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PHE boss was handed £375k when body was scrapped

Public Health England boss Duncan Selbie was handed £375k when body was scrapped by ministers after Tory fury at Covid bungles

  • EXC: Former PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie received £375,000 after leaving
  • Organisation was scrapped by ministers in August 2020 after Covid backlash
  • Accounts reveal Prof Selbie was handed extra sum following formal departure  

The boss of Public Health England was handed £375,000 when ministers scrapped the much-criticised body.

Prof Duncan Selbie received the huge sum after the contract on his £190,000 a year post ended in August 2020. 

Officials said it was partly a payoff, as well as for offering ‘advice’ to the government.

The generous package for the former PHE chief executive was slipped out in the organisation’s final accounts.

Matt Hancock, health secretary at the time, announced PHE was being axed in August 2020 saying the pandemic had ‘shone a light on our public health system’.

He said he had ‘learned a lot about… what needs to change’ – although he also paid tribute to the ‘incredible work’ done by experts.

Prof Duncan Selbie (file picture) received the huge sum after the contract on his £190,000 a year post ended in August 2020

Tory MPs had condemned the body’s response to Covid, blaming it for bungles including over testing capacity and PPE supplies.  

The PHE accounts state that although Prof Selbie’s contract expired on August 19, he ‘remained on payroll until Nov 30’. 

‘In addition to the remuneration in the above table, a further payment (including salary) of £370k – £375k was paid,’ the report said. 

A government spokesman said Prof Selbie – who had been in charge of PHE since 2012 – carried out ‘work directly for the department advising on public and global health matters’ after officially leaving. 

A government spokesman said: ‘The remuneration paid to Professor Selbie was paid in accordance with government rules and approved by the Treasury.

‘We remain grateful to Professor Selbie for his long years of service in the health and public sectors and the many important contributions he has made.’

In December of 2020 Prof Selbie became president of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI). 

IANPHI has members from nearly 100 states, including the UK, which help with funding through subscriptions based on the size of their economy.

Prof Selbie was elected president of the body for a three-year term, with the news being announced on the gov.uk website.  

However, IANPHI said the president and other executive positions are unpaid. 

The generous package for the former PHE chief executive was slipped out in the organisation’s final accounts

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