What is the point of fines on corporate bodies

What is the point of fines on corporate bodies

Some time for some focus and an application of common sense and fair play?

“Second World War veteran Major James Fyfe, who signed up aged 17 and fought at Dunkirk, fell of a trolley at Royal Berkshire Hospital and broke his neck in March 2011”.

The ‘learnings’ or ‘outcomes’ (yes those regu-words again that are always used when things corporate or governmental go wrong) in this very tragic state of 2011 affairs is that Graham Sims, the boss of Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust admitted a charge of “breach of an employer of general duty, other than to an employee, relating to the failure to properly secure the hospital bed.”

This is yet another example of a fine meaning nothing at all. Just like banking fines. As Billy Bennett’s song goes It’s the rich what gets the pleasure”!

What is the point of fines on corporate bodies? They mean nothing at all. And even worse, the victims of their blunders see it means nothing.

James Ageros, the NHS trust’s QC said: ‘at the heart of this there is a human tragedy and the Trust apologises and sends its condolences where there was the death of their father in unfit circumstances”.

In this case the trolley that was ‘blamed’ for the sorry mess was “corroded in places and key mechanisms, including a spring inside the side bars, were missing”.

Nobody is held responsible on a meaningful personal level anymore for the errors that cause death, distress, or in the case of banks, financial loss. So that’s all right then?

A £200k fine? Extraordinarily time to pay was asked for by a man whose salary is most likely heading toward £300k- over 4 years was granted. Let’s move on, get over yourselves?

But somebody was responsible for this terrible outcome, ultimately it was the ‘Trust’ but the real blame lies much further down the chain of command. This equipment was in use all day, every day. Was it maintenance, very possibly? Was it the hospital staff that put him on the trolley, surely they must have noticed that the sidebars would not lock?

What is for sure is that it must be someone.

If this were a small business, let’s just say a small IFA business, rather than a corporate body a very different ‘outcome’ would have been seen. Somebody would be rightly identified as individually responsible, substantial compensation, not a fine, paid to the victim or their family by way of the business owners, possibly by their public liability or business insurance and without doubt the business owner would have been prosecuted, maybe even jailed and the business even closed down.

Why is it that corporate responsibility seems to override individual responsibility? Fines should go toward redress for the victims of failure and under no circumstances should HM Treasury treat them as a windfall tax as is currently the case with banking fines.

Perhaps there has come a time that workers in large corporate bodies, banks for example, are equally financially liable in cases like this.

 

Just a thought?

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