| Baroness Dido Harding |
|Born||Diana Mary Harding|
|Alma mater||University of Oxford, Harvard Business School|
English businesswoman with strong ties to the UK health bureaucracy. Led several important parts of the UK government's plans in the COVID-19 deep event, including "Test and Trace" and similar programs.
On 7 May 2020, Baroness Harding was appointed to head up the programme of testing and tracing as part of the UK government’s ongoing response to COVID-19, and will lead on the new NHSX app; swab and antibody testing; contact-tracing; and national surveillance as well as immunity certification. She said: “As we move to the next phase of the government’s plan, I am confident that we can use the very best of our tech, research, and people power to help keep COVID-19 at bay.”
On 18 August 2020, Baroness Harding was appointed interim chief of the newly-formed National Institute for Health Protection (later named the UK Health Security Agency) which merges some of Public Health England's Covid-19 pandemic response work with the coronavirus test and trace system. Management consultants McKinsey, who have been awarded £563,000 to advise on the “vision, purpose and narrative” of the NIHP, are the former employers of both Dido Harding and her husband John Penrose.
Dido Harding was named CEO of TalkTalk in 2010, during the period when the group split its Carphone Warehouse retail operation from the group telecoms operation. She was appointed Non Executive Director at the Bank of England in July 2014.
In October 2015, TalkTalk experienced a "significant and sustained cyber-attack", during which personal and banking details of up to four million customers is thought to have been accessed. City A.M. described her responses as "naive", noting that early on when asked if the affected customer data was encrypted or not, she replied: "The awful truth is that I don’t know". Her "inflexible line" on termination fees was also criticised. Marketing magazine ran a headline, "TalkTalk boss Dido Harding's utter ignorance is a lesson to us all". The Evening Standard noted that "It has been a tough week for TalkTalk boss Dido Harding, facing complaints from customers and calls for her head." The company admitted the hack had cost it £60 million and lost it 95,000 customers.
In February 2017, Baroness Harding announced she would stand down after seven years as CEO of TalkTalk in May 2017, to focus more on her public service activities.
In October 2017 Baroness Harding was appointed chair of NHS Improvement, which is responsible for overseeing all NHS hospitals, comprising foundation trusts and NHS trusts, as well as independent providers that provide NHS-funded care.
In May 2020, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that Baroness Harding was to be put in charge of the "Track, Test and Trace" effort as part of the UK government's response to the COVID-19/Pandemic.
Bella Caledonia queried her suitability:
Question: If you were in the middle of a pandemic which was killing people, destroying the national economy, sapping the wellbeing of the entire population and condemning the elderly to endless solitary confinement, who would you NOT put in charge of your major UK health strategy? Answer: Baroness Dido Harding of Winscombe, who is now responsible for the UK government’s ‘Track and Trace’ system in her capacity as head of a body wittily known as ‘NHS Improvement’.
Dido Harding has applied to become the new CEO of NHS England. She has stepped down from being head of NHS Improvement and Test and Trace to pursue this goal. She has overseen £37 billion in spending which some have described as the biggest squandering of public money in history. A new CEO faces huge challenges in restoring the NHS post COVID-19. It will require a person of the highest calibre, integrity and competence, with authentic experience in the culture, ethos and values of the NHS. There is a huge backlog of elective surgery to be addressed. There are tens of thousands of vacancies in the NHS. There is a demoralised and exhausted workforce still recovering from the impact of the pandemic on both their mental and physical well-being. The incredible staff of the NHS need a CEO who understands their concerns, will act as their advocate and will act independently of party politics. Dido Harding would be incapable of that. She is deeply connected to the Conservative Party and would be unlikely to act impartially.
She has no knowledge or background in healthcare. Her record in the private sector could not be described as successful. Her tenure as head of Test and Trace has been an unmitigated disaster.
We say no to Dido Harding as the new Head of NHS England.
Event Participated in
|Bilderberg/2016||9 June 2016||12 June 2016||Germany|
|The 2016 Bilderberg meeting took place in Dresden, Germany.|
|Document:Senior spy appointed to lead UK’s joint biosecurity centre||Article||5 June 2020||Helen Warrell|
|Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at Edinburgh University, says: “The virus is not worried that you’re tracking its progress, it’s not going to change its tactic. Cybersecurity is not your worry with a virus. It’s a biological phenomenon.”|
|Document:Track and Trace. Stay Elite.||Article||29 May 2020||David Black||Poor Dido was pressed into service early by Boris and the lads when she launched her Track and Trace initiative some days ahead of its scheduled June 1st slot in a ludicrously transparent attempt to draw fire from Corporal Cummings, whose lockdown breaching escapades were causing havoc in Tory ranks.|
|Document:Why the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app failed||Article||19 June 2020||Matt Burgess||On 18 June 2020, Matt Hancock announced that the planned centralised NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app, which has been trialled on the Isle of Wight and downloaded by tens of thousands of people, has been ditched in favour of a decentralised system developed by Google and Apple.|
- "Baroness Dido Harding - NHS Improvement"
- "Dido Harding on Linkedin"
- "Baroness Dido Harding appointed to lead NHS Covid-19 app"
- "Dido Harding is very competent and capable says Jeremy Hunt"
- "Coronavirus: Dido Harding to be temporary head of new health agency"
- "Abolition of Public Health England just 'passing of blame for coronavirus mistakes'"
- "New health protection boss’s old employers will receive £563,000 to advise on ‘vision’ and ‘narrative’ of new body"
- "CEO TalkTalk"
- "Ex-Tesco high-flier Dido Harding to head demerged TalkTalk"
- "Court of Directors"
- "TalkTalk cyber-attack: Boss 'very sorry for security breach'"
- "TalkTalk boss Dido Harding's utter ignorance is a lesson to us all"
- "City Spy: The TalkTalk hack is just another 'occupational hazard'"
- "TalkTalk hack toll: 100k customers and £60m"
- "TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding to step down"
- "New chair of NHS Improvement revealed"
- "Delighted that @didoharding has agreed to step up to lead our vital cross-govt Test and Trace"
- Document:Track and Trace. Stay Elite.
- "I strongly oppose Dido Harding being appointed as Chief Executive of NHS England"