Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Christopher Glamorganshire: Questions to be Answered

Assisting Matt Wardman in his quest (posted 15 July 2008):

This post is a repost of the questions that I am interested in finding anwers to in the case of Welsh blogger Christopher Glamorganshire, who was sacked from his job because of his blogging activity in autumn 2007.

I have reposted them for reference separate from the previous post where I did a full analysis.

The most intriguing and important point is how the “Welsh Civil Service Code” has lead to Christopher Glamorganshire being “dismissed for activities related to the Glamorganshire Blog that contravened the Civil Service Code”, while the English Civil Service Code is now complemented by the set of principles mentioned above, which were developed after an English Civil Servant blogger (Civil Serf) caused a debate online among bloggers lead by a Government Minister.

The two Civil Service codes are identical except for changes to reflect that Wales has a devolved assembly. These are my questions about the harsh managerial approach that appears to have been used by the Welsh Assembly Government:

1 - The approach is slightly out of kilter in a country where only this week Hazel Blears was talking about giving more leeway for Council Officers to participate in the political process.

2 - It won’t work in the long run anyway, other than to provide maximum embarrassment when “control not collaboration” fails.

3 - The devolved Labour-led administration in Wales is pursuing a policy at variance with that of the UK Labour Government in a matter where they are using a version of the “Civil Service Code” that can only be distinguished from the UK Government one with a magnifying glass and a lot of patience.

4 - One of the great problems of the age is political engagement. Why strangle relatively neutral political comment in your own backyard?

5 - There’s a great divide in culture symbolised by Offa’s Dyke here, and a difference in practice. Yet Human Rights legislation does not acknowledge that difference under Freedom of Expression.

6 - I think that this case highlights the point made by Dave Cole before, during and after the Principles for Online Participation were published - protecting the Employee’s Right to Blog is as important as protecting the Employer’s right to have employees blog responsibly.


Dave Cole 17 July 2008 at 18:52  

Hey Miss W,

It does seem strange that the rules east of Offa's Dyke are different from those to the west. I wonder how it compares to the situation (if I may maintain the geographical metaphors) north of Hadrian's Wall and across the Irish Sea.

Thanks for flagging my points about a Right to Blog. It is the one, major weakness in Tom Watson's otherwise excellent code. I'm just not sure how to take it forward.


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