21/04/2013 The Wales Report


21/04/2013

Billions of pounds of your money is given to private companies to provide public services here in Wales - but are Welsh companies losing out?


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Tonight, a fortune are spent by public bodies in Wales buying goods

:00:09.:00:12.

and services, but our Welsh companies getting their fair share

:00:12.:00:16.

of the business? Local elections return to Anglesey

:00:16.:00:20.

after one of the bigger scandals in local government, but are the

:00:20.:00:23.

problems resort? His it is a national disgrace,

:00:23.:00:28.

really, isn't it? And do as the Swansea measles

:00:28.:00:33.

epidemic continues to spread, more questions about the role of the

:00:33.:00:43.
:00:43.:00:45.

Good evening. Welcome to the Wales Report, where the examine the

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issues affecting the lives in Wales and question those making the all

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important decisions. This would we are focusing on spending, because

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every year more than �4 billion of Welsh taxpayers money is spent on

:00:58.:01:03.

securing goods and services from private companies to provide public

:01:03.:01:07.

services throughout Wales, but half the money import is committed to

:01:07.:01:12.

companies outside Wales, not just England and but further afield.

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Some large companies feel -- some Welsh companies feel they are not

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getting their share. We ask whether a company's with contracts for

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public bodies in Wales should be awarded to Welsh companies

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generally? They buy school dinners, hospital

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equipment, road building and construction projects. Every year,

:01:45.:01:48.

public bodies like the Welsh Government, local councils and

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health authorities spent some �4.3 billion of your money on goods and

:01:55.:02:01.

services. Those lucrative contracts can have an enormous impact on

:02:01.:02:11.
:02:11.:02:13.

communities in Wales. Many authorities -- but nearly �2

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billion of that money crosses the border, to England and beyond. It

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is exasperating for business owners like Neil Phillips. His company

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supplies play equipment for councils in England, but he has not

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yet won contracts in Wales. When you are competing on quality and

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price and both are the same, you question why the work was put out

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to a non Welsh company when all of the benefits that you see from

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using Welsh business and keeping Welsh many within the Welsh economy

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are so great. You work hard as a business, you try and build a

:02:56.:03:01.

business up and Wales, you employ a Welsh people to work on Welsh

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projects. It does not happen. It is very, very, very frustrating.

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Many of the large firms we spoke to found the process cumbersome and

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complicated. -- many of the Welsh firms. Price, value for money,

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quality, delivery and other factors have to be looked at. As part of

:03:27.:03:30.

the decision-making process, the impact on jobs and the local

:03:30.:03:35.

economy can be considered. Last year the Welsh Government issued a

:03:35.:03:39.

set of principles to help guide all public bodies in the buying of

:03:39.:03:44.

goods and services. This procurement apology is supposed to

:03:44.:03:49.

make things fair -- this procurement policy. It is meant to

:03:49.:03:52.

give smaller businesses a better chance of winning some of those

:03:52.:03:58.

contracts. But does it have teeth? Opposition politicians say that

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other countries, including Scotland, have given more contracts to their

:04:02.:04:06.

own countries. They want the Welsh Government to legislate to help us

:04:06.:04:11.

do the same. We've been talking for many years

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about getting procurement right, it is still only at 50% compared to

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other countries, not good enough. Legislation could increase targets,

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make sure that community benefit courses are in the heart of the

:04:24.:04:28.

contracts and insure that the money we spent from the public sector is

:04:28.:04:32.

locked into local communities and creates jobs. We can't afford to

:04:32.:04:38.

wait on it any longer. An independent review recommended

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that the Welsh Government strongly considers introducing legislation

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to make adopting the procurement policy a legal duty. Without a bed

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does not seem to have been much progress. We have discovered that

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although the national policy was introduced last year, out of 22

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local authorities, just two, Swansea and another, have formally

:05:02.:05:09.

adopted the policy. We went to see a representative of local councils

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in Wales, to see if it was time for action. Legislation is not the

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answer to everything, we have to deliver the business, part of that

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is adopting best practice. messages do not seem to be getting

:05:23.:05:27.

through. We can't be pushing work willy-nilly to local companies, it

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has to be done on the basis of a procurement process. We have to

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justify value-for-money to auditors, the public and, in terms of

:05:37.:05:41.

accountability, to our own politicians. We tried to push as

:05:41.:05:45.

much business as we can locally but it is not always possible to be in

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100%. We want to be part of a wider UK market, it is vital for us.

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Many Welsh businesses struggling to climb to the top are hoping that in

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future, should during -- securing large contracts will not be such a

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challenge. We seem to be overlooked. Why are those contracts going

:06:06.:06:10.

outside of Wales? I don't understand, I think it needs to be

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addressed. There is a question. Joining me now

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is the finance minister for Wales. Thank you for coming in. That was a

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very pointed question, a lack of comprehension. Do you sympathise?

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Two-thirds of our major construction contracts last year

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went to Welsh based companies. We have to make it easier for Welsh

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based companies to get those contracts. We are talking about, as

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has been said, poor -- �4.3 billion worth of public money for housing,

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roads and hospitals. We are simplifying the process and we are

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saying the Community must benefit, meaning jobs, apprenticeships,

:06:51.:06:55.

local supply chains for local business. Those principles that we

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have talked about, there is no option about this, I expect them to

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be implemented by local authorities, the NHS and all those in the public

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sector. Going back to the gentleman we just saw with that successful

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business, I know you won't be able to judge an individual cases, but

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on the face of it, things like that should be matters for local

:07:19.:07:23.

business. He could expect to pick up local authorities a business in

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Wales, surely? I would think so, but it is important he is also

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picking up business in England, we must make sure that Welsh

:07:33.:07:39.

businesses are effectively competing in England. But it is

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crucial that local authorities... And we are supporting local

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authorities at getting better in involving local businesses. We are

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saying that you have to ensure that you get local businesses, all

:07:53.:08:00.

across the EU regulations, and make sure that the community benefits,

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support local businesses like Neil's business. How disappointed

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or frustrated argue that you only have two authorities who have

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signed up to this more streamlined new process, set of criteria, if

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you like? It is onesie and one other, what are the rest doing? --

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it is Swansea and one above. have a national procurement service

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strategy, which is very important, all local authorities are working

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with us, the Welsh Government and the health service, part of a

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national service. Also recognising, as I said, they have a

:08:41.:08:45.

responsibility to deliver up on community benefits. Some are better

:08:45.:08:52.

than others, no question. Some of them have to come online. That is

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why, as I said, in the future, we will consider legislation. That was

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very clear in my December statement. If they don't adopt our procurement

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policies... What would it take for you to legislate? If it is a matter

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of local authorities simply not playing the game, you would

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consider legislation? I think we are on the right track. How many

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are implementing it? It is easy to talk, how many are actually doing

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it and really implementing what you want them to do? Not many?

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believe we are on the right track, I have to save. We have said that

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you have got to implement over �2 million, any contractor over �2

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million. We are working with construction companies. In North

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Wales, we are meeting with some contractors there from North Wales,

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they have won of the contract, they have apprentices on site, they are

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adopting. Of course, you don't want legislation for legislation's sake,

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it is always powers for Purpose. We have to ensure they are delivering

:10:02.:10:07.

on his policy statement. I made that in December. It is key in

:10:07.:10:12.

terms of the economy in Wales. Where they are not implementing it

:10:12.:10:16.

down doing as you would like them to do, what reasons do you

:10:16.:10:24.

encounter? What are the reasons for the very low rate, 51 off 52%?

:10:24.:10:30.

is improving all the time. If you look at the recent contract to a

:10:30.:10:34.

developing four schools in North Wales, 21st century schools, a big

:10:34.:10:38.

building programme, we are putting money into the infrastructure. The

:10:38.:10:42.

Welsh Government is investing so there is a real opportunity. All

:10:42.:10:45.

the North Wales authorities have come together. We have said to them

:10:45.:10:49.

we don't just want one contract, it will be good value for money having

:10:50.:10:54.

one contract for the whole of North Wales, but we will break it down so

:10:54.:10:57.

that you can have a lower value contracts, meaning more contractors

:10:57.:11:03.

being able to come in at different levels. This is the way forward.

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Contractors and North Wales are anxious to make sure that they can.

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As I speak, things are changing in terms of the way we are developing

:11:11.:11:14.

our contract. It is also about learning the lessons, we have

:11:14.:11:23.

learned the lessons, we are talking an award for our community benefits.

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Because of -- across the whole of the UK, we are looked at as a

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government working in the public sector, but with local authorities

:11:30.:11:34.

they have to improve their game, that is a strong message from the

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as Minister. Very strong and clear. There is another big advantage you

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might have, which is that if you weren't having to deal with as many

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local authorities, if they were far fewer in number across Wales, as

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many think they should be, this procurement process would be simple

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and should be streamlined. Is that an outcome you want? In North Wales,

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all the local authorities have to work together. They have got one

:12:01.:12:06.

framework now for the 21st century schools programme. That is over

:12:06.:12:10.

�160 million, jobs in the construction industry.

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Collaboration is the name of the game here in Wales, that is what we

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expect as a Welsh Government. They are due very much.

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In 11 days' time, voters will go to the polls in the only local

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authority election taking place in Wales on May 2nd, the first local

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election Anglesey since 2008. It has been a very turbulent time, and

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after a decade of political infighting, the Welsh Government

:12:37.:12:42.

took the extreme step of appointing commissioners to run the county

:12:42.:12:45.

council backing 2010. Last year's local government elections were

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suspended, and David Williams, who lives on the island, has reported

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extensively on the island's troubles. He now considers what

:12:54.:13:04.
:13:04.:13:11.

Anglesey, the mother of Wales. Once she was the bread basket of

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Welsh princes. More recently, she has become something of a basket

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case. In local authority terms, a political pauper.

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It is only a short distance across the Menai Bridge from the mainland

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to Anglesey, but sometimes when you step on this island you feel as

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though you are stepping into another world. The gap becomes a

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chasm, a gulf between Anglesey and the rest of mainland Wales. For the

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last 20 years, perhaps more, Anglesey as a local authority has

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festered and said that. It has turned itself the label, septic

:13:53.:13:57.

isle. Why? Because of the appalling behaviour of some local councillors

:13:57.:14:01.

who had the temerity to suggest that what they were doing was in

:14:01.:14:06.

the interests of those who live here. Myself included.

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Storm clouds have been gathering over the island of Anglesey again.

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The trouble had local-authority is in crisis again.

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All those reports cited over the years to try to highlight the

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malaise on Anglesey had very little effect because, here I am again,

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saying much the same thing and wondering why it is, that, like

:14:31.:14:36.

others on Anglesey, we have for the last two years been denied our

:14:36.:14:43.

democratic right to vote in local elections? There was the perception

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that this was a very fractious Council, politically, with

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disparate political groups, very often at war with each other. But

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also it has to be said that there were problems on the administration

:14:58.:15:06.

side. There was very match these island mentality. -- very much a

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silent mentality. Because of what was seen as chronic political

:15:10.:15:13.

infighting and misbehaviour, the Welsh Government finally lost

:15:13.:15:17.

patience with Anglesey and cent in five commissioners to try to sort

:15:17.:15:27.
:15:27.:15:35.

Enough is enough, I have been more than patient allowing the council

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to sort things out. It is the politics of the playground. Work

:15:41.:15:46.

will be put on or hold as the Commission attempts to put

:15:46.:15:54.

Anglesey's house in order. One of the commissioners who stood down

:15:54.:16:00.

last year has spoken to us about the need for intervention.

:16:00.:16:06.

external solution had to come from outside to these internal problems.

:16:06.:16:13.

I understand there is an economic argument but once the argument was

:16:13.:16:17.

out of the we then for the term you need to get on with the job of

:16:17.:16:23.

helping these people in Anglesey. Certainly, in this the indeed, at

:16:23.:16:28.

this time of austerity, areas no place for it schoolboy politics as

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was referred to at the time. It is still a difficult to comprehend the

:16:36.:16:40.

corrosive and damaging effect of the petty political intrigue that

:16:40.:16:46.

has gone on in this local authority. The people who live and work here

:16:46.:16:51.

have deep-rooted perceptions of Anglesey as they look at their

:16:51.:16:57.

right to vote in next month's elections. I do not passed them.

:16:57.:17:04.

They make promises they never keep. -- do not trust. The put a new

:17:04.:17:12.

structure in place, are you aware of that? Yes, but I will believe it

:17:12.:17:18.

when I see it. Did the disappoint you in the past? You s, in every

:17:18.:17:24.

way, housing, jobs, everything. is a national disgrace really.

:17:24.:17:29.

People we have spoken to say they are hopeful but they are not quite

:17:29.:17:34.

sure things will change, how do you think it will go? Every election

:17:34.:17:39.

they have had people have been hopeful. I feel sorry for the

:17:39.:17:45.

voters but nothing seems to have changed. There are many examples of

:17:45.:17:50.

the seemingly senseless behaviour which has characterised this place.

:17:50.:17:55.

There is for me one case that exemplify is this the rotten

:17:55.:18:00.

borough. It resolves around this place, now at a beacon of hope and

:18:00.:18:06.

what can be achieved when councillors finally put their minds

:18:06.:18:12.

to it. It involved the knocking together of several heads. For

:18:12.:18:19.

almost 10 years it was the case of acute data without a gallery. Local

:18:19.:18:23.

councillors at the time could not agree among themselves where to

:18:23.:18:29.

house this priceless collection bought for the people of Anglesey

:18:29.:18:34.

with millions of pounds given in a bequest. The drawings said to be

:18:34.:18:40.

among the best that there is, languished in a vault in the dim

:18:40.:18:44.

local authority headquarters until that brave curator it gave me and a

:18:44.:18:49.

film crew access in the hope that the publicity which followed would

:18:50.:18:55.

shake the councillors out of their lethargy. It worked. The result is

:18:55.:19:01.

to be seen here. The Tunnicliffe collection and much more or. It is

:19:01.:19:07.

now on show to the public instead of being hidden away gathering dust.

:19:07.:19:12.

It is difficult to believe it could have been otherwise but for me,

:19:12.:19:17.

this is a reminder of how bad things were, are under siege, the

:19:17.:19:26.

philistines almost won. We are told that is a thing of the past. The

:19:26.:19:32.

man charged with the task of ushering in a new era is optimistic

:19:32.:19:40.

that Anglesey can finally shed its shameful image. We are way past the

:19:40.:19:47.

last chance saloon. I think every citizen realises that. I sincerely

:19:47.:19:52.

think we have turned the council around. The atmosphere is different

:19:52.:19:59.

here, it is a different place, it is different to come in to work. We

:19:59.:20:03.

have learned from bitter Experience that is never to be repeated again.

:20:03.:20:09.

Those who want to put Anglesey back on track are also hopeful that they

:20:09.:20:14.

have finally succeeded in pointing the local authority in the right

:20:14.:20:22.

direction. But the optimism is accompanied by a cautionary note.

:20:22.:20:28.

It is vital that they hold control over local Government. You do not

:20:28.:20:34.

want people from outside coming in to take absolute control and tell

:20:34.:20:40.

you what to do. I think that would be a problem. It is not something

:20:40.:20:46.

that week in Wales would wish to see. The future of Anglesey does

:20:46.:20:51.

depend on those we choose to represent us next month. At best

:20:51.:20:57.

the commissioners are likely to be put back in to run the authority.

:20:57.:21:01.

At worst the authority could disappear altogether which might

:21:01.:21:08.

happen anyway. All of us in Anglesey know that we are beyond

:21:08.:21:12.

drinking at the last chance saloon. That was David Williams reporting.

:21:12.:21:18.

You can see a full list of candidates standing in the election

:21:18.:21:24.

on the BBC News website. Last week we were discussing the ongoing

:21:24.:21:30.

measles epidemic in the Swansea area. The number of reported cases

:21:30.:21:36.

has passed the 800 mark. 77 people needing hospital treatment. The

:21:36.:21:42.

vaccination programme has been extended. Despite the appeal, the

:21:42.:21:46.

response rate for teenagers especially continues to be low.

:21:46.:21:51.

Somehow the message is not getting through to one of the most

:21:51.:21:56.

vulnerable groups. Is the media playing its part in a responsible

:21:56.:22:06.
:22:06.:22:08.

way? Joining as his and cheap p and a journalist. -- a general

:22:08.:22:13.

practitioner and a journalist. Bring us up to date on your

:22:13.:22:18.

understanding of where this epidemic is. It is one of the most

:22:18.:22:23.

serious epidemics we have had for a number of years, especially in

:22:23.:22:28.

Wales. We have had one gentleman who looks like measles has been

:22:29.:22:35.

implicated in his death, somebody in their twenties. I am sitting

:22:35.:22:40.

here in north-east Wales talking to you and be have not been hit yet

:22:40.:22:47.

unlike other parts. I see yet at the moment because one of the

:22:47.:22:52.

worries that we all have is that this epidemic will spread from

:22:52.:22:58.

Swansea outward to other parts of Wales and possibly to England. I

:22:58.:23:04.

was talking to some colleagues the other day. We were really very

:23:04.:23:11.

anxious that we were going to be a hit by this sort of measles tsunami.

:23:11.:23:16.

With those concerns in mind, what practical steps are you taking in

:23:16.:23:22.

your region? We are all getting switched on to try to identify

:23:22.:23:29.

young people, because it tends to be children in their teens, who are

:23:29.:23:35.

most at risk. They are the ones who have missed the boat. We are trying

:23:35.:23:40.

to identify those and approach the parents and young people themselves

:23:40.:23:45.

to alert them to the fact they have deficiencies in their protection.

:23:45.:23:51.

The other thing which I am fortunate to be able to do is, I

:23:51.:23:56.

have a column in the local paper, I am using that as well to tell

:23:56.:24:06.
:24:06.:24:10.

people. I will come back to that in a second but I will ask you because

:24:10.:24:14.

of your Media Experience, today, what is the role of the media in

:24:14.:24:20.

trying to sort this out? I think the media has been playing a

:24:20.:24:24.

constructive role. It is a big story and the focus is about making

:24:24.:24:31.

sure people become safe and get immunised. All the past questions

:24:31.:24:36.

and debate about the MMR vaccine I think have been put to one side.

:24:36.:24:41.

What is important here is how to prevent people getting measles. The

:24:41.:24:46.

focus on the story is that it is prominent and the focus is on

:24:46.:24:53.

getting people to be safe. The media is playing an important role.

:24:53.:24:59.

The best way it can serve general practitioners and others by getting

:24:59.:25:09.
:25:09.:25:10.

people to go and get the vaccine is by keeping it important. What has

:25:10.:25:14.

been the difference in the take-up rate in your region since this

:25:14.:25:18.

story started? Our people knocking on your door saying we have kids

:25:18.:25:22.

who were not vaccinated for whatever reason and we want it

:25:22.:25:30.

done? Not very much. People see it as a problem in Swansea but it is a

:25:30.:25:36.

problem for the whole of Wales. Ins one see there were marginally lower

:25:36.:25:41.

uptakes than other places so there was less community protection in

:25:41.:25:46.

Swansea than there has been in other parts of Wales. That is not

:25:46.:25:51.

to say that protection in other parts of Wales is fantastic, it is

:25:51.:25:59.

not. We are all at risk. Why, for example, in your region, is this

:25:59.:26:03.

problem still persisting? Are people still concerned about the

:26:03.:26:09.

safety of the MMR? I think less so now. I think that comes back to the

:26:09.:26:15.

media have been done a good job to get across that the MMR is safe and

:26:15.:26:20.

effective. The message that was getting out 10 years ago was not

:26:20.:26:26.

right. If the media are doing a good job now is that meeting up for

:26:26.:26:32.

the fact that they made a hash of it in the first place? I think that

:26:32.:26:37.

is probably true. Good journalists are trained to offer a balanced

:26:37.:26:44.

view. The problem was that when the original story broke there was at

:26:44.:26:51.

clearly dominant view that MMR was safe and an abhorrent view of Dr

:26:51.:26:56.

Andrew Wakefield that made a speculative view that it was not

:26:56.:27:02.

safe. The two of these were treated as though they were almost of equal

:27:02.:27:08.

weight. We saw lots of parents coming on expressing concern. Often

:27:08.:27:12.

the parents look like more sympathetic figures than doctors

:27:12.:27:18.

making bland assurances. This created a climate of worry. We

:27:18.:27:24.

tracked public opinion during a big spike in coverage in 2002, in the

:27:24.:27:27.

beginning of the coverage people were much more likely to believe

:27:27.:27:32.

the vaccine was safe but towards the end of the coverage a majority

:27:32.:27:36.

said they felt there was equal evidence on both sides of the

:27:36.:27:44.

debate. Finally, you hinted earlier you were concerned about the uptake

:27:44.:27:49.

rate in your region, can you be a little bit more specific, how

:27:49.:27:53.

concerned are you? I think I am very concerned because we have got

:27:53.:28:00.

a group of children in which the take up rate was so low it is like

:28:01.:28:05.

Swiss cheese, there are holes in the cheese where the virus can get

:28:05.:28:11.

in. If it is a solid wall of protection, most of the community

:28:11.:28:17.

being protected, the virus cannot get a foothold but we have this

:28:17.:28:23.

Swiss cheese protection all through Wales. An epidemic could happen

:28:23.:28:28.

anywhere in Wales as well as Swansea. Thank you for joining us

:28:28.:28:34.

both of you. If you want to hear more about the measles epidemic you

:28:35.:28:40.

can watch our programme on Wednesday night at 10: 35 on BBC

:28:40.:28:45.

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