Andrew speaks to his three amendments to the Health And Care Bill 13/01/22

Hansard Contributions By Lord Mawson (CB) On Thursday 13 January 2022


My Lords, I did not want to speak in this part of the discussion but I will make a few comments. I absolutely support what the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, and the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, have been saying.

When I first arrived in Bromley-by-Bow 37 years ago this year, I found on my doorstep the largest artistic community outside New York and none of the systems had even noticed or understood its significance. Over the last 37 years, we have been exploring the whole arts and health agenda and the massive impact it can have on local people’s lives.

When we began to put the Olympic project together —as I said on Tuesday, I was involved in it from day one for 19 years—we took that really seriously and engaged with that large artistic and creative community in health, jobs and skills, education et cetera. That £1.2 billion development going on at the moment in the middle of the Olympic park, bringing together University College London, the London College of Fashion, Sadler’s Wells, the V&A, the BBC orchestra and others, is all about this innovation agenda. It is moving it to scale. If this is to happen, we need the systems of the state and the public sector to learn from this entrepreneurial behaviour, which is happening on the ground, in real places and now to scale, and to understand the detail of what it means for the macro systems of the NHS.

I will say more about place later today, but I thank the noble Baroness for making those points, and the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, because this is fundamental. It relates to the fundamental question: what is a human being? A human being is fundamentally a creative being. Health and creativity and, I suggest, entrepreneurship and doing things, are fundamentally connected.

Link to the debate published on Thursday 13 January 2022


Link to the debate published on Thursday 13 January 2022



My Lords, I spoke on Tuesday about the structure that my colleague Paul Brickell, a Labour councillor in Newham at the time, and I, wrote for the then Government Minister Hazel Blears for the new company that would deliver the Olympic legacy in east London. I also described some of the key people who were invited to be directors of this company, with a clear vision and narrative, focused on delivery.

In east London live people from every nation on earth. Indeed, we did some research and we thought Greenland was not represented—but then we found a family in Newham that was from Greenland. Clearly, we could not have a representative from every nation on the Olympic Park Legacy Company, the OPLC—it was not possible.

At that time the noble Baroness, Lady Ford, was chosen as a Labour Peer by a Labour Prime Minister to be the chairman of the board. She was a very experienced player in the regeneration world from Scotland, not east London. I think that at the time she was a little embarrassed that I, an east Londoner, was not chairing it, given all the early work we had done on helping the east London Olympics happen. But I was not a Labour Party member and therefore could not carry the then Government with me, while she could. I was not concerned about this. My colleagues and I in east London were concerned about whether she had the knowledge and skill that could add real value to this important project and the public sector organisation that had been created. She was excellent and had an objectivity I could not possibly have.

We needed both things on the board: deep, local, practical experience and objectivity. I was asked to chair the Regeneration and Community Partnerships Committee, I think because she thought I knew quite a lot about these local issues and delivery, was trusted by local people and had a track record of delivering in place and in local neighbourhoods. Because my colleagues and I had delivered real projects with the local population, we did not know one thing about the place and neighbourhood: we knew, in depth, many things. It was all about finding the right experienced people, not those who said they represented something or somebody. The mayors of Newham and Hackney were there because they were impressive Labour leaders in east London who were turning around troubled local authorities.

I was asked to join the OPLC board as a person with deep, long-term roots in both a place—east London—and a neighbourhood, Bromley-by-Bow. I could speak and reflect back to the board not one thing—say, the environment—but also health: we were responsible for 43,000 patients. I had also been a Mental Health Act manager for quite some years locally. I think the noble Baroness chose me because I had deep and wide experience of the people, place and local neighbourhoods, and because of the practical work we had done in east London over quite some time—three decades, actually. It was about practical experience of place and neighbourhood and delivery. It was not about a person who thought he or she was representing one group or another, or a particular topic.

Experienced people bring many things to the board with them. I worry about the disabled person on a board who thinks they can talk only about disability issues—this is very condescending—or the young person who can talk only about young people’s issues. They can talk and have views on everything; it is about finding the right-quality person. However, they must have in-depth knowledge of what is actually going on locally and a deep understanding of the practical issues surrounding delivery. This is absolutely crucial.

There is a wider problem with some representatives on committees and structures, because they represent other agendas and they have mixed loyalties. They cannot focus on the task of the board because they have mixed loyalties elsewhere. They do not therefore prioritise the needs of the organisation they are sitting on. There is a lack of clarity about this, and I suspect we will all have experienced this on boards we have sat on. We need to get very clear about these democracy and delivery issues—what I call “the two Ds”. I have listened to a lack of clarity around these issues from successive Governments in recent years. We must get this clear if the new NHS structure is to really deliver the transformation we all now want to see and to deal with the health inequalities we rightly all discussed this morning.

Link to the debate published on Thursday 13 January 2022