Baroness Harding became chair of NHS Improvement in October 2017, before being chosen to head up Test and Trace - a role she stepped back from in April.
At the time, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised a “world-beating” system, but a BBC investigation found it was failing in areas which had some of the worst infection rates, and was beset with IT problems.
A report from the Commons Public Accounts Committee in March said there was “no clear evidence” the £22bn venture contributed to a reduction in coronavirus infection levels.
And in June, the National Audit Office found there were still significant weaknesses in the performance of Test and Trace, particularly around slow turnaround times for test results.
Before being employed by the NHS, Baroness Harding was chief executive of TalkTalk and had held senior roles for Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
I am sure that I am one among many who are glad to see the back of “Incompetent” Harding …
She had no qualifications for the jobs she had in the NHS and brought, with her tenure, a period of gross expenditure and persistent failure …
NHS improvement - a non departmental body didn’t officially merge with NHS England as it requires statutory change to formally merge. Not sure that was finalised before she left. I see she went for the chief exec role but wasn’t successful.
NHS Improvement is a non-departmental body in England, responsible for overseeing the National Health Service foundation trusts and NHS trusts as well as independent providers that provide NHS-funded care.
In the United Kingdom, non-departmental public body (NDPB) is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, Treasury, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to public sector organisations that have a role in the process of national government but are not part of a government department. NDPBs carry out their work largely independently from ministers and are accountable to the public through the Parliament; however, ministers are responsible for the independence, effectiveness and efficiency of non-departmental public bodies in their portfolio.
NHS Improvement is a non-departmental public body, formed 1 April 2016, within the Department of Health and Social Care - its’ website is improvement.nhs.uk
In May 2020, Harding was appointed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock to head NHS Test and Trace, established to track and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in England. In August 2020, after it was announced Public Health England was to be abolished, Harding was also appointed interim chief executive of the new National Institute for Health Protection, later renamed the UK Health Security Agency. Both these roles ended on the formal establishment of the new agency on 1 April 2021. In June 2021, Harding temporarily stood aside as NHS Improvement Chair to apply for the position of Chief Executive of NHS England.
Harding is also on the boards of The Jockey Club, The Court of The Bank of England, British Land and Cheltenham Racecourse (1).
(1) Obviously, these aren’t “jobs” in the recognised sense, either …