Engagement of Professor John Ashton CBE (FOI)
Engagement of Professor John Ashton CBE (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 12 September 2022.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
There is evidence to show that Professor John Ashton CBE (formerly North West Regional Director of Public Health and Regional Medical Officer from 1993 – 2006 and Director of Public Health and County medical Officer for Cumbria from 2006- 2013) was in Jersey in 2021. It is publicly documented that Ashton is a professionally controversial, if not questionable, figure. Request as follows.
Has Ashton ever been engaged by the Government (pre or post pandemic) and if so, for what purpose?
Subject to (A), was this financially rewarded and if so, what is the breakdown and total of that reward? (including any reimbursed expenses)
Subject to (A), has any professional advice provided by Ashton been implemented in any Government policy at any time?
Professor Ashton was engaged by the Government of Jersey for a short period in 2021.
He was engaged to support internal improvements to efficiency in the public health team in the area of health promotion, which was challenged at that time to match capacity to workload. His objectives were to raise awareness of resources, professional development opportunities and professional networks across the UK so that high quality outputs could be delivered. This was important as the rest of the team were largely responding to the Covid pandemic.
Professor Ashton was renumerated for his work through an agency. The total value including any expenses amounted to less than £20,000. The agency rate was consistent with the market rate for a senior specialist in public health at that time.
The exact figure is considered commercially sensitive. Article 33(b) of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 has been applied.
As a result of advice, four members of staff have re-registered or are now working towards attaining UK Faculty of Public Health practitioner status. This is an important peer-reviewed professional milestone. Improved connections were made with colleagues in public health agencies in Scotland, Wales, and England. These connections have allowed policies in Jersey to take account of work developed in other jurisdictions and have led to more efficient delivery of a range of outputs.
Article 33 - Commercial interests
Information is qualified exempt information if –
(a) it constitutes a trade secret; or
(b) its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of a person (including the scheduled public authority holding the information).
Public Interest Test
Article 33(b) of the Freedom of Information Law allows an authority to refuse a request for information where its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of a person (including the scheduled public authority holding the information).
Whilst it is accepted that the public may have an interest in the content of Government of Jersey contracts, it is considered that releasing this information could affect the commercial interests of the supplier and the Government of Jersey.