Tag Archives: Whistleblowing

WHISTLING IN THE WIND

WHISTLING IN THE WIND

Council bosses continue to deliver a pile of NONSENSICAL CRAP instead of working WHISTLEBLOWING ARRANGEMENTS for their staff.

Delivering their ‘Annual Review of Whistleblowing Arrangements’ to the Audit Committee, bosses trumpeted to councillors that their review included “a survey of 100 CITY COUNCIL EMPLOYEES“.

Although the sheepish bosses went on to admit “the response rate to the survey was limited with only 22 RESPONSES RECEIVED“. This means around 0.3 per cent of council staff were actually surveyed, which seems a rather small amount to be building a working policy around.

The information gathered from the small amount of staff brave enough to respond was, however, deeply worrying. As staff admitted they have not reported concerns due to “FEAR OF REPRISAL” and “CONCERN THAT NOTHING WOULD BE DONE.”

Audit bosses response to this, supported by the city council’s hapless HR department, was to advise the Audit Committee that they needed to “REINFORCE THE MESSAGE“. Even though “the message” coming through to staff appears to be “don’t you dare blow the whistle at Bristol City Council”

After discussing the matter for a while, councillors concluded that their HR department needed to take responsibility for “REINFORCING THE MESSAGE” so that staff understood that whistleblowers have legal protections and any allegations of malpractice are taken seriously (honest guv, ed).

An odd decision since their current Director of HR and Workforce, John “Bedwetter” Walsh, appointed last year, was working as a senior HR consultant in Wakefield in 2006 when six social workers were SUMMARILY DISMISSED for trying to reveal serious children’s SAFEGUARDING CONCERNS.

The concerns were regarding children living in care homes run by Wakefield Council who were being exposed to DRUGS and were at risk of SEXUAL EXPLOITATION. Within a month of making their complaints in January 2006, the whistleblowing workers were FIRED. Wakefield Council then tried to get the six workers placed on a government blacklist usually reserved for SEX OFFENDERS.

Bedwetter scarpered from Wakefield in March 2006, before the fallout from the affair, which cost the council £1 MILLION in an out of court settlement to the exonerated social workers. There was also red faces all round at the council when it publicly emerged that they had sought to protect potential CHILD ABUSERS at the expense of WHISTLEBLOWING SOCIAL WORKERS.

Is Bedwetter Walsh really the best person Bristol City Council can find to promote a better deal for whistleblowers?


News Release: Bristol IWW defending whistle blowers and free speech in Bristol City Council

iww

In March 2018 a FW ( fellow worker) working in Child Protection for Bristol City Council (BCC) was suspended from his post. He was charged with issues under the code of conduct, and most of the first set of allegations against him related to a closed Labour Party Facebook page. The group are made up of labour activists, who regularly discuss policy and procedure in BCC. The FW was conversing with a union shop steward about the Walter Ayles anti-war artwork. This had been taken down after orders from BCC. But after an outcry, the Council had to apologise, and the artwork was replaced.The face book posting had been given to the council by Mayor Marvin Rees. Therefore, rather than just speaking to the labour party member, he tried to get them dismissed from their post in Child Protection. He also, by his actions, closed down a labour party face book group, and shut down free speech concerning BCC’s activities. Furthermore, he may have breeched rights of members under data protection legislation. All in all, Mayor Rees has attacked his own party members, and stopped them discussing his own policies. Hardly a beacon of democracy, and more will be forthcoming about this. Probably just prior to his reselection attempts.

Marvin failed to get the activist sacked for this, but then BCC forwarded more allegations, and tried to refuse our FW trade union support. The Head of Workforce, a Mr John Walsh wrote in an email, that the IWW secured, that the caseworker must be “shut down”. Hardly in line with the ethos of an open and transparent disciplinary process. Walsh carried on in his attempts to carry on with out the FW having representation, until BCC employed an expensive consultant. This consultant had to explain to Walsh that he could not do this, and also, he had to follow his employer’s own policies. This consultant even had to explain to Walsh what “will” meant, in the context of employment legislation; unbelievable when you consider that this person’s wages equate to a couple of libraries being kept open.

The other allegations revolved around a twitter account, held by the Bristol Citizen. The Citizen regularly criticises BCC’s officers, councillors and policies. The democratic Mayor and his officers cannot stand this and were determined to prove that our FW was the Citizen. One small problem, they did not have a shred of proof, not a smidgen, absolutely bugger all. Their main “proof” was that it was common knowledge in the Public Relations Office, and the Mayor’s Office, that the FW was the Bristol Citizen. Come the day they could not supply a single statement, or witness. The IWW contacted the Bristol Citizen, who did provide a statement, and some interesting information.

Whilst this incompetent mess could be seen as the council just being completely out of their trees. The FW does have some history with BCC. In 2012 he whistle blew that a six figure some was missing from Bristol markets. This figure could build a children’s centre, or similar. Rather than a full investigation, he lost his job and was lucky to be redeployed. To this day, the money is still missing and there has not been any disciplinary process, other than against the whistle blower. No other FWs in the council have had to put up with this level of incompetence relating to disciplinary. So we can only conclude that these bizarre allegations, and the victimisation that followed, were due to him being a whistle blower. He even phoned the Council’s whistle blower’s helpline, to get an answer phone, and no help.

Our FW is made of stern stuff though, and he had the support of the best Union in the world. After 8 ½ months on suspension. 15 allegations, the employment of 2 external consultants, and hundreds of officer’s hours, all at a great cost to the tax payers of this city. He won his hearing, as everything was unfounded. He will go back to his Child Protection role, supporting vulnerable children in our city. But, we are not finished. There are serious questions to be answered, both from the Mayor, but also Mr Walsh. He started by trying to deny the FW his trade union rights, interfered in the case, and even instructed the FWs witnesses not to engage. Furthermore, the Bristol Citizen tells us that he has history. He was involved in the sacking of several whistle blowers in Wakefield. The Citizen has tweeted this, and the IWW will be investigating further. We do not need these people in our City. We need proper, transparent public services, run by a democratic council. If they cannot do this, we will.

Steve Mills, National Case Worker, Bristol IWW

November 2018