The Solicitors Regulation Authority's addiction to the General Medical Council is even more serious than previously thought.
Before he took up the role of Chief Executive of the SRA in 2006, Antony Townsend was the Chief Executive of the General Dental Council. But before that, although it is omitted from his LinkedIn profile, he was the Director of Education and Standards at the GMC.
It means both the regulator's last two Chief Executives were drawn from the GMC. As previously reported, Townsend's successor, Paul Philip, is also an ex-GMC man. So are three of the four other people who comprise the SRA's current senior management team, and so is its 'Director of Corporate Affairs', who was Philip's PA at the GMC.
But it is not just bigwigs (and board members) shooting merrily down the GMC-SRA funnel. Other old GMC pals are also invited.
Barry Baines, a lawyer, has been a senior consultant at the SRA for the last year. He was its Acting Director of Investigation & Supervision for a year before that. Between 2005 and 2013, however, he undertook regular work as a solicitor advocate and the Interim Investigations Manager at, no prizes if you guessed it, the GMC.
Described as "a friend of Paul Philip" by a source, Baines is understood to be on a rolling contract at the SRA. He is, said the source, being "paid to travel from the south coast" and "put up in a hotel in the plush Mailbox", a complex near the SRA's HQ in Birmingham.
Baines did not respond to a query asking whether he thought his association with the SRA's Chief Executive had helped him get employed at the SRA.
A spokesman for the SRA said RollOnFriday should use the same comments it provided on previous stories about cronyism: “All executive roles are openly advertised and go through a competitive recruitment process. All of these appointments are made on merit by a panel chaired by the Chair of the SRA Board.”