herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Santa Bear appeal is 'under review' as HSE slammed on staff delay

CRC chief Stephanie Manahan said job compromised by HSE
CRC chief Stephanie Manahan said job compromised by HSE

The Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) could not say if it will be bringing back its famous Santa Bear appeal this year but said the matter was "under review".

The flagship fundraising campaign was dropped last year as the charity sought to move on from the salary top-up scandal.

While the proceeds of the Santa Bear campaigns were not used to top-up the pay of former CRC boss Paul Kiely, it was decided not to go ahead with the sale of the distinctive lapel pins in 2014.

Light

The same year a report by an interim administrator to the CRC highlighted a drop in public donations to the organisation since the controversy.

Then newly-appointed CRC chief Stephanie Manahan said in 2014 that "in light of the current work being undertaken, we will not be running a Santa Bear appeal this year".

She later indicated in a news report that the campaign would return this year.

However, a spokesman could not confirm that would be happening to the Herald.

"There is a lot of interest in resuming the Santa Bear appeal, and it remains under review," he said.

Meanwhile, it can be revealed that Ms Manahan accused the HSE of compromising her ability to introduce "robust corporate governance" after it refused to approve the hiring of staff.

Ms Manahan sent a stinging email to HSE officials complaining about the agency's refusal to sanction posts - from senior therapy staff to healthcare assistants.

Salary

The correspondence on August 28 came around 18 months after the controversy over salary top-ups paid to former CRC chief executive Paul Kiely.

Ms Manahan emailed a number of officials, including HSE national director of social care Pat Healy and disability services head Marion Meany after approval to recruit for the posts was initially refused.

"I was most disappointed to receive refusals today for a number of posts for the CRC despite my clear indication in the business cases that they are within my current pay envelope and additional funding is not required," she said,

"The prevention of the filling of posts by the HSE compromises my ability to deliver not only on the Service Arrangement but also on the establishment of good robust governance of this organisation," she wrote.

Ms Manahan's email led to a meeting with HSE officials and a U-turn that saw the agency approved the filling of 13 posts, including two temporary positions.

It's almost two years since the entire board of the CRC resigned in the wake of the salary top-up scandal.

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