Friday, 11 January 2008

AMs Question Internal Inquiry by the Civil Service

Following on from Miss Wagstaff's post on internal investigations carried out by the Welsh Assembly Government, it is now reported that two Assembly Members are questioning the decision of the senior staff of the Welsh Assembly Government to hold such an internal inquiry in the first place.

A court this week decided that Graham Evans, 54, of Penpedairheol, Caerphilly, had made lewd comments to a female colleague and assaulted her outside a pub toilet. He currently works as a highways chief for the Welsh Assembly Government and is also a respected soccer referee for more than 20 years.

The Western Mail reports:

Cardiff Central AM Jenny Randerson said the court’s decision threw up questions on how the Assembly had previously conducted its own investigation into the matter:

This must have put Mr Evans’ job in serious doubt. My concern is that this story was related to sexual harassment and that there had been an internal investigation carried out by the Assembly and no action had been taken. That must now be looked into. It was stated there had been no evidence, but there was obviously enough evidence in the court case. This must also call into question the Assembly human resources procedures.
The court case has also left Mr Evans’ role as a referee [football] in an awkward position as he takes charge of women’s games and also acts as referees’ instructor for up-and-coming officials.

Plaid Cymru South Wales Central AM Chris Franks said:
This case has potential for further legal and disciplinary actions. I haven’t had any prior knowledge of the issue. These matters are dealt with by senior civil servants and AMs tend not to be involved. Senior civil servants would have been responsible for investigating the initial complaint and we must hope the matter has been fully and properly investigated. Senior civil servants must insist that all staff are properly treated in their professional lives.
Judge Patrick Curran QC, who decided the case, found Mr Evans to be neither a “straightforward” or “careful” witness. And he pointed out the transport chief even tried to backtrack on his own statement which he originally swore was true.

The revelations pile yet more pressure on the troubled civil servant.

In his written judgement, Judge Curran said:
He was and still is an established team leader with a great deal to lose if he had been caught engaging in misconduct of the type alleged. He sought, on a detail of considerable importance to one aspect of his case, to depart from a statement made in a witness statement in respect of which he had signed a statement of truth.
The Welsh Assembly Government has since refused to comment on the case. The stance has been matched by the Football Association of Wales.


Miss Wagstaff 11 January 2008 at 12:52  

Welcome to the team, Senedd Whip. x

WAG cover up 11 January 2008 at 13:45  

A cover up if ever I've seen one. Let's hope the right questions are asked of Ministers and Senior Civil Servants...but I doubt it.

Joe public 11 January 2008 at 14:08  

Would he have received the same treatment if he wasn't someone senior? Probably not. No wonder the press have it in for the Welsh Government.

Dave 11 January 2008 at 14:36  

Isn't it about time we had some good news about what the government has been doing.

Can someone think of some? It must come soon as there's an election soon.

Anonymous 11 January 2008 at 15:00  

The Civil Service is infested with 'time servers' with no particular talent. They are frequently moved around in order to broaden their experience of time serving, rather than build up special expertise.

temporary secretary 11 January 2008 at 15:15  

Between this and the Cardiff Bay security men and their use of cctv cameras, that's two 'alleged' crimes that weren't reported to the police.

What must the general public be thinking now?

Anonymous 11 January 2008 at 16:46  

Have you noticed that Sanddef Rhyferys has created a Wikipedia page for himself. "It is one of the most widely-read political blogs in Wales." His ego. Ha ha.

Anonymous 11 January 2008 at 17:30  

Anonymous said...

"Have you noticed that Sanddef Rhyferys has created a Wikipedia page for himself. "It is one of the most widely-read political blogs in Wales." His ego. Ha ha."

LOL, he's so touchy too.

Miss Wagstaff 11 January 2008 at 17:43  

Try and stick to the subject matter guys. I'm going away for a long weekend break.

Anonymous 11 January 2008 at 17:44  

.....and under the Media work heading he identifies his a blog as ORDOVICIOUS.

A Freudian slip mayhap?

Anonymous 11 January 2008 at 17:46  

Sorry Miss, couldn't resist it.

Rob 11 January 2008 at 20:04  

The police need to knock on the door of Cathays Park and have a word so that this kind of sloppy procedure doesn't happen again.

Anonymous 12 January 2008 at 01:49  

Anonymous said...

".....and under the Media work heading he identifies his a blog as ORDOVICIOUS."

nah just some cynical bastards sabotaging his entry .... now I wonder who that could be?

Anonymous 12 January 2008 at 01:54  

Sorry for going off-topic there Miss Whiplash.

The thing is why did they have an internal inquiry ... I guess because the lady reported her boss to Human Resources.

Why didn't the police investigate ... I guess because the lady didn't report it to the police.

Now if that's the case then the internal inquiry was the right course of action. It wasn't up to HR to report an issue to the police when the lady involved hadn't done so.

Whether the inquiry was full and fair is another matter.

Anonymous 12 January 2008 at 01:56  

oh and let's remember the incident happened in a pub not on Assembly property.

Senedd Whip 12 January 2008 at 11:19  

Miss Wagstaff and I weren't falling down on one side or another. The alleged incident(s) happened on Assembly property and outside work, although in that case it was a 'works do'.

What we are saying is that if a crime was committed, organisations shouldn't make it an internal matter - it should be reported to the police. As Jenny Randerson AM said "It was stated there had been no evidence, but there was obviously enough evidence in the court case."

Anonymous 12 January 2008 at 19:14  

But surely it's up to the victim to report it to the police especially as it happened outside the Assembly. I would be a bit fed up if the assembly took it upon itself to involve me in a criminal investigation when I had made no complaint to the police. I don't think the incidents that occured at work were actually crimes were they?

Anonymous 12 January 2008 at 19:15  

By the way the court case was a civil matter where the standards of evidence are not as strict as in a criminal case.

Kathryn 12 January 2008 at 19:27  

Anon 19:14 - You're missing the point. Sexual assault is a crime.

The 'do' outside work was with colleagues, arranged via work. Therefore the employer has a responsibility to a certain degree. As there was an internal complaint and they worked together, the employer has a responsibility to report an alleged crime if they were told that one had been committed.

The sad irony of all this is that the Assembly has in the past reported a lesser crime to the police - theft, but it looks as if it chose to deal with this internally. There is an embarrassment factor to this alleged crime which partly blames the actions of the Assembly.

Senedd Whip 12 January 2008 at 19:29  

"By the way the court case was a civil matter where the standards of evidence are not as strict as in a criminal case."

Hence the reason why I've used the word alleged, and only reported on what the media has said.

transport chief 13 January 2008 at 00:01  

If we had a press that actualy investigated issues they may find stuff of real interest to castigate the assemby about - proper stuff about health, education, economy etc. Instead we get the wales on sunday - a disaster of a paper - reporting stories like this. Who knows what happened, its one word v another from 5 years plus ago, so the assembly was likely right not to take matters further and its interesting that a judge found enough evidence. anyway hes not that senior or a chief, proper journalism could find all sorts in transport wales if they actaully did some work rather than taking the easier option. Miss W any views on the welsh journalistic field?

Senedd Whip 13 January 2008 at 15:24  

More of a senior manager than senior civil servant. I believe the evidence was from colleagues. Miss W is on her hols but I imagine that she noticed that Welsh journalists enjoy the bad rather than the good. Think she wrote about their level of FoI requests a while back.

transport chief 13 January 2008 at 23:18  

nope, not that senior a manager either. A HEO Grade???? Lower 5 years ago???
In the latest addiion to the story which we can't comment on the assembly response is amusing.
From someone who preiously worked there I don't think there is bullying or harrassment, but to use a widely discredited staff survey and the very poor IiP as examples is amusing. Good journaism could investigate how the assembly gets its IiP status perhaps?

Anonymous 14 January 2008 at 11:19  

The staff survey that isn't worth the expensive paper its written on - comprehensive but ignored. And an IIP process that hardly goes below the SCS for views and on one memorable occassion was preceded by a staff email with suggested answers.

Anonymous 14 January 2008 at 11:20  

No organisation wants its dirty linen washed in public and will always try to contain it.

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