Saturday, September 30, 2006


PROFESSOR Paul Corrigan (left) secured Sir David Henshaw's £40,000-a-year job as Chairman of the North West Strategic Health Authority, we can reveal today.
Corrigan was the Downing Street Special Adviser on Health who fixed Henshaw's appointment to the part-time job, a Freedom of Information answer has revealed.
Corrigan ordered fellow bureaucrats to ignore the protests of Liverpool MP Jane Kennedy and 25 other North West MPs who had all opposed Henshaw's appointment.
Ms Kennedy revealed that it was Corrigan who 'set aside' her views and the wishes of democratically elected MP's and was then able to force the suppos
edly independent Appointments Commission to give Henshaw the health job.
Information from the Department of Health, provided under the Freedom of Information Act, reveals that the decision about Henshaw's appointment caused a flurry of meetings, emails and phone conversations between Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt and the Chair of the Appointments Commission, Sir William Wells.
Henshaw's appointment was unique - no other appointment of a Regional Health Chief had caused a similar outcry and concern.
Four complaints by MP's about Henshaw getting the job were made directly to Wells - an unheard of show of anxiety about the appointment of a public servant.
But the Department of Health confirms that Corrigan then telephoned Wells to give the thumbs up to his fomer paymaster, Henshaw.
The full details of Corrigan's role in Henshaw's appointment are described below - although Corrigan's identity was surprisingly and unfortunately omitted from the report in the North West Enquirer (of which Henshaw was, at precisely the same time, a non-executive Director.)
(However, it was one of the few good regional stories carried by the North West Enquirer before it sadly folded, ed)
Interestingly, Corrigan is an old friend and former hired help of Henshaw.
Corrigan was hired by Henshaw shortly after he became chief executive of Liverpool city council in 1999 to "advise on aspects of the modernising agenda, especially in relation to Best Value." He was paid £18,000 for this.
We do not know whether Corrigan declared this previous financial connection when he rang up Sir William Wells at the Appointments Commission to get the job for Henshaw.
Perhaps he forgot. Being an absent-minded professor.

He clearly did not mention either, that Henshaw had blackmailed the city council into a huge £240,000 retirement pay-off.
Perhaps he forgot.
Being an absent-minded professor.
Or that Henshaw had mounted an attempted coup d'etat against the Leader of the city council.
Perhaps he forgot. Being an absent-minded professor.
Or that he had threatened Councillor Mike Storey's job as a headteacher in Knowsley.
Perhaps he forgot.
Being an absent-minded professor.
Clearly this shows that Corrigan, who has been accused of lobbying on behalf of firms bidding for NHS contracts, (shades of Jason Harbarrowboy, ed) owes more personal loyalty to Henshaw than he owes to the National Health Service.
Or to inconvenient notions like democracy, accountability or the rule of law.
Perhaps he forgot. Being an absent-minded professor.
One other interesting fact. Corrigan is also the husband of former Labour Chief Whip, Hilary Armstrong, who is now Minister for Social Exclusion.
Only the most hard-nosed cynics would now expect to see Henshaw given more lucrative jobs in the field of social exclusion in future or for Corrigan, or his friends, to now start winning NHS contracts in the North West.

We had hoped to be able to link directly to the North West Enquirer's story in May but this does not appear possible now that the Enquirer is sadly defunct. But see their full story below.....

Downing Street 'meddled' in selection of health chief PDF Print E-mail
Published on May 11 2006
by Andy McFarlane

UNELECTED Downing Street officials pressured an independent body to appoint a controversial former council chief as head of the region’s health service despite strong opposition from 20 North West MPs, including four ministers.

The Appointments Commission angered many regional Labour MPs by choosing former Liverpool City Council chief executive Sir David Henshaw as head of the North West Strategic Health Authority (SHA).

They claim he has a poor record in managing social services and highlight the deterioration of his relationship with former city council leader Mike Storey as evidence of his unsuitability for the job.

However, Henshaw hit back at the politicians and claimed he should be judged on his achievements in Liverpool.

The row comes amid claims of an “old boys network” ruling on appointments to health bodies and a systemic failure to ensure accountability.


This week Health Minister Jane Kennedy, previously a prominent New Labour MP, was sacked after telling Tony Blair her position was untenable because she had no confidence in and no respect for Henshaw as head of the new organisation, which from July 1 will be responsible for monitoring and improving local health services across Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lan-cashire and Cumbria.

She told The Enquirer she had raised the matter with number 10 but the Prime Minister’s special adviser had “made sure her concerns were set aside”.

Both the Appointments Commission and Downing deny any interference.

But Kennedy said: “The Prime Minister’s special adviser holds a totally different opinion on David Henshaw to me but this special adviser, who isn’t elected, had open access to the chairman of the Appointments Commission.

“Immediately after I had had a telephone call... to express my concern, the special adviser rang the chair of the Appointments Commission to make sure my concerns were set aside.” (our emphasis, ed)

Political influence

The Appointments Commission was set up in 2001 to remove political influence from postings to public bodies.

Kennedy said: “I don’t believe that those appointments [to regional strategic health authorities] were completely without political influence.”

Henshaw, who is a non-executive director of The Enquirer, is highly rated by the government. (They mean he was highly rated by his mates, ed) While at Liverpool he was appointed to an external panel to advise on Secretary Patricia Hewitt’s modernisation plans, including the streamlining of SHAs and changes to the way GPs operate.

He is also preparing a report detailing proposals for a shake-up of the Child Support Agency for Work and Pensions Secretary and Barrow MP John Hutton.

Henshaw retired as Liverpool’s chief executive in March, months after Storey stood down having admitted criticising him in internal emails.

Liverpool’s Labour leader Joe Anderson has been critical of Henshaw’s leadership style, claiming he kept the party in the dark on major issues and his failure to support the development of a tram network in the city contributed to its collapse – a charge Henshaw strongly denies.


In September 2004, the Audit Commission rated the city’s Supporting People Programme, designed to look after mentally-ill people and vulnerable youngsters, as “poor”. (Unlike Henshaw's bank balance, ed)

Meanwhile, local MPs say Knowsley Council’s social services was given a “one-star” rating when Henshaw was in charge in the 1990s but is now among the best in the country.

Wavertree MP Kennedy said the fact Henshaw would not be accountable to her, combined with her concerns about the payment-by-results system being introduced in children’s hospitals, such as Liverpool’s Alder Hey, meant she could no longer serve as a minister.

A North West SHA spokesman said authority chairmen were accountable to the Health Secretary, but Kennedy said this was “not my experience as a minister”.

She said when she had asked for reports into the financial difficulties of various NHS organisations she could “only get those reports if the SHAs let me have them”.

“In one or two cases the departments were saying there were no reports when I knew there were. The system isn’t working particularly well and, to a large degree, it works only when people within it want it to work. That makes the critical point about having confidence in those people especially important.”


After hearing Henshaw had been given the job, Knowsley North and Sefton East MP George Howarth wrote a letter to the Appointments Commission calling for the appointment to be withdrawn.

It was signed by 20 Labour MPs.

Among them were party chairman and Salford MP Hazel Blears, Transport Minister Derek Twigg, who represents Halton, and St Helens North Junior Whip David Watts.

Labour group leaders on Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley and St Helens councils have also written to express their concerns.

It has since emerged that NHS trust board members were consulted only after the MPs tried to block the appointment.

Howarth, who discovered what had happened, said they would all now depend on Sir David to stay in their jobs.

The former Home Office and Northern Ireland Minister said the consultation was unbalanced because the views of elected local MPs were over-ridden by the views of people who will owe continued employment to Henshaw.


Another MP who signed the letter, Warrington North’s Helen Jones, said she had already raised concerns about appointments to health bodies, such as primary care trusts.

“They have consistently failed to appoint people from more health-deprived areas. I once described it as golf-club rules; good chaps appoint good chaps. I would describe it as an old boys’ network.”

Members of public bodies are only assessed by their peers and MPs are unable to get questions about them answered in the Commons, she said.

“I asked how we could have input into the assessment of the Cheshire and Mer­seyside Health Authority and got no­­where. There’s no input from outside a small circle of people. They take no notice of local people from my experience in Warrington,” added Jones.

Henshaw had the backing of as few as seven local health officials, (let's have their names, please, ed) compared to the numbers of MPs who protested at his appointment.

Henshaw told The Enquirer the MPs’ letter would not affect him and that people should look at his track record as evidence of his credentials for the role.

“I’m proud of my record as a public sector manager in Liverpool and look forward to managing the NHS. The city council and the city as a whole have improved dramatically,” he said. (Cloud cuckoo land, ed)

Real issues

He said politicians who criticised him over the collapse of the proposed £300m tram project or his relationship with Storey were confusing the real issues.

“The government stopped the tram and the leader of the council committed some serious offences which the Stand­ards Board found brought his office and the council into disrepute. I’ve never criticised anybody.

“I’m looking forward to working with all the MPs in the region and contributing to the reform and development of the NHS. I’ve not seen any letter and no MP has written to me directly,” he added.

When asked about the issue, Blair said: “Jane was a very, very good minister, but she felt very, very strongly about a particular issue to do with appointments within the health service.”

A Downing Street spokesman said she would not comment on Henshaw’s appointment but added: “All government policy advisers fully respect the independent role of the NHS Appoint­ments Commission.”

The Commission said: “We can confirm that the Commission has received a representation from local MPs about the appointment of Sir David Henshaw.

“He was appointed by the Commission following a rigorous re­­cruitment and sel­ection process in line with procedures set out by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments and with the involvement of an independent assessor.

“Number 10 did not bring to bear any influence on the appointment decisions. The Commi­ssion is satisfied Sir David is the person for the job. We sincerely hope that his appointment will be accepted and everyone will work with him to ensure the NHS in the North West is able to provide excellent healthcare services to communities across the region, now and in the future.”

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Gordon Brown's plans to allow civil servants like Henshaw to run our health service is another blow to the founding principles of the NHS.
What is the point of voting if politicians are going to hand over enormous power to unaccountable bureaucrats like Henshaw?
Sir Diddy was appointed to the position of Chairman of the North West Strategic Health Authority on the say-so of an unaccountable, unelected adviser to Blair.
Napoleon got the job despite the oppposition of the serving Health Minister, Jane Kennedy and 25 North West MP's.
That was bad enough. But now Gordon wants to go even further.
He apparently wants to give bureaucrats like Henshaw even more power over the day to day running of the health service.
So then they won't be accountable to anyone - least of all the people they are meant to be serving! Never mind the staff who are being employed.
What checks and balances are going to be introduced to ensure that power mad public servants like Henshaw can't do what the hell they like?
If politicians aren't going to be allowed to intervene to make sure a public service properly serves the public, then who can?
It seems that Brown has got carried away with the success of giving independence over interest rates to the Bank of England (an entirely different organisation than the National Health Service, ed)
The same strategy can't be used in a public service like health where politicians must not hesitate to intervene to make sure it is meeting the public's needs.
No one is saying the Health Minister should be interfering in how many paper clips are being bought by Alder Hey, or North Manchester General.
But political control must be exercised over public servants, otherwise we might as well all go home and not bother voting.
See also Larry Neild's views from the Liverpool Daily Post

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


TWENTY journalists have been made redundant today after the closure of the Henshaw house journal, The North West Enquirer.
None of the journo's will get a penny in redundancy money from Henshaw.
The Dark Knight put a five figure sum (£10 grand? ed) into the new weekly six months ago in the hope that it would buy him a little voice in the media.
(Most serious journalists had got wise to his blackmail, bullying and threats after his adventures in Liverpool and tended to treat his usual bullshit with open contempt, ed).
But the Enquirer failed to take off as Henshaw hoped and poor sales and lack of advertising revenue made it a sure fire failure.
How much Henshaw will lose no-one yet knows. (But we hope it is lots of the dosh he stole from council taxpayers in Liverpool, ed).
More importantly it will be yet another blow to his enormous ego.
After his failures in Liverpool and Capital of Culture, he can now add the Enquirer.
Whither Wicked FM, we wonder?
Meanwhile commiserations to the journalists at the Enquirer - we take no pleasure in its inevitable demise.
It was a weekly newspaper based on a fallacy - that people in Anfield would have the same interests as those in Ardwick.
But some of the journalists were at least trying to write serious, informed stuff - in stark contrast to the disastrous Liverpool Echo.
Henshaw certainly won't be weeping any tears about what will happen to the Enquirer journalists and their families now.
Overall it has been a shocking indictment of the management of the Enquirer (Nick Jaspan, Bob Waterhouse, Henshaw et al.)
It was ill-considered, poorly researched, had wretched deadlines, crap distribution, no marketing, no news sense, and Henshaw toadying columnists (Lew Baxter and Jim Hancock, ed).
Anyone want to start a blog?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


The last days of Henshaw's regime at Liverpool city council were like a scene from the Berlin bunker.

Sir David ordered in his aide de camp Danny Clare (aHa - another Henshaw appointment) to spend an entire weekend sifting through dozens of files in the council's Municipal Building.
Henshaw then stood over poor Clare as he shredded literally hundreds of documents in the great man's huge office.
Apparently there was so much shredded paper that porters were ordered to trundle in purple wheely bins to cope with it all. (Henshaw is pictured illustrating the size of one file of emails about Mike Storey which he shredded).
But what other secret documents were destroyed we wonder? Who did they belong to - Henshaw or the city council? And who gave him permission to destroy council property?
Poor Clare's reward for his loyal destruction was later to be moved to a council backwater when Hilton assumed the role of new chief exec.
And the Berlin bunker took an even more sinister turn when an IT expert was enlisted by McElhinney from Liverpool Direct to wipe clean the computer hard drives of all the members of the evil cabal - Henshaw, the Rottweiller himself and the smiling assassin, Halsall.
Goodness knows what juicy evidence was being disposed of here. We can only speculate about the emails which passed between the evil cabal concerning Storey, Bradley, Joe Anderson, Colin Hilton, Regeneration Executive Director Charlie Parker (we confidently predict), Matt Finnegan and anyone else they had conspired against.
But here's the rub. Henshaw, McElhinney and Halsall still have council computers at home, which they have not yet wiped. These appear to have been overlooked by the city council.
Why doesn't someone insist the council go and seize back its property - and take a look at what is on these computers?
And as part of any investigation into contracts, and in the interests of open government and genuine transparency, why doesn't the council take a leaf out of Scotland Yard's book?
The Yard are using the latest American software to unearth deleted emails from computers as part of their loans for Lords enquiry.
If it's good enough for the capital its good enough for the Capital of Culture.
And who knows what interesting stuff the council might find.
Just a suggestion of course.

This post first appeared on the now legendary It has been reproduced here by kind permission of Tony Parrish Productions (c). We are eternally grateful to him. Below are the original comments made...


Sir David said...

I have now thrown my council computer into the Mersey.

Sunday, July 16, 2006
Dr McElhinney said...

Me too

Sunday, July 16, 2006
Mr Halsall said...

What's a computer?

Sunday, July 16, 2006
Tony Parrish said...

The thing in front of you, dunderhead.

Sunday, July 16, 2006
Jim G said...

As one of those who has been admitted to the inner sanctum of the evil cabal and seen Mr Henshaw at work, I can fully imagine him strutting around his giant office like a little Napoleon instructing council staff about which documents needed to be shredded. Its a pity you haven't learnt to amend photos yet, Tony, you could have drawn a nice little Napoleonic hat on his head for this particular post. What surprises me is that people are still apparently taking Henshaw seriously when his puffed up arrogance is clear for all to see. Your blog however is doing a rather nice little job of exposing the seamy side of his time at the city. Good luck with it!

Sunday, July 16, 2006
Mel said...

Yes, but are we ever going to be able to move on from those bad old days?

Monday, July 17, 2006
objective said...

Alas, there are no prospects that DH's computer files will be recovered. That only happens when the police investigate a crime, and he hasn't been charged with any crime - yet.

Also, shredding files by departing executives is pretty standard business practice these days, especially by those who wish the skeletons to remain firmly buried.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Anonymous said...

The computers must be seized.

The bank statements must be seized.

The assets must be accounted for by taxed earnings.

The tax office must asses whether David Henshaw's expenditure can be accounted for via taxed earnings.

Oh Yeah and if Councilor Kemp is so sure that the content of this blog is largely false was he around to witness documents not being shredded and wheelied off .

The only way to recycle them is to seize the computers - both sets as evidence. ongoing computers would be a good read not doubt.

Sunday, July 30, 2006
Anonymous said...

LDL have the software to recover back anything DH wiped, but the chances of our illustrious leader authorising that is non existent. Techs do what they are told.
Senior Council officer to techie:"Just wipe out all evidence of the chickswithdicks websites and tell his PA it was a network problem"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


There have been more official protests over the appointment of Henshaw to the £40,000-a-year post as Chairman of the North West Regional Strategic Health Authority.
Gordon Prentice, Labour MP for Pendle, (pictured left) has wrung the highly unusual admission from Health Minister Rosie Winterton that four official complaints about the appointment have been received by the Health Appointments Commission.
Already 25 North West MP's, including several Government Ministers, have signed a letter of protest about the blackmailer Henshaw being rewarded with even more public money! And to her great credit, Liverpool Wavertree MP Jane Kennedy (above right) resigned as a Health Minister in protest at greedy Henshaw getting the job. We are reliably informed that Mr Prentice will not be leaving it at that and will be pursuing the appointment further. Good for him. It seems that 'the problem with Henshaw' is just not going away.

This post first appeared on the now legendary It has been reproduced here by kind permission of Tony Parrish Productions (c). We are eternally grateful to him. Below are the original comments made...


Matt said...

Restores my faith in politicians!!!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006
Angel said...

This one went right up to Number 10 - it was an unnamed 'special adviser' there who rung the 'Independent' (sic) Appointments Commission to overrule the (then) Minister's objections to King Rat's appointment.

I would dearly love to know more about this special relationship between Dodgy Dave and Phoney Tony.

Two city academies and one shopping centre for a Duke = One knighthood and a grand a day from the CSA?

Also it seems immunity from prosecution. Maybe Blair has to have his collar felt before the Cabal do? Ho hum won't be long now!

Monday, July 24, 2006
Tony Parrish said...

I have asked a series of Freedom of Information questions about this. And am still waiting for the answers!!!!
I want to identify the adviser - Jane, can you help?