David Bowles has earned a reputation for personal integrity taking on tough challenges in the field of governance.
David has extensive public and private sector experience having held posts ranging from Business Development Director at Deloitte’s outsourcing arm to Chief Executive of a number of public sector organisations and Chair of one of the most challenged NHS Acute Trusts in England.
David’s commitment to governance is borne out of experience. Whilst Chief Executive at Lincolnshire County Council he had to deal with serious governance issues, calling in both the external auditors and the police. Eventually the former Leader of the Council, Jim Speechley, was jailed for misconduct in public office for seeking to influence the line of a road to enhance the value of his own land. David was widely praised for his stand. Rodney Brooke CBE, Chairman of the General Social Care Council and Director of the Ethics Standards Board for Accountants in a report into Lincolnshire said that David had
‘set a climate in which high ethical standards are expected. In doing so he has behaved with considerable courage’
Because of David’s experiences he has become an acknowledged expert adviser on governance, particularly in the public sector. The Welsh Assembly Government’s concerns about a Council were such that the Minister intervened and took away the Council’s powers to appoint its own Managing Director and directly appointed David to the Council. During the intervention a report by Mel Usher stated:
The impact of the Interim MD David Bowles cannot be overstated. There was not one individual who did not appreciate his firmness, experience, boundary setting and leadership style. For many it was an eye opener, for one a life changing experience revealing through example what might have been possible for the Council and indeed himself.
Substantial improvements were made but elected member conduct was such that David recommended the appointment of Commissioners to take some of their powers away. He also recommended a special review by the Boundary Commission to promote democratic renewal. These recommendations were accepted. Following the implementation of the Boundary Commission recommendations the Council is no longer in special measures.
This commitment to governance was also shown in the NHS where, as Chairman, David led a substantial turnaround of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust between 2006 and 2009. He resigned to make public his concerns that officials were putting meeting targets before safety in overful hospitals. Subsequent events such as Mid Staffordshire and the Francis Report into whistleblowing in the NHS vindicated his actions.
He has led a range of highly sensitive investigations including into waiting list manipulation at NHS Lothian and was commissioned to advise the the then Scottish Health Secretary and Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on the action to take. Along with confidential reports he produced a public report.