Neil Cruickshank, the Managing Director of Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd, has been disqualified for 8 years for failing to follow proper company procedures regarding Quality of Care, after he was sent information from a whistleblower regarding the behaviour of staff at the Winterbourne View Nursing Home, near Bristol.

The disqualification, from 1 May 2015, prevents Mr Cruickshank from directly or indirectly becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company for the duration of the term.

The whistleblowing was in the form of an email, dated 11 October 2010, titled Ive had enough. It was sent by a Charge Nurse at Winterbourne View to the Hospital Manager. The level of detail in the email indicated the seriousness of the concerns and should have been a sufficient alert for the companys director to act rapidly, robustly and responsibly.

On 22 October 2010, a senior manager sent Mr Cruickshank both this email and further communications, both from the Whistle-blower and internally, which clearly demonstrated that the Whistleblowing Policy was not being adhered to.

Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd failed after this date to launch any internal investigation: The Director of Governance, the psychiatrist for the service and the Group Clinical Director were not informed of any whistle-blowing complaint and there was no mention of it in national Serious Untoward Incident Logs, as per policy and procedure for any Safeguarding alert.

Commenting on the disqualification, Sue MacLeod, Chief Investigator at The Insolvency Service, said:

Company Directors should note from this enforcement result that any failure to follow their own internal policies is likely to lead to serious censure. They should also note the breadth of misconduct which can be considered for proceedings under The Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.

In this particular case, Mr Cruickshank was aware, or should have been aware, of a series of indicators of poor quality of care within Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd, long before these were highlighted by BBC Panorama in Winterbourne View Nursing Home.

The most serious of these was his clear contemporaneous knowledge both of a serious Whistleblowing at Winterbourne View and that it was being mishandled by the senior staff-members who reported to him.

Patients and their families deserved far higher levels of internal governance.