Thursday, 19 June 2008

Potential conflict of interest on track in Assembly Government

An assembly government civil servant in charge of monitoring a rail franchise is in a relationship with a top train boss, it has emerged.

The senior official, Alison Teague, is responsible for monitoring the £100m Arriva Trains Wales franchise for the assembly government, and is said to be living with the Managing Director of Arriva Trains Wales, Tim Bell, who was appointed last December.

Opposition assembly members are demanding a meeting with the assembly government about the issue. But the assembly government said stringent processes are in place to avoid any conflict of interest issues.

The Shadow Minister for the Economy and Transport, Welsh Conservative AM David Melding has said he wanted a discussion with Deputy First Minister and Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones about any possible conflict of interest.

The assembly government needs to explain whether it thinks this position is appropriate given the size of the Arriva Trains Wales franchise.

I am seeking an urgent meeting with the transport minister to discuss this situation... I am confident guidance is in place to prevent potential conflicts of interest or the appearance of such conflicts.

The Welsh liberal democrat's transport spokeswoman Kirsty Williams AM, said there was a clear conflict of interest, and the public would question the situation.

I find it incredible that the minister could think it acceptable that the official with responsibility for ensuring value for money for the taxpayer from the subsidies received by Arriva Trains Wales shares a home with the boss of the company.

Whatever procedures are in place, and whatever the integrity of the individuals in question, there is a clear conflict of interest, which raises questions in people's minds.


Anonymous 19 June 2008 at 17:58  

I am shocked - SHOCKED - shocked, I tell you by the sheer arrogance of the Welsh Assembly Government in this matter. What next?

Alison 19 June 2008 at 18:02  

"Arriva Trains Wales understands that the Welsh Assembly Government was made aware of this matter when Tim Bell was appointed managing director and has put processes into place to avoid potential conflict of interest."

That seems to put the blame firmly in the hands of government officials. Incompetent, the lot of them!

Aled Phelps 19 June 2008 at 18:13  

This is a poor defence from WAG. Whatever were they thinking of?

Dotcommentator 20 June 2008 at 09:41  

Hands on monitoring indeed.

The tor 21 June 2008 at 23:50  

It's almost as if they are looking for criticism.

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