Hogg’s head on a platter

May I declare an interest? I briefly worked for Charlotte Hogg’s mother – Sarah (now Baroness) Hogg. She at the time was the Business & City Editor of The Independent, so she should know a thing or two about public perception.

Alas none of this appears to have been passed on to either her husband nor her daughter. Douglas – now Lord – Hogg was the MP who managed to gain massive bad publicity for including the cleaning of the moat at his country resident on his expenses.  The little-known fact was he didn’t actually claim the expense – it was merely noted. So not a hanging offense, except in the eyes of the media.

Similarly having a brother in a senior position at a bank that Bank of England regulates is not a heinous crime – so long as you declare it. Charlotte Hogg failed to declare that her brother held a senior role at Barclays. And so she has been forced to resign as deputy governor.

This is an error of judgment by her, compounded by the fact that she signed off the code of conduct she didn’t adhere to. It shows there is flaw within the systems and the communications at the Bank of England. Who was checking? Who was advising? Why didn’t someone tap Charlotte Hogg on the shoulder and say “You need to declare this”? It wasn’t, and couldn’t be, a secret.

Another former boss of mine used to say “Never look for a conspiracy unless you can rule out cock-up.” This is a pig’s ear created from a Hogg’s error. But good can come of it. Her resignation should be a prompt to review the Bank of England’s disclosure and communications procedures so it doesn’t make this sort of error again.

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