24/02/2015 - 15:37

Healthway chair resigns, board to follow

24/02/2015 - 15:37

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Healthway chair Rosanna Capolingua has resigned from her role on the agency’s board, following a Public Sector Commission report that unveiled an extensive misuse of tickets and hospitality by its board and senior staff.

Rosanna Capolingua has resigned as chair of Healthway. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Healthway chair Rosanna Capolingua has resigned from her role on the agency’s board, following a Public Sector Commission report that unveiled an extensive misuse of tickets and hospitality by its board and senior staff.

At a press conference today, Premier Colin Barnett also called for the remaining members of the board to step down.

He said the agency needed a clean slate, with regard to both its board and management.

This will involve replacing the board, establishing interim management and undertaking a review of the relevant legislation.

Mr Barnett said one of the deficiencies in the current legislation was that the board of Healthway had more independence than probably any other agency in government.

The agency is set to be kept on a shorter leash by government, with Mr Barnett suggesting the Lotterywest model of governance might be adopted as part of the legislation reform.

The Public Sector Commission report revealed last week that there had been a misuse of tickets and hospitality by Heathway senior management, the board and other staff, following irregularities uncovered by the auditor general.

It found the agency had procured thousands of tickets worth around $220,000 for events through its sponsorship agreements that were given to family and friends of staff and board members, and hospitality resources included as part of the agreements were misused at the cost of taxpayers.

Mr Barnett said while there was scope for the use of hospitality provision of tickets, in the case of Heathway it was grossly excessive and was used blatantly for personal benefit.

Dr Capolingua’s resignation comes two weeks after executive director David Malone resigned from his role at Healthway, five months after it was announced the use of sponsorship benefits was being investigated.

Mr Barnett said he suspected Mr Malone resigned because he was aware of what the Public Sector Commission report would uncover.

“It was clear from the report that he (Mr Malone) made excessive use of tickets and hospitality for personal benefit,” Mr Barnett said.

He said he didn’t expect Mr Malone would be welcomed back into the public sector in the future.

Mr Malone is subject to a confidentiality deed as part of his severance.

Dr Capolingua said she agreed that the Healthway board needed an overhaul, starting by removing herself from the helm.

Despite this she maintains that, during her 15 years on the board, she had only attended a small number of events as chair, and said the excessive procurement of hospitality perks was withheld from her and the board.

While she was unable to comment on the circumstances of Mr Malone’s departure, she said it took some time to achieve the outcome.

“I would have very much liked to have marched the executive director out of the building the day I got the OAG report,” Dr Capolingua said.

She said she was relieved to be stepping down from the Heathway board, following the ongoing pushback on Heathway’s agenda from some external parties.

“The board has gone through some very challenging times and I as chair have gone through some very challenging times.”

The Healthway board comprises outgoing chair Dr Capolingua, Cathcart Weatherly, Brett Ashdown, Kay Benham, Mark Bishop, Graham Brimage, Margaret Butcher, Mike Daube, Gary Geelhoed, Helen Parker and Denise Sullivan.

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