Who is David Bowles?
David Bowles is married with two children and has lived in Lincolnshire since 1999.
David was born in Cambridgeshire, has a science degree and a very sound background in finance and public service as well as the private sector. He has worked for a number of large Councils such as Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. Before coming to Lincolnshire he had worked to help Deloitte’s enter the outsourcing market winning a number of significant ‘firsts’ with organisations ranging from multi-nationals to government departments. He is hard working, intelligent, calm and tenacious; never afraid to stand up for what is right and true.
He first came to Lincolnshire as Chief Executive of Lincolnshire County Council, taking over during what were to become some dark days for the council. And this is when David first began to show his fearless integrity. He knew it would probably cost him his job but he was not to be cowed by the activities of the politicians in charge; he stood up to them when he saw wrong doing.
It was a particularly tough time; others had left rather than face down the corrupt politicians but not David. David called in the Police when the Council Leader manipulated planning procedures to increase the value of his own land. David did not quit and had the tenacity to see it through, gave compelling evidence at the trial of Leader of the Conservative controlled Council, Jim Speechley, who was convicted and jailed for misconduct in public office.
Some years later David became the Non Executive Chairman of the troubled United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. In this role David secured substantial increases in income for the Trust and the Trust broke even for the first time in years. Again though he did the right thing by the people he worked with and the patients they took care of and made a public stand when his professional team advised him they were under pressure to put meeting the Labour government’s waiting times targets above safety, reminiscent of what had happened at Mid Staffordshire.
David sought to challenge the system internally and did not succeed. He had three choices.
- Keep quiet, continue to be paid as Chairman and hope no patients came to harm.
- Resign quietly.
- Resign and publicise the issues of patient safety to help make sure patients did not come to harm.
David, as you would expect, did what Non Executive Directors of public bodies should do in such circumstances and chose the latter.
This experience of governance has resulted in him undertaking a number of challenging ‘turnaround’ assignments especially in local government. He was appointed by the Welsh local government Minister as Interim Managing Director to Anglesey County Council. The problems with member conduct were such that David advised the Minister to call in Commissioners to take the powers away from elected members and review the boundaries of member constituencies to make them multi-member and reduce the number of Councillors. The Minister accepted these recommendations. A report into the impact David had on the staff at the Council stated
‘The impact of the Interim MD David Bowles cannot be overstated. There was not one individual who did not appreciate his firmness, experience, boundary setting and leadership style. For many it was an eye opener, for one a life changing experience revealing through example what might have been possible for the Council and indeed himself.’
His reputation for commitment to strong governance at ULHT resulted in David being selected to carry out one of the most high profile special investigations into NHS culture reporting directly to the Deputy First Minister in the Scottish Executive. The Deputy First Minister accepted all of the recommendation in the report. David has also spoken at events such as the recent BMA conference on whistle-blowing.
More recently David ran an an Independent candidate in for police commissioner for Lincolnshire and won the first ballot and had it been the first past the post system, as it is for most other elections, he would now be commissioner. However that was not the system. With the alternative vote system in use it went to a second ballot and he was beaten by Alan Hardwick former local TV presenter and a fellow independent.
David has been a Non Executive Director of the Institute of Public Finance, is a member of the Audit Committee of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and is a member of the Council of Public Concern at Work, the whistle-blowing charity.