Former quango chief gets massive pension boost despite questionable success…

Members of the Public Accounts Committee have been all over civil servants and quangocrats recently, digging up stories on wasteful use of taxpayers' cash.

One little gem of dubious spending that South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon dug up, but which has not been reported yet, relates to Cynthia Bower, former head of the Quality Care Commission (CQC).

Bower was a senior West Midlands NHS boss when the scandal over Stafford Hospital took place, in which hundreds of people needlessly died due to poor standards of care. She was criticised for not properly responding to evidence that things were as bad as they were.

But none the less she was employed as chief exec of the CQC in 2008, a body responsible for ensuring such a scandal never happened again.

Last year the National Audit Office said the CQC had not achieved value for money in regulating the safety of health and social care.

Even worse the CQC was said to have 'misled' Parliament by saying it had carried out 15,220 inspections when the real figure was just 7,368.

So in February this year Bower quit, shortly after being grilled by the PAC Committee. But one of the things that came out of the hearing is yet to be fully explained by her, the CQC or anyone else.

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The value of Bower's pension in March 2009 was �871,000 and by March 2011 CQC records show it had increased to �1.35m. That's a monster real terms increase of �421,000 in just two years.

It may be in part down to a discrepancy in the way the NHS record figures and also down to the fact that her pensionable salary jumped from �130,000 to �190,000 in that time. Despite Bower having left her job weeks ago the PAC are still waiting to hear how it happened.