30/06/2013 The Wales Report


30/06/2013

Tim Rogers takes a look at issues that matter in Wales and David Williams investigates the reality of living in modern Wales.


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crisis in confidence in Wales' largest health board after a damning

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report identifies substantial failings. A change in the law aimed

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at giving whistleblowers increased protection but could more be done

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for welsh workers who expose wrongdoing? And calls for tougher

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laws when it comes to protecting the environment in Wales. Stay with us

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for the Wales Report. Good evening and welcome to the Wales Report. And

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it's been quite a week in Welsh politics. There have been

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resignations, reshuffles, new partnerships AND a by-election date

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announced. More on all of that later in the programme. But first, let's

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turn our attention to the health service in Wales, and to a damning

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report into Wales' largest health board. The chair and chief executive

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of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health board have both stepped down

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following a shocking report - that found significant management

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failings - which it said could have meeting, not a public meeting, but

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by any standards it was an extraordinary affair. More than 100

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people packed into a highly charged atmosphere, but it was not long

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before individuals were expressing their disquiet. There were pleas for

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the protesters to stay silent or leave the meeting. One group 's

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patience snapped when they were told that Flint hospital was to close.

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Angry and frustrated, they spilled out into the corridors, still

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protesting and questioning the validity of the boards consultation

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exercise. Arguably, the writing was on the wall for the health board

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when, earlier this year, they met to finalise their controversial plans

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for reorganisation, based in part on a consultation exercise of their own

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making. Nobody believed them that they had been listening. Many people

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thought the plans were preordained and the consultation exercise was

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just a convenient smokescreen. When I spoke to the then chief executive

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of the health board, she and her staff seemed taken aback by my

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questions about the cost of that consultation exercise. How much did

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your consultation exercise cost? I stop you there? Where working it

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through right now. I can't answer that. That's an unfair question. It

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is very specific. Gosh, OK! I thought, having gone through a

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consultation exercise, you might have some idea of the cost of it. We

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spent probably around �30,000, but I can't guarantee that it will be

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more. Let's try another one, then. The outgoing chief executive in an

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interview with me earlier this year. Until now, until the

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appearance of this report, many health professionals and patients

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have felt their voices have gone unheard. Not any more, and for the

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first time, those at the sharp end can France -- Khan expressed their

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frustration is that at last, something is being done. This doctor

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is a consultant gynaecologist. He's also the chair of the BMA's Welsh

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council and gave me his reaction to highly critical report on his

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employers's failures. What is your overall reaction to what has been

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widely recognised as a highly critical report? We're not surprised

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at will by this. It's an issue we have been trying to raise with

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senior managers for some time. does it reflect and manifest itself

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here, in hospitals like this? have staff, trying their very best,

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under very difficult circumstances, to provide high-quality care, and

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not being given the facilities to practice to be highest standards

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they are used to. The consequence is we start chasing targets instead of

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treating patients. The difficulty we have had is we still have patients

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coming through our front door needing treatment. We believe the

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fundamental problem here is we are not starting with the patient and

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what is needed to treat the patient. We appear to be starting with the

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organisation of the health service and trying to fit patients to that

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organisation. It's a very difficult environment to be working in at the

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moment. It's very frustrating. You've only got to look at what has

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gone on with neonatal care and the transfer of neonatal intensive care

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to England, and you create a situation in which you are trying to

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get clinician engagement. The clinicians say it should stay in

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North Wales. You have public engagement. The public says it

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should stay in North Wales. And the health board wants to put it

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somewhere else. You'll have two ask the health board about that, but

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fortunately, the first Minister is also asking that question and we are

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very pleased to see the Royal College of paediatrics doing their

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review at the moment. This report makes a number of recommendations.

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Do you think it is also an opportunity for the health board in

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this area to grasp the nettle and start again, as it were, and deliver

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the sort of things that you would wish to see? There are huge

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opportunities to replan health care in North Wales. We have an interim

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medical director that we have every confidence in, we have a new

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director of nursing. All the things are there to engage with the

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clinical staff in a more proactive way. But that means empowering

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clinical staff on the front-line in getting rid of some of the big

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bureaucracy that has paralysed the health board in the past.

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message, then, is clear enough. The NHS brand has been badly damaged by

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this report, but it is also seen a chance to improve the service in

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North Wales, is service in which doctors will be listened to and the

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needs of patients put first. It may go some way to improving and

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repairing some of the damage. David Williams there. Legal changes have

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come into force this week that are aimed at providing greater

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protection to whistleblowers. Concerns have been raised about

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whether the law gives enough support to those who expose wrongdoing in

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:07:48.:07:52.

the workplace, particularly in the NHS. Brian Meechan reports.

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Whistleblowers can provide invaluable information that exposes

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dangerous practices and some cases can save lives. Employers say they

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need to be able to rely on the confidentiality of their staff and

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safeguard their reputation. The law can provide a balance between the

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two. This woman was buoyed at the day centre run by Carmarthenshire

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Council. In 2005 she blew the whistle on the physical and verbal

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abuse of people with learning difficulties attending the centre.

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I've followed the whistleblowing policy. I went through seven

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reporting of news report I went to the ombudsman outside. Nobody helped

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me. Staff would come in and say they had aimed to not to speak to me and

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not to come into my office to talk to me. It was all psychological

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abuse where you would feel they were trying to wear you down and silence

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you from telling the truth. It was sort of years that I was being

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targeted. She eventually complained to the public service ombudsman and

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the route board concluded there were catastrophic failures in the

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handling of the case. Although she was in the right she paid a heavy

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price. I went off sick with work-related stress, my blood

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pressure was sky-high. I doctor said was no way I go back. I decided to

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resign, life was not worth living. I decided my health was more important

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and I designed. Employment law specialist see that whistleblowing

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is not straight forward. It can be a very long drawn-out process and

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foreign or even has not got a huge amount of the Rancho means that the

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fingertips, that can be very costly. The ultimate and Angela Ward that

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the end of it, may not even meet a cover of the cost of went through

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the process. With that going on from a financial live and perhaps a

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person has lost her job as a result of going the whistle, that can put

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an awful lot of stress on an individual and the family in time.

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Coupled with that there are allegations that may have been

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difficult and caused upset in the organisation that the employee has

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:10:36.:10:37.

left. All of that will clock into a very big fish report. The UK

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government is responsible for whistleblowers because employment

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law is not devolved. There have been boosts to detection which means

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whistleblowers will no longer have you prove they were at Dean in good

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faith when they complained. It also means they will have two sure there

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are cases in the public interest. suspect the changes on track as well

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not fundamentally change the way they will courts approach these

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cases now. I think there is, as with many of these things, policy drive

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because of some of what has happened over the past year or so, to ensure

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this is brought into the spotlight and that Rangers have been made on

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the back of those policy drives. What I do think it's a shame is that

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we now are potentially encouraging whistleblowers who may not have

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those good motivations that people expect to see in these sorts of

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cases. Of whistleblowers charity is asking whether the law should go

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further, whether companies should he forced to have protection policies.

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Even whether cash incentives should be offered to whistleblowers as

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happens in the United States. There is no where near where concern over

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the protection of whistleblowers is more acute than in the health

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service, where transparency can be a matter of life or death. A report

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found years of abuse at Stafford Hospital and covering up of

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mistakes. A Royal College of nursing survey after that report found

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nurses in Wales were still worried about whistleblowing. 26% of those

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asked had been discouraged about raising concerns. 60% were not

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confident about being protected by the lawyer if he became

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whistleblowers. -- protected by the employer. The results were quite

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alarming. It showed that in many instances, over 60% of members in

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Wales felt that the week have severe repercussions if they were to

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whistleblowers about issues of concern. When we ask questions about

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what were those issues of concern, they would talk about immensely low

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staffing levels and also if they saw something untoward happening within

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an environment that they felt it was not necessarily the culture within

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the organisation to be able to share that information. Settlements

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between an employer and former employee of an include gagging

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orders which prevent further discussion of the case. There is

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concern that this leads to re-silencing of the whistleblower

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and the issues they have raised. Health boards have used these 35

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times. The UK government has warned that gagging orders should not be

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used to prevent former employees exposing wrongdoing in the public

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sector in England. This woman took on her employer and one but at a

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huge cost to herself. -- took on her employer and won. I do not regret it

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at all, I would not change anything, I think we are all on this if to

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help each other and that the end of the day I helped that person who

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could not speak up for herself so I have got no regrets. Some people can

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do it easier than others that it is a very lonely path to take. I have

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no regrets. The real test of these legal changes will be whether the

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help create the kind of environment where this woman and people like her

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can expose wrongdoing without having to pay such a heavy price. I am

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joined by Ian Hughes from the Welsh audit office. Part of your title is

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the whistleblowing manager, what does that mean? I look at internal

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arrangements if there are staff concerns. I can receive disclosures

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from people who work for the public sector in Wales. There might be

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people particularly in the public sector who are thinking right now

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they have seen something going on in the work base and they are

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concerned. They really have to bring this to public attention, they are

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going to blow the whistle and top to you, what protection can you give

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them? The simple answer to protection is none, we do not

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actually protect anybody. This is where they'd is a lot of confusion

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and potentially a weakness. The employment position of the personal

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and public issue disclosure act of the legislation to protect people

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means that should something and auction it happen to them by blowing

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the whistle when they get sacked, the are denied training

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opportunities, in they can bring a claim for detriment to the tribunal.

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They play a part in the tribunal proceedings. Do you regret that?We

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have no control authority over it, that is a legislation as it stands.

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That puts me right off, I might see something I am concerned about but I

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am really going to think you fully know, am I not? This should not be a

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factor. As an employee you want to know that if you have concerned you

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can act on them and eel with them. The fact it is detection at tribunal

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stage should be the last thing you have to think about, you want to put

:16:52.:16:59.

right whatever your concerns are. Other important as it that people do

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come forward in the public interest? It is very important. There is no

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way to go after that. The last place an employer can go is to blow the

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whistle. Everything has failed by then. What sort of thing are you

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looking for and with the interested in? We can receive allegations but

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we are not in investigating body that would investigate on behalf of

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people. The audit organisations so we would take on-board information

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received but they have no right to deceive an investigation from us. We

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will investigate if we think it is appropriate and with an Arab powers

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but we are not obliged. government at Westminster has been

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thinking of making much about protection for people but the

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reality on the ground seems to be something else. If people want to

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come forward and blow the whistle, see there is something seriously

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wrong in my public environment and the public as to bite this, they

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will be putting their jobs on the line. There should be proper

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procedures in place to make sure people can come forward without

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feeling recrimination. That is good practice. It should not happen.

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Organisations should be making that clear. There should be proper

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policies that are easy to understand. It should work well. We

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hear mainly about the cases where it does not work well. Can people come

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forward to you in confidence? will respect the full's

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confidentiality where we can but we cannot guarantee it, if we go in and

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ask questions about a particular alien sometimes the organisation can

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work out who has come to us. If matters all within our audit we met

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we will look into them and we will, depending on what they find,

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exercise our structure tree powers. Our statutory powers mean we can

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report in the public interest but we cannot discipline or prosecute. That

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is the furthest we can never take it. In most circumstances it is a

:19:18.:19:26.

very powerful mechanism. So what we are seeing is that to see effective

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whistleblowing and give people the protection they need, especially

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where these are genuine issues of public concern, there is still some

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way to go even after this legislation to give them the

:19:38.:19:47.

protection and support they should have. We have just had the

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whistleblowing commission set-up. It has worked in some places, but there

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is a long way to go until it is Now, it's been quite a week here in

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the home of Welsh democracy. began with the shock resignation of

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a Cabinet heavyweight, the Education Minister, Leighton Andrews,

:20:10.:20:16.

triggering an emergency reshuffle. The Rhondda AM has recently

:20:16.:20:19.

struggled to balance his government and constituency commitments, first

:20:19.:20:21.

by opposing the Labour-led decision to reorganise health services, and

:20:21.:20:24.

then for backing a campaign to save a school in his constituency which

:20:24.:20:33.

faces closure as a result of his own policy. And when Carwyn Jones failed

:20:33.:20:37.

to come to his aid here in the Chamber, the writing was clearly on

:20:37.:20:43.

the wall. So was it a simple "confusion" of roles? And what lies

:20:43.:20:46.

ahead for the man who has taken over that role, the new Education

:20:46.:20:49.

Minister, Huw Lewis? I've been speaking to former Minister Rhodri

:20:49.:20:59.
:20:59.:21:03.

Morgan. It was a week in Welsh politics, but

:21:03.:21:10.

how damage to Labour? I don't think it's necessarily damaging.

:21:10.:21:14.

there's obviously a dispute at the heart of it, but I don't think it

:21:14.:21:18.

would lead to the kind of factions you have seen in the Australian

:21:18.:21:28.
:21:28.:21:31.

Labour Party. Had you been a first Minister, would you have taken the

:21:31.:21:40.

same action? Without actually being there and knowing what the

:21:40.:21:44.

conversation was about the previous incident, but the hospital and the

:21:44.:21:52.

website, I don't know. Clearly, the minister is responsible for the

:21:52.:21:57.

policy on places, it is the local authority which then has the

:21:57.:22:00.

responsibility to implement or interpret those guidelines and

:22:00.:22:05.

policy. If you think the local authority has made a mistake, you're

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entitled to write a letter pointing that out. Are you entitled to have a

:22:10.:22:15.

placard, though, which makes it look as though you are undermining the

:22:15.:22:23.

whole policy? That is where I thought red card. That would be my

:22:23.:22:30.

interpretation. He is undoubtedly one of the big beasts of Labour

:22:30.:22:34.

politics in Wales. Can they afford to lose him at such a crucial moment

:22:34.:22:43.

in education? That's an egg that -- that's an academic question. There's

:22:43.:22:51.

no he will start challenging the first Minister for the leadership.

:22:51.:22:54.

He will look after his constituency and, as has happened on many

:22:54.:23:00.

occasions before, he will have a very good chance of coming back into

:23:01.:23:06.

the Cabinet. And even his political opponents would have to acknowledge

:23:06.:23:13.

he was a man of substance, a man of great intelligence, and a man of

:23:13.:23:18.

personality who was driving through changes, whether popular or not. And

:23:18.:23:26.

taking on Michael Gove. Are there is a sufficient number of individuals

:23:26.:23:34.

like that in Welsh politics today? He's found Hugh Lewis, but is that

:23:34.:23:39.

enough strength in depth of the squad? There's never enough strength

:23:39.:23:44.

in depth when you only have 60 people overall in the Assembly and

:23:44.:23:48.

30 on the Labour side, and nine Cabinet positions to fill. You will

:23:48.:23:53.

always struggle because of the small numbers. Juggling the small numbers

:23:53.:24:00.

is a huge issue because the Assembly is so small. Big issues at the

:24:00.:24:06.

moment. Lack of confidence, not only in education, but in the NHS. It's

:24:06.:24:12.

not lack of confidence. It's a very difficult issue. We got to discuss

:24:12.:24:17.

this in a grown-up way because public service reform in an era of

:24:17.:24:25.

spending cuts, something will happen in their constituency. People will

:24:25.:24:31.

tell ministers about that. undermines effective government,

:24:31.:24:36.

though, if everyone is watching what is going on in their backyard, it

:24:36.:24:41.

really suggests a kind of parochial attitude. People need to rise to the

:24:41.:24:45.

challenge of taking on these major issues facing us as a nation in

:24:45.:24:50.

dealing with them effectively. They are getting ever bigger because

:24:50.:24:56.

spending cuts will continue. But I think you can find a way of allowing

:24:56.:24:59.

ministers to represent their constituents, because that is their

:24:59.:25:05.

first duty. Doing that while implementing public service reform

:25:05.:25:10.

to save money and improve public services at the same time. And you

:25:10.:25:16.

need a top minister to deal with that. He will be given his

:25:16.:25:22.

opportunity to prove himself. We have to see, like all other

:25:23.:25:27.

ministers, you will learn on the job. I have been impressed with his

:25:27.:25:31.

first 48 hours on the job, but really, only time will tell. So

:25:31.:25:37.

where does the world 's government go from here? It will recover from

:25:37.:25:43.

the tremors of this week, and it's up to the new ministers, taking on

:25:43.:25:50.

their portfolios now, to work up as quickly as possible so they can

:25:50.:25:55.

stick -- so they can step up to the big shoes and get on with the job.

:25:55.:26:00.

It's up to, assuming Labour does well, to think seriously about where

:26:00.:26:10.
:26:10.:26:16.

to accommodate Leighton. Are we doing enough to protect the

:26:16.:26:20.

great outdoors? Public Bodies in Wales COULD have to

:26:20.:26:23.

consider the impact their decisions have on the environment under plans

:26:23.:26:29.

by the Welsh Government. The proposed Sustainable Development

:26:29.:26:32.

Bill would make the public sector in Wales change the way it works in

:26:32.:26:35.

order to improve the effects its policies have on the environment and

:26:35.:26:45.
:26:45.:26:53.

We only have one planet. Some of the resources on that planet are

:26:53.:26:58.

limited. We have got a growing population as well, so growing

:26:58.:27:02.

demand for those resources. Lots more competition, and if were not

:27:02.:27:06.

careful, we will find ourselves outcompeted and some of the things

:27:06.:27:16.

we depend on now. The consequences of global competition are being felt

:27:16.:27:21.

on our high streets. You can see that in rising prices, when we have

:27:21.:27:25.

a crisis of overproduction of wheat, and in some countries, there were

:27:25.:27:31.

riots over the price of bread. We have to put sustainable development

:27:32.:27:36.

at the heart of what we do in order to be able to cope with the kind of

:27:36.:27:44.

shocks the global system will throw at us. I guess, in Wales, we have

:27:44.:27:47.

had ten years of government taking small steps towards sustainable

:27:47.:27:54.

development. There's some really good examples of things, like here,

:27:54.:28:00.

we have got new homes built to much higher energy efficiency standards,

:28:00.:28:04.

so bills are lower the people, they can live in a nice house that

:28:04.:28:08.

doesn't cost them as much, and that is helping to tackle climate change.

:28:08.:28:14.

The trouble is there are lots of small examples. There isn't the

:28:14.:28:18.

scale of change necessary to meet the demands of the future, so what

:28:18.:28:22.

we really need is a sustainable development bill that will enable

:28:22.:28:28.

this to become the norm. The Welsh Government needs to strengthen its

:28:28.:28:33.

proposals for the bill. It must define what it means by sustainable

:28:33.:28:38.

development in the bill so that everybody is clear, and we don't

:28:38.:28:41.

saddle future generations with the consequences of our unsustainable

:28:41.:28:47.

choices. That's it for this week's programme.

:28:47.:28:51.

We'll be back next week where we'll be talking to the First Minister. If

:28:51.:28:54.

you have any questions for Carwyn Jones or comments on the issues

:28:54.:28:58.

Tim Rogers asks the questions that matter to you about your job, your health, your future. Confronting decision makers with the consequences of their choices and each week David Williams will be investigating the reality of living in modern Wales.


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