years earlier...

          Vic.

          1. John 110

            Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

            @vic

            That's because some staff are there because they actually WANT to help patients, something that the NHS relies on to function.

          2. Bogle

            Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

            You must have lovely eyes, Vic, or ... something ...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

      And you'll always be asked [or should be] to tell the staff your [mother's] name and DoB and address, because patients are idiots!

      1. Most patient admin systems can cope with 3 addresses, main, temporary & mail [for instance you may wish your mother's appointment letters are sent to you]

      2. Actual case, names change to protect the moron;

      14:15 Nurse: "Mr. Peplow?"

      Guy: stands up makes his way to consultant's office

      Consultant: "Good afternoon Mr. Peplow, how are you?"

      Guy: "I've been a bit better since I last saw you"

      Consultant: "So you have more function in the shoulder now?"

      Guy: "No! It's my ankle that's the problem!"

      Consultant: "Mr Peplow, 41, Main St?"

      Guy: "No, Mr. Farquar!"

      Consultant: "But my nurse called for Mr. Peplow"

      Mr. Fscknuts: "Yeah, but my appointment was at 14:00"

      And that my friends is the level of stupidity of the general public & why you are asked to state your details repeatedly instead of simply affirming them.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

      Interesting that there's been no mention of Mr Moxon's company.

      I wonder if RSCH are still using Oasis as their main patient admin system?

      I do feel sorry for Peter's wife, who was working at the Trust for many years as I understand it. Can't have been nice to discover that Peter was having an affair with someone from a HR company he was giving business to. Sounds like a very corrupt man, but he is such an amateur that he'll never make it in politics.

    5. Velv Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

      This being an IT rag, the first thing you learn when performing any diagnosis of a fault is never to trust what someone before you has written in the notes.

      It's a well known failing even in humans with the best of intentions that they don't collect all the information, don't note it down clearly, and don't necessarily ask all the right questions in the first place.

      The IT is just a means to an end being a note taking system. I'm quite comfortable that medical staff ask the same questions over and over to recheck the facts - better than them cutting your balls off when you said the balls of your feet were itchy.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Having seen the latest NHS IT Software in action

        "This being an IT rag, the first thing you learn when performing any diagnosis of a fault is never to trust what someone before you has written in the notes."

        Yup and also never assume that what's been written in the notes as the initial complaint what the customer actually said or complained about.

        Far too many people on helldesks write down any old shit, even if it's at odds with what the customer's saying, which is why I record nearly every call I make - they record calls so when customers get rude they can blame the customer. You should be recording to have the parts they'll edit out.

        It's fun (as a customer) when you ask them to readback the fault, realise they've pulled that stunt, so ask them to write down exactly what you're about to tell them next and get them to read _that_ part back afterwards. Having a recording of them getting it wrong twice is useful ammunition.

  4. Anonymous Blowhard

    Three and a Half Years vs. 14 Months

    Proof that it really is better to give than to receive...

  5. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    I'm pretty sure.

    They could get less time for murder.

    (And a knighthood for 100x more money...but that's another story)

  6. Lusty Silver badge
    Boffin

    Seems about right

    £80k is probably about right. That is, as the difference between what the NHS pay and the salary required to hire someone qualified and not corrupt to do that job. Nobody is saving any money by paying massively below the private sector!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems about right

      Don't know any private sector companies paying £60K p.a. for a Director of Equality and Diversity

      But I do take your point Agenda for Change [A4C] saw "Speaking with a patient" [receptionist] attract a higher pay weighting than "Working in hot, cramped and confined conditions i.e. manhole" effectively meaning the NHS [tries to] pay electricians the same as receptionists.

      Well we have to close the "pay gap" don't we!?

      1. shifty_powers

        Re: Seems about right

        In fairness that is not specifically down to agenda for change, it is just a pay scale. If the trust chooses to be arseholes in what banding they put jobs, that is another story. Before I left the NHS, (after 10 odd years training and working as a nurse), one trust decided to rebuild a mental health hospital and make everyone reapply for their jobs whilst also downgrading the pay band for many of the specialist clinical staff....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amateurs. People awarding public sector contracts in Nigeria ask for at least 20%, paid through a facilitator rather than direct from the supplier.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One rule for the big guys...

    So, the small fry go to jail and the industrial scale robbers got off after fleecing the NHS right royally:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/29/accenture_nhs_penalty/

    #obvs

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: One rule for the big guys...

      It would be interesting to find out where all the people involved in that deal are now employed...

  9. Merlinski
    Meh

    The Bezel

    This is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Purchasing Officers

    The risk, in my experience, is that purchasing officers are often inviolate and unquestioned. No matter if they are dodgy or just plain lazy we the users, IT coordinators, departmental managers etc. aren't allowed to question. And not of course just in IT. If I were to ask the local window cleaner to clean our building it would be frowned upon. Maybe I'm asking my brother-in-law/mate/neighbour - even if the price is good and the work efficient I'm not to be trusted. And if I nip down the road and get some computer bits from a local shop at a reasonably good price the same applies. But if the corporate buyer gets the services from a big contractor at enormous cost or his favourite supplier at a higher price than the same product in the local shop no questions are ever asked. IT has the added trap that it's technical and complicated, and there are all sorts of different bits with competing standards, acronyms and so on. Do you buy an Intel or AMD Thingy? Do you use this programme for your data, or that one? The department managers will just sign the order form and breathe a sigh of relief. And usually they've moved on if any pigeons do come home to roost.

  11. Pat Harkin
    Coat

    3.5 years for £80,000

    That's nearly 23K pa - and it's "after tax". Plus he gets free board and lodging for the duration of his new contract.

    Contract. Con-tract? See what I did there?

    Me neither. If only he'd been buying cell phones...

  12. Geoff Heaton

    The question about why they ask for your name and address for a refund is quite normal.

    If you return an item to B&Q they want the same information.

    I have always assumed that the information is required to either:-

    1) Check that the named person is not continually returning items for a refund

    or

    2) To carry out random checks that the person/address actually exist.

    1. 's water music Silver badge
      Joke

      2) To carry out random checks that the person/address actually exist.

      So when they get a dodgy one they can pass the details to plod to go and just pick them up.

      Wait...

  13. localzuk

    Oversight?

    A single guy can sign off purchases of £15k without oversight? What kind of nonsense financial tracking is that?

    Checks and balances don't have to be onerous, just needs more than 1 set of eyes on a purchase!

    No wonder people see the public sector as wasteful. I don't buy anything for my public sector employer that we don't *need*, and that is checked over by our COO before actually being ordered.

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