Saturday, 29 August 2015

More Control Freakery From Welsh Labour Government?

The Wasting Mule reports that Carwyn Jones has been urged to order an independent investigation into how his top adviser was asked by a senior civil servant to approve a response sent to someone who complained about her conduct.

According to the online version

During the general election campaign earlier this year, Jo Kiernan attended a Labour Party fundraising event addressed by Ed Balls, the then Shadow Chancellor.
Ms Kiernan, a former ITV Wales political editor, is the senior special adviser to the First Minister, and is often by his side when he makes public appearances.
Related story: Former ITV Wales political journalist Jo Kiernan given special adviser role by Carwyn Jones
A member of the public who does not wish to be identified claimed Ms Kiernan had breached the special advisers’ code when she attended the event at the Bayside Brasserie restaurant in Cardiff Bay in April.
 Ms Kiernan, who used to present the Waterfront programme on ITV (Wales) and was appointed by Rhodri Morgan as his media adviser in 2006, has carried on in that roleunder Carwyn Jones.

If Ms Kiernan was a Labour Party employed adviser there would be no problem but  Special advisers are paid for by the Tax payer and are forbidden from participating in election campaigns.

Mr Jones wrote back to the complainant saying Ms Kiernan had not broken the code because the dinner was a private, rather than a public event.

 The Mule continues..
It has now emerged that Ms Kiernan personally approved the response sent by the First Minister to the person who complained.
A series of emails disclosed to the complainant following a request under the Data Protection Act shows that David Richards, the Welsh Government’s Director of Governance, was asked by Permanent Secretary Sir Derek Jones to investigate the complaint.
After drafting an email, Mr Richards ran it past Ms Kiernan, asking:
 “Is that okay with you as a response?
 She responded:

Happy with that David. Many thanks, Jo.”
 She also asked for, and was given, the full name of the complainant.

A spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives said: 

This matter raises concerns about the process followed by the Welsh Government and senior civil servants when dealing with serious complaints about staff conduct.
“It is clearly unacceptable for the subject of a complaint to play any role in its determination, and this email exchange appears to indicate that the special adviser in question was actually given an opportunity to approve the First Minister’s official response.
“The First Minister needs to issue a statement clarifying the procedure, while also addressing these concerns over potential conflict of interest.
“It would also appear that there has been a serious breach of data protection, with the complainant’s identity discussed on several occasions.
“Clearly, if that is the case then Labour’s First Minister will have to consider whether his special adviser’s role has now become untenable.”
The original complainant has now asked Mr Jones to order an independent investigation into whether she broke the code by involving herself in responding to a complaint against her conduct and asking for the identity of the complainant to be revealed to her.
The complainant has also asked Sir Jeremy Heywood, head of the Home Civil Service, to investigate the conduct of Mr Richards.
A spokesman for the Permanent Secretary would only say: 

“Let’s be clear – there is no case to answer here. Under these circumstances, a member of staff or special adviser is permitted to know who is making allegations about their conduct.”
This is somewhat typical of the control freakery of Labour in the Assembly in that they manage to turn what at first was a relatively minor complaint into a larger one.

On 8 July 2014 Labour AM Alun Davies e was sacked by First Minister Carwyn Jones following his repeated written requests to his civil servants for the private details of Common Agricultural Policy payments made to opposition members, including: Andrew RT Davies (Leader, Welsh Conservatives); Antoinette Sandbach (Conservative); Kirsty Williams (Leader, Welsh Liberal Democrats); William Powell (Welsh Liberal Democrats); and Llyr Gryffudd (Plaid Cymru).

It sems that once again in order to please their political masters,Civil servants are oversleeping the mark .I am not sure whether Sir Humphrey Appleby, from the Television series Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, would approve.

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