NHS Brent to investigate how convicted armed robber was given £1,000-a-day job

Craig Alexander is a convicted armed robber

Craig Alexander is a convicted armed robber - Credit: Archant

A simple Internet search would have uncovered Craig Alexander’s criminal past

A health trust which employed a convicted armed robber as a director will launch a full investigation into how was given a job.

Last week the Times exclusively reported that Craig Alexander was sacked as interim borough director for NHS Brent after it was revealed he had been jailed for an armed robbery at a Tesco store.

Alexander had been in charge of Brent’s Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) budgets, which according to colleagues earned him up to £1,000 a day since January last year.

No background checks were carried out and Alexander was allowed to walk into the job after being supplied through a recruitment agency, which the Times can now name as Hunter Healthcare.

His CV and employment history contained fictitious references which the NHS and Hunter failed to check due to them not being specifically health related.

His secret past was uncovered when a colleague he had been rude to searched his name on the Internet.

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When the Times contacted Hunter Healthcare they said they could not lawfully carry out a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check because he was not due to be employed in “regulated activity” with vulnerable people.

Gavin Johnstone, managing director at the company, added: “Craig Alexander had worked in the NHS through another agency directly before he came on to our books and had good references from recent placements.

“We contacted the individuals who gave these references, as we always do to ensure candidates meet an employer’s requirements.”

But in a letter – seen by the Times – sent to NHS Brent colleagues on behalf its chief operating officer, Jo Ohlson it says: “As part of a full investigation of the incident, we will look at the requirements we expect of agencies in vetting candidates they put forward and whether we require DBS checks for any CCG (clinical commissioning groups) staff. “CCG posts would not normally fall within the posts eligible for a DBS check.”

DBS is the replacement for what was previously a Criminal Records Bureau check, to indicate whether a prospective employee has a criminal record.

Alexander escaped with cash and cheques after carrying out the robbery in 2001 but he was not jailed until 2007 after he was arrested for a separate offence and his DNA matched samples found at the earlier raid.

A former colleague said: “How can someone of his background be in charge of taxpayers money?

“The trust has to be investigated. How many more contract staff do they have working there who have not had background checks done?”