The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has savagely criticised Richard Alderman, the former Director of the SFO for approving severance packages in excess of £1million for three departing senior SFO staff.
Margaret Hodge, the committee’s chairman, described the SFO’s culture under Mr Alderman as one where “you took decisions yourself, you decided the packages yourself, you decided that you didn’t need written agreement. It is all indicative of a culture you led which doesn’t fit with a culture in which you find fraud.”
Aldermans successor, David Green QC initiated an enquiry into the severance payments, led by a senior civil servant, which found it “difficult to conclude” that Mr Alderman took “sufficient steps to ensure that his chosen course of action represented good value for money”.
One commentator described Aldermans treatment at the hands of the committee as unprecedented. “I have not seen MPs gang up on a public official like the PAC is right now with ex-SFO chief Richard Alderman for years. Absolutely brutal.” A full account of the hearing can be found here.
Internal reports on the management of the SFO were published in March 2013 following a request from the Shadow Attorney General including Sir Alex Allan’s report investigating historical whistleblowing allegations and a 2012 report by Tim Hurdle of the Treasury Solicitor’s Department, examining the events surrounding exit payments for senior staff.