News Round Up, August 15 2017

There’s been quite a few stories in the news over the past few days which have touched on matters previously discussed on this blog. There  was a lot of publicity given to a ‘modern slavery’ case in Lincolnshire, in which eighteen ‘vulnerable people’ were found to have been kept as slaves, some of them having been there for many years. Guess what? It was revealed that they included people who were homeless or destitute, with mental health problems or drug or alcohol problems – in other words Empowered Service Users. Somebody from the Red Cross was given air time to comment on one news bulletin, then someone from the Salvation Army was given air-time later in the day to make a few more observations on the case. Both banged on about vulnerable people who hadn’t asked for help. Can we be sure of that? Could the slaves possibly have been like those residents of Prestwood Homes – which was also a trafficking organisation – (see post ‘A Convenient Arrangement With The Private Sector) and had actually tried to run away or told people what was happening, but were simply ignored, as the Prestwood residents were when they told MIND what was going on? Both the Red Cross and Salvation Army have spent years working with the groups of people from whom the Lincolnshire slaves were drawn – have they been asleep? I’ve worked with those groups of people too and I have been telling people for years that they are being abused in multiple ways. Furthermore the Red Cross have known about something very worrying in north Wales for a long time – they have known that Gwynedd Social Services has been refusing to discharge it’s duties. Because about ten years ago the Red Cross were doing what Gwynedd Social Services should have been doing re providing support for vulnerable people. I was told that the Red Cross were actually doing a very good job and that those on the receiving end of their ‘services’ were most grateful. But I was also told that people were being left virtually destitute and the Red Cross were not always able to plug the very big gaps. Why didn’t they publicise what was going on – that Gwynedd Social Services were breaking the law and leaving people destitute? Surely the Red Cross had a duty to flag this up, behind the scenes if necessary. Did no-one think to write to Carwyn? Or did they, only to be ignored like I was when I brought the criminal activities of the mental health services in north Wales to the attention of the Welsh Gov’t? If this is the case Red Cross, get blogging now and let everyone know what is happening.

Another news story also demonstrated the way in which the Third sector has colluded with institutional neglect and abuse. Action for Children released frightening statistics relating to the numbers of children and families who are being turned away after they have asked for help from social services. The Action for Children report confirmed what I already knew – that children are being constantly put at risk by social services depts across the UK. It has been happening for years and it is how scandals like those which involved Baby P or Aaron Gilbert arise – the death of a child, the aftermath of which sees the social services robustly defending their lack of action, stating that the death was ‘unforeseeable and unpreventable’ and that the people directly responsible for the death (usually some very inadequate parents known to social services) are the only people responsible and that social workers really cannot be blamed in any way. Much as I applaud Action for Children for coming clean about the degree of neglect and indifference that is prevalent, I wish that they’d gone public on this years ago. Furthermore, where are the other children’s charities who also knew that this was happening? Barnardos? The NSPCC? Dear old Childline and Esther? Anyone there?

As more and more of Blair’s flagship policies unravel I have been entertained to listen to the New Labour Ministers who forced the policies through in the face of criticism who have now been wheeled out to tell everyone how badly things are going wrong. Lord Adonis has been absolutely everywhere in the media during the last few days, screaming blue murder about the state of UK universities, the problems being caused by high tuition fees and the enormous sums now being earned by Vice-Chancellors. Who started all this off? One Lord Adonis, back in the days when he was being robustly promoted as the Brains behind New Labour HE policy. He and his colleagues were told again and again by sociologists that this Was Not Going To Work, but they ignored everyone. I even received a letter from one of the HE Ministers – Bill Rammell – myself after I wrote to him. It was a very friendly letter, telling me that he wished me the best with my research and that he’d like to read the outputs, but that I would soon see how successful Labour’s HE policies are. No, I never did see that, instead I watched universities become increasingly chaotic, increasingly stretched and increasingly unable to do what they were supposed to do. No-one actually reversed any of the policies that weren’t working, instead universities were encouraged to become even more marketised and because successive Gov’ts couldn’t afford the policies that they were implementing, the only option was to charge the students a fortune in tuition fees. As for Vice-Chancellors’ salaries – VCs have been positively encouraged to think of themselves as businessmen rather than academics and universities have been encouraged to Compete For The Best Staff, so it is hardly surprising that some VCs have joined in the bonanza. Others feel justified in accepting high salaries because the institutions that they are running are actually so troubled that it is often quite a feat to keep the show on the road. These are your chickens coming home to roost Adonis and I don’t think that the world of HE needs any more advice from you.

Not that Adonis’s own colleagues dared tell him that his big idea was causing serious problems – they all toed the New Labour line. On one occasion I attended a debate re ‘education and employment’ with a few politicians on the panel, one of whom was Eluned Morgan, now Baroness Morgan, representing Labour. Firstly Eluned trotted out the myth that the country needed nearly all young people to go to university to fill all the highly skilled jobs in the Knowledge Economy. I told Eluned that I had not yet found the Knowledge Economy, although I’d been looking everywhere for it for quite a few years. What I did find were coffee shops and nail bars. Lots of them. Eluned gave me a very snotty look and simply repeated that the Knowledge Economy was with us and that all these highly paid jobs in it needed the graduates that were being produced en masse. Well Eluned, I’m still waiting to find the Knowledge Economy, it’s a bit like Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, we keep being told that it exists but no-one’s actually seen it. Graduates are now getting seriously pissed off that they are unable to find well-paid jobs, even after they’ve worked for no pay in ‘internships’, so perhaps you could let them know where the Knowledge Economy is hiding.

After Eluned explained all about the Knowledge Economy, she then went on to explain that she came from Ely and that she was about the only person in Ely to go to university and it will now be really great because everyone from Ely would soon be going to university. Of course it is true that in mine and Eluned’s day, getting into university was a minority activity and one that had much more to do with one’s social class than anything else, but all the HE policy that Eluned just couldn’t bring herself to criticise has done is to devalue graduate level qualifications and engender an enormous amount of snobbery between universities, as the Russell Group make it quite clear that they’re in a rather different league to everyone else. One might as well give everyone in Ely a PhD and tell them that this represents social mobility. In fact Eluned would probably support such a policy if it advanced her own interests.

I have long since wondered how someone as vacuous as Eluned and with so few achievements under her belt ended up being given a seat in the Lords in 2010. (A cynic suggested a few months ago that it was because she was friendly with the Kinnocks.) So I did a bit of googling. I was interested to discover that the Woman From Ely who made it to university against all odds actually attended Atlantic College, one of the most expensive public schools in Wales. She did come from the mean streets of Ely though – her dad Bob was a clergyman there (he’s a Rev’d Canon and he’s got an OBE). Bob was big in the Labour Party too – in 1974 he was elected to both Cardiff City and South Glamorgan County Councils and in 1977 he became Leader of the Labour Group. Readers might remember my two recent posts ‘I Want Serious Money Now’ and ‘Corruption Bay Special’, in which I explained how many millions of public money was spent on the development of Cardiff Bay, which benefited some very rich businessmen and their friends but very few other people. Bob was reported as being ‘firmly behind the £25 million scheme that led to the building of a new County Hall at the centre of the former Cardiff docks area’. Bob was of course one of the Councillors who was going to be sitting in that County Hall. Bob might well have known David Rowe-Beddoe, the Chair of the WDA that provided the dosh for the development of Corruption Bay – Rowe-Beddoe was for many years Chair of the Representative Body, the organisation that oversees the funds of the Church in Wales.

Eluned herself has obviously been seduced by some of those who made a fortune out of Corruption Bay – she is Chair of the Cardiff Business Partnership, which not so long ago carried out some ‘research’ that ‘showed’ that Wales would benefit from another agency just like the WDA. Cardiff Business Partnership made this claim at about the same time that Cardiff University’s School of Management maintained that abolishing the WDA was a decision that the Welsh Gov’t would regret (‘Fings might get broken if the WDA isn’t resurrected to give us millions’). Eluned is an Honorary Distinguished Professor at Cardiff University. The ‘overview’ of her on the University website states that a Professor David Boucher had observed that Eluned had been elevated to the Lords and that Cardiff University ‘look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with her’. Tribute was paid to Eluned’s previous activities in the European Parliament and her ‘vast experience in relation to specific policy sectors – such as energy’ [Morgan was] ‘Labour spokesperson on Energy, Industry and Science’ [she] ‘authored the European Parliament’s position on the Energy Green Paper and Electricity Directive’. The website goes on to note that Eluned is now employed by SWALEC (the former South Wales Electricity Board, which was of course privatised), ‘a company very keen to look at opportunities for closer collaboration in Innovation and Research and Development in Wales’. I clicked on the ‘teaching’ part of Eluned’s profile because I was curious to find out exactly what the Honorary Distinguished Professor taught, but there’s nothing listed.

Eluned has another role in Cardiff University as well – she is a member of the External Advisory Body to the Welsh Governance Centre.

Eluned was elected to the European Parliament in 1994. She didn’t only busy herself there – she was a founding member of the Yes for Wales cross party group which campaigned for the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales. In which she now has a seat, after being elected in May 2016 as the AM for Mid and West Wales from the regional list. Whilst Eluned was an MEP she was successful in obtaining a great deal of convergence funding for Mid and West Wales, so presumably she reckoned that they owed her one. Before the National Assembly was established Eluned had been for many years sitting on the Welsh Labour Party Executive. As a result of this she was appointed to the Welsh Assembly Advisory Group responsible for developing the standing orders of the National Assembly for Wales.

Eluned has worked as a researcher for both S4C and the BBC.

After the Ely riots in 1991 Eluned’s dad Bob told the local populace that there was no excuse for rioting and that they were ‘excreting on their own doorstep’ (presumably if Bob was really Of Ely, he would have used the phrase ‘shitting on their own doorstep’). Bob did however observe that the conditions in which the rioters lived were dire. One wonders why Bob didn’t push for a £25 million investment in Ely like he did in order to get himself a new County Hall in Corruption Bay. Eluned didn’t Fight For Ely from the European Parliament after she was elected either, presumably because she was far too busy writing the position that the European Parliament were going to take on the Energy Green Paper and Electricity Directive before taking a job with SWALEC herself.

I have another observation regarding Eluned’s dad Bob and his commitment to the people of Ely. Many moons ago before Bob was the Rev’d Canon or had bagged an OBE or had become leader of the Labour Group in Cardiff or even had a daughter in the Lords, Bob trained as a social worker before entering the priesthood. In the late 60s Ely Hospital was the centre of one of the worst scandals that there has ever been in the UK regarding the abuse of patients. Bob was never tempted to get his teeth into that one then to help the folk of Ely…

There is an article in the Daily Post today speculating on an expected forthcoming Cabinet reshuffle by Carwyn. The Post mentions that an Eluned Morgan is ‘expecting promotion’. Well you know how it is Carwyn, Fings Break…

The Post also mentions that Jane Hutt is expected to leave the Welsh Gov’t soon. I think that the sooner Jane Hutt is out of Gov’t the better. I haven’t paid much attention to Jane Hutt on the blog, but I am certainly well aware of her presence on the planet. Jane Hutt was the first Health Minister appointed by Rhodri after the National Assembly was created. She was eventually forced to stand down in 2005 after NHS waiting lists just grew and grew and grew and people demanded her head on a platter. But there was of course something rather worse than the long NHS waiting lists on Jane’s watch – yes, it was the mental health services in north Wales. It was on Jane’s watch that the North West Wales NHS Trust were refusing to treat suicidal people who then killed themselves and when staff from the same Trust were perjuring themselves in order to have patients arrested and convicted of serious offences if they had dared complain. Jane was Health Minister when I was accused of ‘threatening to kill’ the manager of the Hergest Unit and e mails were sent out by Patricia Gaskill, Ysbyty Gwynedd’s solicitor, asking for ‘more nurses down the police station please’ to make fallacious statements about me. It was on Jane Hutt’s watch that I was violently assaulted by staff in the Hergest Unit and prevented from reporting the matter to the police, it was on Jane Hutt’s watch that it was documented upon my medical records that I had ‘set fire to the Hergest Unit’ (I hadn’t) and was refused all support. I of course was one of the lucky ones in as much as I actually stayed alive. It was on Jane Hutt’s watch that the Hergest Unit’s patch achieved the accolade of having the second highest suicide rate among women patients in England and Wales. Jane is a well-known feminist and before going into politics helped found Welsh Woman’s Aid and was Director of Chwarae Teg, a Third sector organisation dedicated to achieving gender equality!

Of course, Jane didn’t only have responsibility for Health – her full title was Minister for Health and Social Services. SOCIAL SERVICES. Jane was appointed to that role in 1999. The Waterhouse Report was published in 2000. One person mentioned in the Waterhouse Report was Glanville Owen. He was Deputy Director of Social Services whilst the paedophile gang raged and Glanville appointed a man known to be supervising the people abusing the children to a position as Head of Children’s Services. When Jane was Minister for Health and Social Services, Glanville Owen was Chief Exec of Gwynedd Community Health Council. The patients’ voice! Not only did Glanville lie to me in an effort not to investigate my complaint about Hergest but he lied again when I revisited him and then failed to investigate my complaint anyway.

Jane hit the jackpot again in 2007 – once all that talk about a paedophile ring operating in the social services in north Wales causing havoc had died down, Jane became Minister for Children!

Er – Jane??? Any comments?

So what was Jane’s background before entering politics? Well her dad was a Top Doctor at Tommy’s, a Professor of Pathology to be precise. Jane didn’t study medicine herself – she instead ended up at the LSE and in 1972 completed a Certificate in Social Work! The official blurb about Jane tells us that she has ‘lived and worked in Wales since 1972′. But she doesn’t tell us what she worked AT, until she mentions that she was appointed as the co-ordinator of Welsh Women’s Aid in 1978. So what did you do in the missing six years then Jane? Did you perhaps work as a social worker? Jane’s biography does mention a few other things though. That she was a Councillor in South Glamorgan County Council and that she was the former Vice-Chair of the Social Services Committee! She was also a non-executive director of Cardiff Community Health Care Trust.

I can state with some certainty that Jane has knowledge of the paedophiles and the paedophiles’ friends. You find out a lot about that sort of thing if you’re involved with Women’s Aid – and you don’t find out what you are told by Councillors or social workers, you get it straight from the horses mouth. That is, from the mothers of the children who are being abused, or from the women who were abused themselves or from the women are being threatened or harassed by corrupt health and welfare professionals to keep them quiet. Jane would have known. But after Jane would have heard from the people on the receiving end, Jane probably hobnobbed with some of the paedophiles’ friends who concealed it all. Because as explained in previous posts, some of them had connections to Cardiff. Some of the paedophiles’ friends were graduates of Cardiff – and of the LSE.

Ioan Bowen Rees, the Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council between 1980-91 who appointed Lucille Hughes as Director of Social Services – who then used her position to conceal and facilitate the paedophile gang – and who then did everything he could himself to conceal the gang when it’s activities were brought to his attention, had previously worked in local government in Cardiff. Ioan Bowen Rees was an authority on local government, his work in this area was known on a Europe-wide basis, he’d have been popping down to Cardiff all the time. Bowen Rees was later appointed a member of the working party that advised Ron Davies the then Secretary of State for Wales on matters regarding the National Assembly as it was brought to life. Of course Jane will have known him and I bet that Eluned Morgan did as well.  Ioan Bowen Rees’s successor as Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council was Huw Vaughan Thomas who originally came from mid-Glamorgan. Huw continued Bowen Rees’s sterling work in concealing the paedophile gang and accepting legal advice from the Council’s own corrupt lawyers not to speak to Alison Taylor, the social worker who blew the whistle on the paedophile gang. In 1996 Gwynedd County Council was abolished once Wales could bear the embarrassment of it’s existence no longer. Huw busied himself with his other interests – many of which were in south Wales. Between 2002-04 Huw was a member of the Richards Commission into the powers and electoral arrangements of the National Assembly of Wales. In 2010 Huw was appointed Auditor General for Wales. Jane Hutt was Minister for Business and Budget 2009-11 and Minister for Finance 2011-16. She’ll probably maintain that she’s never met Huw Vaughan Thomas now that she’s been outed on this blog.

Full details of the atrocities that were happening in Gwynedd in the children’s services and mental health services whilst Bowen Rees and Vaughan Thomas ran the county and the very great lengths to which they and everyone who worked for them went in order to ensure that none of them were ever prosecuted or even dismissed can be read in my post ‘I Know Nuzzing…’ It all went on whilst Jane built her reputation on the back of Women’s Aid and Chwarae Teg. For readers in England, ‘Chwarae Teg’ translates as ‘Fair Play’.

The one thing that none of this has been is fair play.

As well as being Minister for Health and Social Services and Minister for Children, at one point Jane was Minister for Assembly Business and Chief Whip with responsibility for Openness in Gov’t, Communications Strategy and co-ordinating Gov’t Policy re Children and Equality of Opportunity.

You need to leave Gov’t quickly Jane – you should never have been there in the first place.

Jane’s online profile mentions that she was a very close friend of the former First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

Another sinner with a benevolent smile on his face mentioned in the Daily Post article is Mark Drakeford. The Post reports that because Drakeford supports Jeremy Corbyn, some would like to see him take over as leader of Welsh Labour when Carwyn stands down. In such circumstances I’d ask Carwyn to stay in his job until Mark Drakeford is pushing up the daisies and is in no danger of becoming First Minister.

Like Jane, Drakeford was once a social worker – with Dyfed County Council, although that particular bit of info seems to have disappeared from the internet. Ever since I pointed out on this blog that not only was there a paedophile ring operating in Dyfed but that Ioan Bowen Rees invited a team of ‘senior officers’ from Dyfed to ‘investigate’ the children’s services in Gwynedd after complaints were made of abuse and neglect in a children’s home. Only a few years previously Ioan Bowen Rees had been County Secretary of Dyfed. However Mark Drakeford’s online biography is fessing up to him having been a probation officer, a youth justice worker and a Barnardos programme leader in Ely. What the fuck is it about Ely??? I shall have to get down there and see this place for myself. The probation service did of course know all about the paedophile gang in north Wales. Not only that, but some of the paedophiles and their friends had worked in the probation service themselves and some of them joined the probation service after they’d wreaked havoc with the kids in care. A number of the paedophiles and their friends had also worked with Barnardos.

What else did Mark do before he was elected as AM for Cardiff West in 2011? Well between 1985-93 he was a Labour Councillor with South Glamorgan County Council. He’ll have rubbed noses with the Rev Bob and Jane then. As well as a few of those involved with the development of Corruption Bay. Between 2000-10 he was the Cabinet’s Health and Social Policy Advisor – so he was in post throughout the reign of Queen Jane of Fair Play and the reign of the nakedly corrupt Dr Brian Gibbons of This Correspondence Is Closed fame. Drakeford took over Rhodri’s seat when he stood down. Shortly after his election Drakeford became Chair of the Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee. So it was natural justice when the barrel of shit that is the NHS in north Wales that Drakeford et al had covered up for so long exploded in Drakeford’s face in 2013 in the form of Tawel Fan after he was appointed Health Minister. Between 2003-13 Mark Drakeford was Professor of Social Policy at Cardiff University, so presumably he understands how serious research fraud is. I wrote to Drakeford when he was Health Minister telling him of the research fraud involving the development of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy carried out by Professor Mark Williams et al (see post ‘The Biggest Expert Of The Lot’). I did not receive a reply but about three weeks later I read a newspaper article about MBCT which included comments regarding the benefits of MBCT from Mark Drakeford accompanied by a nice photo of Drakeford with the researchers involved in this fraud.

More recently I came across an online advert for a conference in Cardiff concerning the undesirability of blaming social workers in the event of scandals in social work. Drakeford was a keynote speaker, along with Sharon Shoesmith. Shoesmith was of course the Director of Children’s Services in Haringey when the disaster which ended with the death of Baby P took place. Sharon was memorably interviewed by Eddie Mair on the radio and told him that the ‘service’ that she ran had been judged to be a four star service. Mair asked her how many stars she thought that she’d get for this. Shoesmith was famously sacked by Ed Balls but sadly Balls forgot to follow policy, Shoesmith sued and was awarded nearly one million in compensation. She gave a number of media interviews constructing herself as the victim, stating that her life had been destroyed. Unlike Baby P, Sharon made a Lazarus-like recovery and recently emerged from the LSE with a PhD – the subject of her thesis was her involvement with the Baby P case. She has now written a book based on her thesis. If Drakeford ever did become First Minister he’d probably appoint Sharon as Minister for Looked-After Babies. There won’t be any danger of Drakeford blaming any social workers for anything.

Note to Jane and Mark: People DIED at the hands of the paedophile gang you fucking idiots.

Someone else who will have known all about the paedophiles and their friends is Howard Thomas. Indeed some of them even worked for him – Howard Thomas was Chief Probation Officer for North Wales 1985-96. Howard is a keen writer of letters to newspapers (there’s a letter from him in today’s Daily Post). He’s been doing this for years. Howard writes really good letters too, describing the folly of imprisoning disadvantaged and dispossessed people with mental health problems. Latterly Howard has taken up the cause of Women – has he been talking to Jane? – and is arguing that far fewer of them should be imprisoned. Howard is clearly a man of some influence – Hansard records that in Sept 2012 Howard gave written evidence to the Justice Committee, again regarding the imprisonment of vulnerable people. Whenever I read one of Howard’s letters I agree with every word. I’d really like to meet Howard. Years ago I wanted to meet Howard to talk to him about penal policy. Now I’d like to meet him to ask him why he employed paedophiles as probation officers, and why he has never mentioned the paedophile gang during his many years of campaigning. I’d also like to remind him that whilst he was Chief Probation Officer, the paedophiles’ friends had me unlawfully arrested and illegally detained in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and that numerous victims of the paedophile gang were found dead, including some who had dared give evidence against them and five who all died in one arson attack. The carnage on the ground whilst Howard ran the North Wales Probation Service is all very inconsistent with the letters that he’s been writing to newspapers since he retired. Or indeed with the evidence that he gave to Parliament.

Howard Thomas is a former member of the Parole Board. As is Huw Vaughan Thomas. Jane Hutt will probably turn up on there soon along with Dafydd and Lucille.

 

On the subject of crime and punishment, the consequences of another New Labour flagship policy which everybody told them at the time was a stupid and dangerous idea has been widely discussed in the media over the last few days – indeterminate prison sentences for public protection. This was part of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, one of David Blunkett’s madder brainwaves whilst he was Home Secretary. He was told that it would lead to people who had committed trivial crimes as a result of mental health problems being incarcerated for years, but Blunkett ignored all advice. He was busy being Tough On Crime And The Causes Of Crime – although not with paedophile gangs with connections to Westminster obviously – and was ensuring that ASBOs were being handed out to teenagers with Tourettes syndrome, so nothing was going to stop Blunkett. It has now been revealed that although this disastrous policy was discontinued in 2012, there are still thousands of people with mental health problems banged up in prison who haven’t actually done very much. But the Parole Board knows that they’re Too Dangerous To Let Out. And we all know who sits on the Parole Board… The case being highlighted in the media is that of a suicidal man with mental health problems who has now been in prison for eleven years because he set fire to a mattress. His mother was interviewed and explained that people didn’t believe her when she told them this, they maintained that her son must have committed a serious crime to be banged up for thirteen years. I believe her. Particularly if he dared complain about Top Doctors who were concealing a paedophile ring. Who was Blunkett’s deputy at the Home Office, the Minister of State for the Criminal Justice System and Law Reform, who actually did the legwork on indeterminate sentences, pushing through such a controversial policy? It was none other than Baroness Patricia Scotland QC, who picked up her peerage whilst she was the barrister acting for the Welsh Office at the Waterhouse Inquiry – the Inquiry which covered up the extent of the activities of the paedophile gang that operated in north Wales for decades with the knowledge of the Welsh Office.

I’m hoping that someone will remind the media of someone else who is in prison as a direct result of David Blunkett wanting a bit of publicity for being Tough On Crime – Howard Hughes. Howard Hughes is currently in prison after being convicted in July 1996 of the rape and murder of Sophie Hook in Llandudno. There was absolutely no forensic evidence against him at all and a number of people involved with the case were those who also concealed the paedophile gang. Howard Hughes has learning disabilities and mental health problems and passed through both Bryn Estyn – where he claims that he was abused – and Garth Angharad, the ‘hospital for mentally abnormal criminals’ that was actually owned by Paul Hett, a struck off solicitor who was one of the paedophiles’ friends and which served as a prison for people who had complained about the paedophiles and their friends. David Blunkett personally intervened in the case of Howard Hughes and gave him a 50 year tariff. Full details of Hughes’s case can be read in my post ‘News Round Up – And Murder Most Foul’.

Of course Blunkett overhauled the legislation relating to sex offences in 2002, ‘tightening protection against rapists, paedophiles and other sex offenders’.

Yet more fall-out from another New Labour cock-up occurred after Denzil Lush, a retired senior judge in the Court of Protection, went public regarding his concerns over what is happening in situations involving the Power of Attorney. Denzil Lush is the leading authority on this legislation and is now publicly stating that he would not advise anyone to utilise it after a number of high profile cases of people who have been abused or fleeced by others to whom they have granted Power of Attorney. Lush maintains that there are not sufficient safeguards and he fears that there may be many more cases of vulnerable people who have been abused or swindled under this system. Again, when the legislation was passed, there were warnings that it would leave vulnerable people open to abuse.

The Power of Attorney system is administered by the Minister of Justice and the Office of the Public Guardian, which is an executive agency of the Minister of Justice. The Office of the Public Guardian replaced the Public Guardianship Officer (it’s a bit like the Judean Peoples’ Front and the Peoples’ Front of Judea) and came into being on 1 Oct 2007. Now one would have thought that with a new Office dealing with the most sensitive of cases involving the most vulnerable people losing control over their liberty, their money, their possessions and decisions concerning ALL aspects of their life because they have been deemed to lack capacity, the Gov’t would have been very careful indeed whom they appointed as Chief Exec of this Office. Particularly as they had been warned repeatedly that people with learning difficulties and mental health problems would be placed at risk. Did the Gov’t appoint a lawyer perhaps, someone with a track record in protecting the rights of people and with an understanding of legislation? No. They appointed a man called Richard Brook. Who had just stepped down from his role as Chief Exec of MIND no less.

Brook was Chief Exec of MIND between 2001 and 2006. Brook was Chief Exec of MIND when I wrote and told them about the abuses and assaults being carried out by Hergest staff, as well as the staff perjuring themselves in an attempt to secure convictions against patients for serious offences if those patients had complained. I received an extraordinary letter back, written as if addressing a young child, telling me that I had to find a Yellow Pages telephone book, look under ‘solicitors’, choose one and go and tell them. Brook was also Chief Exec of MIND when Prestwood Homes – which was trafficking female residents into sex work and male residents into unpaid manual labour – were using the free facilities provided by MIND in north Wales such as drop-in centres, walking groups etc in order to claim that ‘clients’ had a full social programme of activities. Prestwood charged thousands of pounds a week for a ‘placement’, the MIND activities were provided completely free. Furthermore, Prestwood clients TOLD the staff at the MIND drop in centres that they were being abused. One female client of Prestwood who had been raped as a child was locked in a room whilst pornography was screened at high volume as ‘therapy’. This young woman was told that if she didn’t ‘co-operate’ at Prestwood she would be taken back to Liverpool, dumped on the street and refused further ‘services’. Those ‘clients’ were slaves and it was happening with the full knowledge of MIND. What happened to that young woman? She disappeared. She never showed up at MIND again after she blew the whistle and Prestwood announced that she was ‘no longer a client’. What did the MIND rep do? She told Robin Holden – who was at that time a manager of the Hergest Unit – who told her that ‘we know all about Prestwood’. Holden is now an ‘executive’ for MIND. Are these people completely stupid? They were told by a 19 year old girl that she was being held captive and abused – she then disappeared off the face of the earth. Another person knew about Prestwood – because I told him, as did a number of other people. That was Geoff Lees. Who is now Director of Vale of Clwyd MIND. Would the whole bloody lot of you – Sue Sayer, Robin Holden and Geoff Lees – now like to go to the police and tell them all that you knew about Prestwood? For details of the full horror that was Prestwood and for details of the untimely death of a support worker who had witnessed truly dreadful things there, see posts ‘A Convenient Arrangement With The Private Sector’ and ‘News Round Up And Crime Report, May 14 2017’.

So who was the Minister responsible for the Office of the Public Guardian when it was created and when Brook was appointed? The Minister concerned was the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice – a man called Charlie Falconer. A old friend of Tony Blair’s, Blair’s former flatmate when they were both junior barristers and the first person to be given a life peerage by Blair, whereupon he immediately joined the Gov’t as Solicitor-General. Falconer joined the Home Office in 2002 and in 2003 joined the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and as Lord Chancellor ‘for an interim period’ – because Blair planned to abolish the office of Lord Chancellor without discussion. He was told that would not be possible without primary legislation so the plan was dropped. So instead the roles of Lord Chancellor were reorganised, the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs took over some of the responsibilities of Lord Chancellor and also became the sponsoring dept of the Secretary of State for Wales and the Secretary of State for Scotland. What a very tight stitch-up it all was.

Charlie Falconer is married to another lawyer – Marianna Hildyard QC. She specialises in cases involving children, sexual abuse, the placement of children for adoption and trafficking! In 2009 she was made a Deputy High Court Judge.

 

Should anyone accuse me of going into Grassy Knoll territory here, I would urge you to carefully read and digest the information that I’m posting on this blog. This CANNOT all be a coincidence. There has been a systematic promotion to high office of people who have played key roles in the cover-up of the North Wales Paedophile Ring. Once in office those people have implemented laws and policies that have either criminalised people who have been victims of or are witnesses to the activities of that ring, or made it nigh-on impossible for they or other vulnerable people to have their complaints heard and investigated. Yet all this has been very cleverly designed in the name of equity, ‘protection’ of the vulnerable or human rights. Charlie Falconer himself boasted to an audience in Bangor a few years ago that the Human Rights Act that his Gov’t had passed would mean that no-one would now suffer indignities in care settings – they could sue under the Human Rights Act. What he didn’t mention was at the same time, his Gov’t had virtually abolished Legal Aid, so in reality no-one could sue for anything, no matter how gross the abuse. Along with me in that audience were two lawyers who were fighting cases on behalf of people who had been abused by the Hergest Unit and/or Gwynedd Social Services. Those lawyers were nearly put out of business when Falconer et al withdrew Legal Aid. But that was no doubt most convenient – because those lawyers were of course fighting the Top Doctors and Social Service managers who had concealed the fucking paedophile ring. I and the two lawyers wanted to question Charlie. He wouldn’t take questions from anyone though, he said that he had to dash off for another important engagement. I found out the next day that he’d actually gone to a reception with a carefully selected group of senior academics who could be relied upon not to ask Charlie any difficult questions.

As for the appointment of Richard Brook from MIND as the first Chief Exec of the Office of the Public Guardian – Charlie knew that he’d be onto a winner there. Which was the most high profile case which involved the former Public Guardianship Officer abusing their position? It was the case of Mary Wynch in north Wales. Who had been illegally arrested, imprisoned in Risley Remand Centre and then in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh for a year by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. Dafydd declared Mary insane and Mary’s money and property was removed from her by the Public Guardianship Officer. When Mary finally got out of Denbigh she successfully sued Dafydd et al and it was admitted that she was not and had never been mentally ill. She was awarded damages but Dafydd and co never paid up. Mary never recovered her money or her property. MIND knew about all of it and did nothing. As ever. But then Dafydd’s mistress Lucille Hughes was trafficking boys to the Westminster Paedophile Ring and Dafydd was banging up anybody who complained or asked questions in the North Wales Hospital. The full details of Mary’s story can be read in my post ‘The Mary Wynch Case – Details’.

 

 

 

Top Of The Cops

Some four years ago when I was openly discussing when and where I’d publish my experiences with the mental health services, someone who knew much of what they had got up to and had read the ludicrous affidavits that they had sworn in their attempts to gain High Court injunctions against me and have me imprisoned gave me a book to read, simply commenting that he thought that I’d find it interesting. That book was ‘Stalker’, by John Stalker, the former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police. It was published in 1988 and Stalker wrote it in the aftermath of him being removed from his role in leading an investigation into the possibility that the RUC had pursued a ‘shoot to kill’ policy against suspected IRA terrorists and following an investigation into Stalker himself. Stalker was accused of associating with people who had connections to criminals. He was removed from the ‘shoot to kill’ investigation, suspended from his job, reinstated but then left the police force anyway, although he was only in his late 40s. It all elicited huge media interest and Stalker’s story was that he had been removed from the investigation because of what he was uncovering in N Ireland – he maintained that he was smeared and that a cover-up of dodgy practices in the RUC had taken place. Stalker was appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester in March 1984 and began his investigation into the RUC in June 1984. In May 1986 he was told that he was removed forever from the N Ireland investigation and was instructed to stay at home. In August 1986 the Police Committee voted to reinstate him as Deputy Chief Constable and he returned to work. In March 1987 Stalker left the police.

Since ‘Stalker’ was published, much of what has been revealed regarding the conduct of certain police forces at the time and the allegations of organised child abuse by public figures – some close to Thatcher – allows one to read Stalker’s story in a way in which he probably never imagined one would. The picture that emerges from Stalker’s book is that of an awful lot of police officers at the most senior levels in Britain behaving badly, a number of whom seem to have axes to grind and are therefore making allegations and counter-allegations against each other. Admissions and accusations of Freemasonry swirl around numerous people and a lot of officers, including Stalker, seem to have very cosy relationships with journalists, whilst at the same time complain that other officers are ‘leaking’ to the press. The impression that I am left with is that of the scenario created by those we know and love – everyone involved loathes each other but have all done a lot of things that they shouldn’t have, so are condemned to one another’s company. One wouldn’t really trust any of these people further than one would spit a rat. Stalker certainly had some very interesting friends and contacts and I will return to this topic in future posts.

It transpired that the person who recommended that I read Stalker’s book had noticed something that I also noticed as I read it. On occasions throughout the book, the very words used, the phrases used and even the context in which Stalker frames himself as an honest man unfairly hounded, concerned only for the welfare of his loving wife and children and his desire to press on with his valuable work, is very reminiscent indeed of the affidavits that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones swore on oath in the mid 1990s regarding the reign of terror that he maintained that I was subjecting him to. Now those affidavits elicited hilarity at the time, as I shared them with a number of other people who had knowledge of what Dafydd was actually doing. Dafydd’s turns of phrase were so odd, stylised, quaint and melodramatic that some of those phrases were repeated frequently by numerous people, using a Dafydd voice. I remember those ridiculous affidavits very well and as I read Stalker’s book, I was right back there with them. My main thought was ‘I am reading something written by the person who dictated those affidavits’. Of course, people who have been educated by the same people in the same institutions often write or speak in a similar way. Stalker is slightly younger than Dafydd and grew up in inner Manchester and finished his education as a teenager, whereupon he joined the police. Dafydd grew up in a village in Gwynedd where Welsh was the first language of nearly everyone. I understand that he initially began a chemistry degree but was kicked out in disgrace (although no-one knows exactly what the disgrace involved) and subsequently studied medicine at Liverpool. There are no similarities between Stalker’s education and Dafydd’s. Stalker’s book reveals something else. That after he left the police, he pursued work in journalism and the media. At one point he was production manager for the soap opera ‘Brookside’ of all things. So Stalker had a talent for drama and fiction… Stalker’s skills are evident in the biography that he provides at the front of the book. He describes himself as living on a small farm in Cheshire, where he ‘generally lives off the land’. Yet his book is choc full of references to foreign travel and holidays, to hotels, favourite restaurants, his American express account, his big mortgage, his new carpets, his new kitchen, parties and social occasions with High Society in Manchester. This is not a man who lives in a yurt and grows his own. His extensive foreign travel is also a little inconsistent with his account of hearth, home and family life – he’ll have hardly had time to see his family. But then Dafydd hardly spent any time with the ‘small children’ whose existence he flagged up on many of the occasions on which he made lurid statements about me.

I have detailed previously on the blog the numerous occasions on which the mental health services in north Wales took Court action against me. This was usually at Courts in Wales or Chester, although Sir Robert Francis QC (please see post ‘The Sordid Role Of Sir Robert Francis QC’) had a go at me in the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand, London. Yet when Gwynedd County Council sought an injunction against me on the basis of affidavits by two social workers who perjured themselves (one of whom had never met me and one of whom had only met me two or three times), they made representation to Sir John Kay, a judge on the Northern Circuit. When Dafydd sought an injunction against me, on the basis of his Stalkeresque affidavits, he went to Liverpool High Court – again, on the Northern Circuit. Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds are all on the Northern Circuit. They are also all a very long way from north west Wales which is where I, Gwynedd County Council and Dafydd were. Stalker’s book mentions legal contacts of his – in the region covered by the Northern Circuit.

Stalker’s base seemed to be Manchester – although he had previously worked in the midlands and mentioned contacts there as well – but Stalker had dealings with a man very well-known in north Wales. That is the former Chief Constable of North Wales, Sir Philip Myers. Stalker only met Myers a few times, under circumstances which will be explained in a minute, but Myers became Stalker’s nemesis. Stalker made it clear that he believed that it was Sir Philip Myers, along with Sir John Hermon, the Chief Constable of the RUC and Sir James Anderton, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, along with some unidentified civil servants, who were responsible for his removal from the N Ireland investigation and his subsequent problems. He named Myers as the ‘prime mover’ against him. Myers died in 2014 and his obituaries all made mention of his ‘battle’ with Stalker. So let us take a look at Sir Philip Myers.

Myers was born in 1931 in Liverpool but grew up in Denbighshire and went to school in Wrexham. Like so many who have featured on this blog – another local boy who did well for himself. After a stint in the RAF he joined Shropshire Constabulary. He wanted to join the Denbighshire force but his Welsh wasn’t good enough. He remained in the Shropshire force for 17 years, until he joined West Mercia in 1967. In 1968 he was appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Gwynedd Constabulary. As part of his duties in that role, he oversaw the security for the investiture of the Prince of Wales in Caernarfon in July 1969. There was famously much trouble as a result of that investiture and two ‘Welsh nationalists’ blew themselves up during an attempt to plant a bomb, but no-one actually blew Charles himself sky high and Myers’ policing of the event was deemed a roaring success.

I have heard many anecdotes from people who hated everything that the investiture stood for, including allegations that at least one man who was threatening violent action on the day was detained in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh in a political move. As he did with a number of patients, Dafydd then cultivated this man’s company and many years later ruthlessly used this man in joint media appearances when there was pressure on Dafydd to retire. The media appearances involved this man dressing up in a dog collar, calling himself ‘Rev’ and claiming to be a Minister, although he wasn’t. Everyone knew about this misrepresentation, but there he was in the Hergest Unit, with a TV crew, giving interviews about how ‘Welsh boys and girls are going to prison in England’ and that things would only get worse if Dafydd retired and ceased to ‘look after’ the addicts of the region – please see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’

As a result of his success regarding the investiture, in 1970 Myers became Chief Constable of Gwynedd at only 39 years old, the youngest Chief Constable in Britain. This appointment laid the foundation for the establishment of the North Wales Police force in April 1974, formed from the merger of the Gwynedd, Denbighshire and Flintshire Constabularies. With the North Wales Police, Myers ‘fought a long campaign’ against the rise in truancy and youth crime and Myers was described as ‘holding strident views’ with regard to the policing of the region. Of course whilst Myers was fighting his campaign against errant youths, children in the children’s homes in north Wales were being physically beaten and sexually abused. One of those abusing them was a member of Myers’ own force, Gordon Anglesea. Most of the people abusing those kids were never prosecuted, but the kids themselves were prosecuted repeatedly, often for very trivial offences. When the children ran away from the homes to escape the abuse, they were returned by the police and no questions were asked even if they were visibly injured. In 1972 Myers represented the police on the Advisory Council On The Misuse of Drugs. Of course, Myers will have known both Dafydd and Gwynne the lobotomist – as well as many other people named on the blog.

Myers was quoted as saying that ‘we don’t prosecute all young people found in possession of cannabis…[it’s] treated as a social matter…I have said quite publicly that pushers and traffickers will be prosecuted’. I find this puzzling, because when I first arrived in Bangor in 1981 Myers was still Chief Constable. What I remember hearing again and again was that there existed locally a thoroughly corrupt drug squad who harassed and pursued hippies blowing dope and who also planted cocaine and the like on them. Indeed so notorious were two of the officers involved that I was given their names, a description of both of them, a description of their car (a red Ford Escort) and it’s number plate – and I’m delighted to say that I did indeed spot these two twats driving around Bangor, as they fitted up two people whom I knew. I knew one hippy from Bethesda who had cocaine planted on him by these two – they planted cocaine on his wife as well, but she was from an affluent well-connected family in Surrey and was somehow never prosecuted – he was and he ended up in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh for a year under the care of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones! (Christ I bet Dafydd regrets ever meeting me – you didn’t know that all this was going to be made public did you Dafydd when you illegally imprisoned me, threatened me and made deals with corrupt police officers…) But whilst all this was happening, a serious heroin problem began to develop in Gwynedd and on Anglesey yet no-one put a stop to it…

The drug squad were not the only members of the North Wales Police who were alleged to be corrupt. I was told that the local police were dreadful and that anyone who fell foul of them would find themselves harassed on all levels. In my first year at Bangor University, I heard a bizarre tale. One of the halls of residence next door to the hall where I lived was an all male hall and it had a rather difficult man as a warden. I always got on with him very well (he was one of my lecturers), but he could certainly be very vindictive if he took a dislike to someone. A strange atmosphere prevailed in the hall where he had control – some students had been invited into a select friendship group with him but other students were just being bullied and targeted over ridiculously trivial matters. This man was a leading light in the local mountain rescue team and through this knew many local police officers. I was told on one occasion that one of the students whom this man had taken a dislike to had been picked up by the local police, not charged with any offence, detained overnight at Bangor Police Station in the cells and then released again without charge – after being told not to annoy this warden again. The warden himself was openly boasting of having arranged this unlawful arrest for a laugh. I also heard a few references to Stalker’s colleagues from Manchester as well when I was an undergrad. One of the boys on my course came from Manchester and maintained that there was serious corruption in that force as well with villains from ‘north Manchester’ going unchallenged whereas small fry were hassled. Then villains from Manchester were alleged to be running a nightclub in Bangor. Bangor had been seriously short of such facilities, but in about 1983 or 84, there was much excitement because a real nightclub opened. Within weeks terrifying rumours were circulating, that is was being run by some heavies from Manchester, that serious violence and drug dealing were occurring and it soon became a no go area for most students. At about the same time the A55 linking Bangor with the north west of England was built and various dodgy people involved in serious crime began making their way across.

So what Myers claimed was happening regarding policing in North Wales was rather different to what the rest of us witnessed on the ground. Even more entertainingly, I have come across quotes from Myers that he made claiming that in the mid 70s his force was hampered by an increase in legislation that left the ‘victim of the villain naked and the police officer investigating crime impotent’. So is that why they were stitching people up and failing to investigate the serious abuse of children and the abuses of the mental health services? It was of course on Myers’ watch that the likes of Gordon Anglesea and Elfed Roberts rose through the ranks of the North Wales Police and it was officers who were promoted under him who were later alleged to be involved with the paedophile ring that operated in the area – officers who were also instrumental in the convictions that I’ve explored on this blog that may well be serious miscarriages of justice.

In the 1970s Myers was President of the Association of Chief Police Officers. He was very cross when the failed experiment with ‘short sharp shocks’ regarding youth offenders came to an end. He was also on record as maintaining that the increase in crime was ‘directly linked’ with film violence. He was particularly vexed over the film ‘Clockwork Orange’ and the gang bang scenes. Well such things were happening for real in the region’s children’s homes and in the North Wales Hospital. In the tributes paid to him after his death, Myers was described as being ‘intensely loyal to his officers’.  To illustrate this, it was explained that in 1981 when riots were predicted on Merseyside, Myers sent five coaches of his officers to Toxteth to ‘assist’ and before the coaches left, Myers boarded each one to explain to the officers what was expected of them and what they might encounter. I wonder what was actually said to those officers…

In 1982 Myers had the honour of being personally reprimanded by Lord Hailsham (who was no liberal), after Myers had forced a probationary policeman, Michael Evans, to resign. Myers had an issue with Evan’s ‘hippy lifestyle’ on a farm near Bangor – except that Myers aimed his fire at the wrong man, it was a case of mistaken identity. There was also a spat over Evan’s pet dogs and malicious rumours were seeded about Evans’s marriage. Knowing how those we know and love conduct business, there is only one question that needs to be answered here – what did Michael Evans know about whom? Hailsham described ‘the treatment meted out to this young man as little short of outrageous’. If only he’d been molesting children in care…

When Myers announced his retirement, the Home Office was said to have ‘persuaded’ him to become one of HM Inspectors of Constabularies and in Nov 1981 the Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw confirmed the appointment, that ran from 1982. Myers was one of the youngest Inspectors of Constabularies. This post is described as involving delicate mediation between Chief Constables and the Gov’t. Myers was responsible for the ‘North West Region’, which covered north Wales, north west England and N Ireland. It was in this role that Myers encountered Stalker. Although Myers had played a key role in removing Stalker from the ‘shoot to kill’ investigation, he had also played a pivotal role in appointing him. Myers remained in this post until 1993. In 1983 Myers became the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd. He was knighted in 1985. In 1985 Myers mediated in the row between the Labour-controlled Police Committee and the Merseyside Chief Constable Kenneth Oxford, as Oxford resisted calls for his resignation on the grounds that he had the backing of his officers and the Home Office. Oxford pursued a notoriously aggressive style of policing, on one occasion achieving the distinction of being the first person on the British mainland to lead a force using CS gas – Oxford also stocked up on plastic bullets. During riots in Liverpool one person was hit and killed by a police vehicle and somebody else was run over and left disabled. It took Lord Scarman to calm everybody down in the midst of some of what Oxford had done.

Myers was embroiled in more trouble again in 1992 when he became involved in the case that Alison Halford, the Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside, brought on the grounds of discrimination. He was named as a co-respondent – along with James Sharples (Halford’s Chief Constable), the Home Secretary and the Northamptonshire Police Authority. It was alleged that Sharples had commented to Myers that Halford had been involved with an ‘improper relationship’ with a woman (Halford is gay). Edwin Glasgow QC, on behalf of Myers, described him as an ‘old fashioned strait-laced man’ (er, with the exception of the activities in those children’s homes…) Halford won her case – she alleged that she had been passed over for promotion eight or nine times – and was reputed to have received more than a million in compensation.

Myers did something else that gained a certain amount of attention whilst he was Inspector of Constabulary that Stalker comments on in his book. Instead of making use of the offices provided for the Inspector of Constabulary in a more central location in north west England, Myers had his own office built – in Colwyn Bay, right next to his home. Stalker visited this ‘seaside office’ as he called it and observed that it was in a rather out of the way location. Of course it would not have been out of the way for Myers’s contacts and colleagues from north Wales, it would have been most convenient for them, because the North Wales Police HQ is at Colwyn Bay. Indeed Colwyn Bay seems to attract the movers and the shakers. Professor Robert Owen, the Medical Ombudsman from the Welsh Office who oversaw the investigation into my complaint about Dafydd in 1988 – an investigation which was a whitewash, which did not actually investigate most aspects of my complaint and which resulted in no action against Dafydd at al although he had broken the law and entered into a criminal conspiracy with Superintendent Roberts at Bangor Police Station – lived in Colwyn Bay. I have copies of letters which showed that correspondence about me, from people uninvolved in the complaint eg. Dr D.G.E. Wood, were being sent to Owen’s home address without my knowledge. So business was obviously being conducted informally at people’s homes. Someone else lived at Colwyn Bay as well – Gordon Anglesea, the Superintendent who was eventually convicted of sexually abusing children in care homes in north Wales. Anglesea had previously been based in the Wrexham area but in 1988 he was promoted to Superintendent in Colwyn Bay. Huw Vaughan Thomas also lives in Colwyn Bay – he is now the Auditor General for Wales but between 1991-1996 he was Chief Executive of Gwynedd County Council, whilst the paedophile ring was in operation in children’s homes in Gwynedd and Clwyd. There will of course be many other key public servants who decided to live near Colwyn Bay…

Myers died in 2014. Hundreds of police officers turned out for his funeral – as indeed they did for Anglesea’s, although he died in prison serving a sentence for child abuse – and it was agreed by many that he had been very, very well-liked among his officers. Well they did pretty much anything that they wanted when old Philip was in charge – and he remained near their Colwyn Bay base when he moved into his later, even more powerful role… Even the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner at the time, Winston Roddick, mentioned that he was a great bloke. A party celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the North Wales Police force was held in 2014. Philip was too ill to attend, but his wife went along and Winston was overjoyed to see her.

 

So Myers attained dizzy heights indeed. His role may have involved mediating between Chief Constables and the Gov’t, but there was one person above Myers, between him and the Gov’t. That was HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, which between Jan 1983-March 1987 was Sir Lawrence Byford CBE. He’s certainly worth taking a look at, particularly as he was Chief Inspector whilst the paedophile ring in north Wales was causing havoc and whilst the British police stood accused of acting as the personal army of the Thatcher’s Gov’t. Byford was also Chief Inspector throughout the Stalker affair.

Lawrence Byford was born in 1925. His biography states that he was educated at the University of Leeds, but it doesn’t state at which stage of his life that was. In 1947 he became a constable with the West Yorkshire Constabulary, eventually becoming Commander of the Huddersfield Division. In 1968 he took up a senior leadership role with the Lincolnshire Police and was Chief Constable between 1973-1977. He was a Regional Inspector of Constabulary from 1978 until he was appointed Chief Inspector in 1983. He was knighted in 1984. After he retired he was President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 1991-1999 – he also undertook some management consultancy. Lawrence Byford was appointed by Willie Whitelaw to conduct the first inquiry into the massive stuffing up that was the investigation into Peter Sutcliffe’s crimes. Byford was assisted in this by the ‘Super Squad’, the external advisory team originally set up to investigate the murders committed by Sutcliffe! He was critical of the investigation by the West Yorkshire Police  (his old force) but considering how bad that investigation was, he should have been a lot more critical.

Two of Lawrence’s children have made the news. In 1999, his daughter and her husband were arrested whilst on holiday in Florida for leaving their two very young children in their holiday apartment alone. They spent the night in jail but were allowed out on bail to return home to Yorkshire. When they left the children alone, they were actually on holiday with Lawrence, who it was said ‘did protest quite a bit’ at their arrest. There were even suggestions that if Lawrence’s daughter and her husband were kept in prison it could lead to a diplomatic incident between the U.S. and Britain.

Lawrence has a son who is well-known in his own right. That is Mark Byford, former Deputy Director General of the BBC and Head of BBC journalism, 2004-2011. Mark Byford spent his early years in the West Riding of Yorkshire when his father was a police officer there. In 1976 he went to Leeds University to study law. After graduating, he worked for the summer as a researcher in the ‘Look North’ regional newsroom in Leeds. At the end of the summer Mark joined the BBC on a full time basis. In 1990 he was appointed Head of Centre at Leeds and in 1991 he was the Controller for Regional Broadcasting. He joined the BBC Board of Management in 1996. Byford was a member of the BBC Executive Board for 13 years. He established and chaired the BBC Editorial Standards Board and established and chaired the Complaints Management Board. He chaired the BBC Journalism Board and had overall responsibility for all BBC journalism, across the UK and the world. I would imagine that if there was a story that Mark Byford didn’t want to become public, he would be able to keep it quiet very effectively, even if other people thought that it should be broadcast. Mark Byford’s later career at the BBC did some strange things. Three weeks after he was appointed Deputy DG in 2004, the DG, Greg Dyke, resigned following the furore of the Hutton Report. The BBC Board of Governors appointed Byford as acting DG and he remained in that role for five months. Then Mark Thompson was appointed DG and Byford was given the journalism remit. In October 2010 Byford accepted voluntary redundancy in the wake of the row about the very high salaries of the numerous senior managers at the BBC. He was alleged to have received a redundancy package of between £800,000-£900,000 and previously had received a salary of £500,000 pa. Byford left the BBC in Jun 2011. During the row about senior executives and high salaries, a few very rude things were said about Mark Byford, with people asking what exactly it was that he did and whether anyone should have paid him half a million pa. Within 18 months of Byford leaving, the BBC was engulfed by two scandals relating to ‘Newsnight’. One of those related to Jimmy Savile and the other to Lord McAlpine. Jimmy Savile was finally outed as a paedophile who’d offended on a grand scale. That is the Jimmy Savile who’d had a base in Leeds and who had been on excellent terms with some officers of the West Yorkshire Police who had known what he was up to but had failed to take action against him. The Leeds where Mark Byford had worked and the West Yorkshire Police whom Lawrence Byford had once been a part of. Lord McAlpine, readers may remember, was wrongly identified on ‘Newsnight’ as being a paedophile and later sued a number of people for libel and won. McAlpine had been named by Steve Messham, one of the former residents of a children’s home in north Wales where he had been molested, but not by Lord McAlpine. The Pollard Review blamed the Savile row in the BBC on the lack of Mark Byford. Presumably he’d been keeping Savile under wraps for years. Media commentator Professor Stewart Purvis commented that ‘Byford watched the DG’s back and the BBC’s back’. It rather looks as though he watched Savile’s back, the collective backs of the West Yorkshire Police and his own father’s back as well.

 

Previous posts have explained how the serious abuse of children in children’s homes in north Wales spanned decades. The home with the worst reputation – from which a number of staff were convicted of very serious offences against children – was Bryn Estyn near Wrexham. Prior to becoming a children’s home in 1974, Bryn Estyn was a Home Office Approved School and many of the abusers had been employed there whilst it was run by the Home Office. Some of Gordon Anglesea’s offences were committed at a Home Office Approved Attendance Centre in Wrexham which he had been allowed to set up in 1978. So the Home Office had something to do with what was happening in north Wales, beyond simply ignoring the complaints and convictions. So who were the Home Secretaries responsible? During the late 60s and early 70s – by which time Bryn Estyn had gained an appalling reputation – they were James Callaghan, Reginald Maudling and Robert Carr. Callaghan was part of Harold Wilson’s Gov’t, Maudling and Carr part of Ted Heath’s. The Home Secretary in place when Gordon Anglesea set up his Attendance Centre was Merlyn Rees – Callaghan was PM. Regarding the appointments of Philip Myers: Reginald Maudling and Robert Carr were Home Secretaries under Ted Heath when Myers was appointed Chief Constable and the new North Wales Police force was formed. Willie Whitelaw under Margaret Thatcher was the Home Secretary who appointed Myers as an HM Inspector of Constabulary. When Sir Lawrence Byford was appointed HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary the Home Secretary was Leon Brittan, as part of Margaret Thatcher’s Gov’t. The Leon Brittan who was, before he died, investigated in connection with sex offences – and the Leon Brittan who mislaid all those files relating to allegations of people in public life abusing children. We’ve arrived at the Westminster Paedophile Ring again.

There are many more interesting names in Stalker’s book and I will be blogging about them and their possible relevance to the topics covered on this blog very soon.

 

 

News Round Up – And Another Top Doctor Goes To Prison

This morning the Daily Post online is telling us all that the Betsi has overspent it’s budget by £80 million in the last three years, according to a report from the Welsh Auditor General. Janet Finch-Saunders, the Conservative AM for Aberconwy, is quoted as someone ‘who has previously spoken out about the underfunding of the NHS by the Welsh Gov’t’. Today Janet is maintaining that she ‘welcomes’ the Welsh Gov’t covering the extra spend, but ‘given that they are monitoring the Betsi’s finances, they should have taken action to ensure it didn’t get into this position’. Janet gives some suggestions as to how this could be achieved – for example by the Welsh Gov’t allocating a more generous initial budget or by the Betsi ‘weaning themselves’ off wasteful practices such as the use of ‘highly expensive agency workers’. The Post mentions that for two years of the overspend, the Betsi was in special measures after being placed in there by former Health Minister Mark Drakeford and that the financial problems have been managed through the NHS escalation framework, which brings the Welsh Gov’t, the Auditor General and Health Inspectorate Wales together to manage the solution. The present Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has stated that ‘cash support’ will continue to be provided when required to all Health Boards to enable them to meet normal cash commitments including payroll expenditure and that cash assistance is repayable in future financial years when appropriate. A Betsi spokeswoman has been quoted as saying that the Board need to improve their quality and performance whilst safely reducing operating costs and that their Action Plan for 2017/18 starts to address this.

There is much to comment upon here. First, one wonders why Janet Finch-Saunders, as a fully paid up member of the fiscal responsibility party, is urging the Welsh Gov’t to throw even more money in the direction of this Board of fools and fuckwits. It is a Board dominated by the likes of Dr Peter Higson, Martin Jones, Grace Lewis-Parry, Lyn Meadows et al who have for years stuffed up big time in every role to which they have been appointed. None of them should have been allowed near this Health Board and things are not going to improve until they are removed, it is as simple as that. The reason that the Betsi is spending so much on agency staff is principally because no-one will work for them so dire is their reputation, but also because the Top Doctors and Angels who staff the nation’s NHS are fully aware that they can earn more by working for an agency than by conventional employment and that is why a lot of them choose to do so. It is a well-established scam that has been growing and growing for years and no-one has sought to address it – indeed before it was quite such a popular scam elsewhere, it was known to be a substantial problem in the North West Wales NHS Trust when one Martin Jones was the CEO. Can anyone spot a theme here? Of course the reason why honest capable staff won’t work for the Betsi is that they don’t want to work for a dysfunctional organisation rife with bad or frankly dangerous practices. Had politicians like Janet been honest about these practices which have been in place for many years now, bad practice could have been stopped and the Betsi would not now be comatose on the floor. But Janet and nearly everybody else said nothing at all – indeed Janet herself was even telling mental health charities not to send dissatisfied patients to her because she didn’t want to deal with their cases. So as usual too many people stood with the Top Doctors and Angels and ignored the terrifying mortality rates. But Janet is not the only one mentioned above who has added to the problems of the NHS in north Wales by colluding with abusive, lethal practitioners. Mark Drakeford knew damn well how dreadful things were, both throughout the years when he was special advisor to Rhodri Morgan and until he was finally forced to put the Betsi in special measures when Tawel Fan blew up in his face. But then this former social worker had received a long training in turning a blind eye to abuse and malpractice and instead sat around a table talking to the unions who were protecting their own members rather than the people who some of those members were harming (see post ‘News Round Up, June 11 2017’). As for the NHS escalation framework that is ‘managing the situation’, the troika of the Welsh Gov’t, Auditor General and Health Inspectorate Wales – the Welsh Gov’t no longer knows what to do in the face of this disaster (my co-researcher has suggested that someone just appoints the Chuckle Brothers in the place of the Betsi Board) and HIW ignored the slaughter and mayhem in the north Wales NHS for years (of course it did, it’s CEO was Peter Higson, who’d previously overseen the horror story that was the North Wales Hospital – Higson is now of course Chair of the Betsi). What about the Auditor General, Huw Vaughan Thomas? Well he featured in my post ‘I Know Nuzzing…’. He was Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council whilst their social services had been infiltrated by a paedophile gang and prior to that he had been Chief Exec of Denbighshire – whose social services had also been infiltrated by the paedophile gang! I’m sure that he’ll do a brilliant job of sorting it all out.

Vaughan mentioned that Health Boards will continue to receive extra cash, although he did make mention of the cash being repayable in certain circumstances. In other words, whoever finally takes over at the Betsi once Higson et al just HAVE to be removed will then be left to clear up the mess on a shoestring after Higson, Grace and Martin have broken the bank. Does Vaughan think that he’ll receive many applications for future ‘leadership roles’ at the Betsi? As for his generous offer to carry on bailing out Health Boards across Wales, let us look at how some of that tax-payers cash was spent by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

In 2009 Cardiff and Vale employed a gynaecologist called Dr Anthony Madu and paid him nearly £100k pa (the Betsi pay Martin Jones and Grace even more). Anthony Madu has just been sent to prison for two years, after failing to repay the NHS over £70k as ordered by a previous court – £70k that he defrauded them out of, by continuing to work as a locum whilst he was initially suspended and then on extended sick leave for ‘stress’. Whilst receiving sick pay from Cardiff and Vale, Madu worked at Middlesborough’s James Cook University Hospital, Sandwell General Hospital Birmingham, Scarborough General Hospital and the Royal Oldham General Hospital, Greater Manchester. I have a friend who lives in Scarborough who tells me that Scarborough Hospital has a similar reputation to the hospitals in north Wales and thus good doctors won’t work there. I suspect that the other hospitals that Madu moonlighted at will also have had similar problems. Madu had actually been found guilty of fraud in 2014 but had been spared jail on condition that he repaid the £70k. He appealed against the decision, lost but failed to repay the money anyway, hence the prison sentence. Although he was only ordered to repay £70k, the cost to the hospitals was calculated to have been £240k and he transferred £95k to a Nigerian bank account in an attempt to cover his tracks. So Madu was being treated pretty leniently. Yet there had been problems before he started fiddling – in 2009 he was suspended by Cardiff and Vale as a result of allegations relating to his conduct towards other staff and allegations that he’d falsified his post-graduate training record. And it seems that the GMC knew all about him! They had investigated him and placed restrictions on his practice – which he ignored. He also failed to co-operate with investigations. But no, they didn’t strike him off, so he just turned up at other hospitals in England. But Madu had been in trouble before he ever arrived at Cardiff and Vale. He had previously worked at the Royal Bolton Hospital and had mismanaged a labour so badly that the baby died. Weeks later Madu was employed by Cardiff and Vale. The inquest on the baby wasn’t held until 2012, but when it was held the coroner denounced Madu as an ‘unimpressive witness…largely unreliable’. No charges were brought against Madu, although the Royal Bolton did apologise to the baby’s parents.

At the conclusion of Madu’s previous trial, Judge David Wynn Morgan praised Cardiff and Vale for taking action against Madu when they caught him fiddling and stated that ‘it may be that tragedy was avoided by the timely actions of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’. Tragedy wasn’t avoided – a baby had already died, but not at Cardiff and Vale. No doubt had Madu caused any tragedies at Cardiff and Vale no-one would have been told anyway. Had Cardiff and Vale been told about the dead baby at Bolton when they employed Madu? If so, why did they employ him? Did they know about his run-ins with the GMC? If they didn’t know about any of this, why didn’t they? Who supplied Madu with references, either for Cardiff and Vale or any of his other jobs? Is there going to be an investigation into any of this or indeed into the GMC failing to stop him? I very much doubt it. Madu was known to be a problem at the Royal Bolton and they did what is always done with problematic doctors – they passed him onto someone else.

I can only compare the case of Madu, who had killed a baby and then swindled again and again yet was given chance after chance, with that of Dr Sian Caiach. Sian was a surgeon working in Wales who in about 2000 discovered two of her colleagues perpetuating a fraud by using NHS facilities to treat private patients without declaring it. Sian reported them to the Wales Audit Office. The WAO investigated and found that the fraud reported by Sian had indeed been committed. Those doctors were not dismissed. Nonetheless, Sian was suspended, sacked and eventually prevented from practicing by the GMC. At one point the rationale for stopping her working was that she would damage the ‘mental health’ of her colleagues. Presumably they might feel a bit anxious lest she discover what they were up to. Years later Sian was permitted to practice again after being subjected to the most offensive comments from the GMC – but only under very restricted circumstances. Honest whistleblowing surgeon with a commitment to the NHS? Christ we hadn’t better let her loose. It seems that Sian is too honest for party politics as well – her name was on the Plaid candidate list but was removed. Yet numerous members, councillors and politicians of that party were involved in colluding with the abuses in the mental health services and children’s homes in north Wales.

I mentioned earlier that a Betsi spokeswoman had stated that they needed to improve their quality and their performance. So how are they doing? Well, according to the BBC News Wales site, it’s business as usual. A 75 year old lady was admitted to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and died shortly after, having experienced the sort of dreadful care of the elderly that Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is well-known for. The old lady suffered from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and was admitted to Ysbyty Glan Clywd in Nov 2015 after a fall at home causing her to break her femur. She was given surgery and transferred to the HDU (High Dependency Unit). The trouble occurred when she was then transferred to an orthopaedic ward. Her family raised concerns when they discovered her sitting in her own faeces and after they had to visit her out of hours to give her food and drink because this wasn’t being done by the staff. The old lady’s son was told by a nurse that she had been ‘spoiled’ on the HDU (where presumably the staff actually did what they were paid to do). The old lady then developed pneumonia and died. At the inquest the conclusion was recorded as accidental death with the fall as a contributing factor. Which would seem to be a complete lie. The old lady’s family took their complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales who upheld their complaint, stating that there had been inappropriate communication, inadequate nursing care and that the elderly lady had been admitted to an inappropriate ward. To show how seriously that the Ombudsman took the matter of an old lady being left sitting in her own crap whilst being given no food or drink, subjected to non-existent ‘nursing care’ – whilst her family were insulted by the staff – and then dying, he awarded the old lady’s family the grand total of £250. Martin Jones spends about that on a pair of his infamous cufflinks. As always though, the learning has been embedded and the service users empowered. The Betsi has stated that it has tackled the problem by appointing doctors from a range of backgrounds to support geriatric patients on orthopaedic wards, with a consultant to lead the service. Which seems to be missing the point – in this case it was the Angels who had disgraced themselves rather than the Top Doctors. Furthermore, ‘staff have received training in dignity and respect for patients’. Should this have been needed? If I were looking after a bed-ridden friend or relative even I would not leave them sitting in turds. But then I’m not an Angel.

As with Huw Vaughan Thomas, Mark Drakeford, HIW et al, there is a legacy involved with the problem that this old lady encountered. Elderly care at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has been absolutely dreadful for many, many years as detailed in my post ‘How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?’. Staff ensured that their own families did not end up there and some ten years ago a retired Professor from Bangor University, Clare Wenger, was so appalled by what she witnessed as a patient there that she compiled a dossier and sent it to over 100 people. Clare Wenger’s specialism was in old age care and she had led a major 20 year study into this which was funded by the Department of Health. Notwithstanding all this, Clare Wenger was denounced as a stuck up old cow who expected special treatment. The elderly continued to be neglected and abused and throughout it all the former CEO of the Trust that ran Ysbyty Glan Clwyd before the Betsi was created, Gren Kershaw, was awarded the accolade of Best Chief Executive in the UK by ‘Nursing Times’. Kershaw has now retired and works as a ‘management consultant’. And the elderly are still neglected and abused by the staff who voted for him to be given an award by ‘Nursing Times’.

Now another story from the Daily Post online, combining two common themes of this blog, politics and the Betsi. It has been announced that Plaid and the Tories have gone into coalition to run Conwy Council. So the Counci leader is now Gareth Jones and his Deputy is Cheryl Carlisle. Gareth is a Plaid Councillor and is the former AM for Aberconwy. Many years before that Gareth was a member of a panel that conducted one of the numerous investigations that was held into the sexual abuse of children in care in Clwyd. So Gareth knew that there was a serious problem – but like so many people he’s remained silent for years. However he has announced that the new Cabinet is an ‘open administration based on inclusiveness and transparency’. If Gareth is now going all inclusive and transparent it’ll be a first for him. As for Cheryl – well she’s a Conservative and is a member of the Betsi Board! Cheryl now holds the Cabinet portfolio for ‘children, family and safeguarding’. We should just be thankful that it’s not Gareth overseeing those particular matters. The Plaid group in Conwy seem to have done something odd. There had been a previous agreement for Plaid, Labour and the Independent Group to work together, but this backfired when much of the Plaid Group voted for Gareth Jones in the leadership election. What can be going on? But then something else peculiar happened this week involving Plaid. Dr Eurfyl ap Gwilym, a policy advisor for Plaid, publicly announced that they would be willing to support the Tories on ‘some matters’. Now some people are saying that they have no problem with that if it benefits Wales, but Leanne Wood – Plaid’s leader – and many of her colleagues, loathe everything about the Tories and have made ‘no deals with Tories under any conditions ever’ a central theme within Plaid. How does Leanne feel about her colleagues snuggling up to the Tories? Plaid are really proud of Eurfyl ap Gwilym because he famously floored Paxman on ‘Newsnight’ a few years ago. However, he does sometimes take surprising stances. I was at a conference where he spoke some years ago and he provided a devastating critique of Blair’s H.E. policy. I much appreciated this, because Blair imposed an ill thought out policy on UK universities which was never going to work with the staffing and funding available and it did very great damage, resulting in, among other things, a vicious snobbery between different universities. But Eurfyl seemed to be firing his ammo at the wrong people. After stating that he was an ‘unashamed elitist’, he went on to put the boot into graduates from less prestigious universities who had found themselves working at Tesco, saying that they didn’t deserve anything other than a job in Tesco. Those graduates were very much the victim of the problem not the cause. Most of them did not know that a degree from Glyndwr University doesn’t have the same currency as a degree from a Russell Group institution – New Labour led them to think that once one had a degree, one would waltz into a well paid professional job immediately after graduation. They were conned and it was not their fault. Furthermore, going to university on large amounts of borrowed money was sold to them on the promise of high salaries after graduation – no-one mentioned widening their horizons or gaining a liberal education or critical thinking skills, it was the mythical ‘graduate premium’ that was used as the carrot. Meanwhile the kids of Cabinet Ministers carried on applying for places at Oxbridge because their parents knew that there was a difference in status between institutions. As for deserving to work in Tescos – I’m not sure that anyone deserves the fate of that particular regime, where it’s minimum wage on the tills and insults from harried customers as well as a supervisor of questionable quality breathing down your neck. Perhaps Eurfyl would like to give it a go himself. I did try to speak to Eurfyl after his presentation when everyone started on the wine and nibbles, but he blanked me and proceeded to work his way around the room only speaking to the most important people there. People nearly as important as him.

Plaid’s cosy relationship with the Tories has echoes of the historical arrangement that this blog has revealed with regard to the child abuse in the north Wales children’s homes in the 70s, 80s and 90s. That abuse – as well as the linked abuse in the mental health services – was facilitated by many members of Plaid and their representatives, whilst certain Tory Ministers sat at the top of the tree concealing the whole mess. Meanwhile the likes of Sir Peter Morrison, Thatcher’s aide and Conservative MP for Chester, and Thomas Tyrell-Kenyon, son of Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, actually abused the children in care themselves. The state bureaucrats who grossly mismanaged the local authorities, as well as the health and care professionals, occupied various positions in the pecking order below them. Thus a whole structure was kept in place. The only people who didn’t benefit were the kids/patients – they were coerced into providing sexual services and either died, or spent a lifetime travelling in and out of places like Risley Remand Centre or the North Wales Hospital if they dared complain about what was happening to them.

Now I have arrived at one of my running themes on the blog – highly paid people who are pissing all over the rest of us whilst caring – I can report that my mates the BMA have been in the news again. Specifically the BMA GPs representatives. A Dr Sophie Quinney, representing a group called ‘Wales For GP Survival’, has been making claims that GPs are retiring early or cutting down their hours ‘to stay sane’. Which is odd, because I thought that they retired in their mid 50s because their pension pots were so big that they didn’t have to go on until they dropped. Furthermore, despite any stress that their job does involve – and if you’re a GOOD GP it is stressful – the GPs that I know who chose to work part-time were all honest enough to admit that they were so well-paid that they could just work three days a week and still live very comfortably. But members of the BMA representing GPs have been crawling out of the woodwork everywhere with their tales of woe and they all seem to be giving out the same message – that is, if the Gov’t doesn’t do what we say, we will all stop working and then what will you do? I presume that there has been a BMA conference somewhere and they all voted to take a leaf out of the book of Violet Elizabeth Bott i.e. that they would thcweam and thcweam until they were thick.

Indeed, one of those participating in the thcweaming is someone known to me, Dr Graham Thomas, who works in the Corwen Health Centre. Graham has appeared in the Daily Post online urging ‘politicians and patients to put pressure on the Betsi Board to help the practice out’. Graham is rattled because his surgery is in danger of losing it’s Rural Support Payment of £52k which it has received – presumably from the Betsi – for the last 15 years. The Post reports that this is a ‘cry from the heart’ and that Graham, as a GP, ‘speaks from experience’. Graham states that if the Betsi takes over the management of the practice – Graham is suggesting that if the Rural Support Payment is not forthcoming that is what will have to happen – patients will have longer waiting times. He makes reference to the time a few years ago when he assisted at the practice when it was managed by the Betsi and says that ‘I just knew that I was unable to give the time and attention that some of those patients required’. Now I happen to know that although he is a very capable doctor, Graham Thomas is also capable of very great deceit and like Councillor Gareth Jones mentioned earlier, Graham often keeps schtum about terrible things when he shouldn’t. I know this because I used to live in the same village as him, I was in the same hill walking club as him and I used to know him very, very well. He made quite big efforts to cultivate my company, just at the time when I had started making it known that I intended to publish my truly dreadful experiences with the mental health services. Graham knew exactly how bad those services were because he used to work at the Hergest Unit and he saw the neglect, the abuse and indeed the deaths himself. He did not raise any concerns with anyone. He still did not raise any concerns when he left the Hergest Unit and worked in the area as a GP. He still said not a word when he became a more senior GP. He knew that the Hergest was dreadful and he didn’t even bother to send his own patients there, but he did not raise a concern. Neither did he raise concerns when members of the staff at the Hergest Unit were perjuring themselves in an attempt to ensure that I ended up in prison. He knew about it, because I lived just down the lane from him at the time and he used to regularly ask me what I was going to do about the threats and harassment that I was receiving from his colleagues. Although Graham knew how bad many of the staff working in the mental health services were, he was still happy to ensure that they acquired yet another dodgy doctor. On one occasion I got into conversation with a psychiatrist in the hill walking group who had just taken a job at the medium secure unit in Llanfairfechan. I asked him why he had come to Wales and he told me that he hadn’t been able to gain employment after some unspecified hoo ha in his last job. But Dr Graham Thomas had very kindly helped him out and got him a job in north Wales! At one point some charming character threw dog turds at my house. Graham admitted that he knew who did it. I told him that I wanted to report this matter to the police – so Graham refused to reveal the identity of the culprit. He also knew that his colleagues were slandering me. I only discovered the extent of this when he asked me for advice. He had fallen out with a charity that he had been involved with – although I wasn’t ever sure of the details – but it seemed that he believed that they were accusing him of unlawful practices. He was worried that his reputation would be damaged and didn’t know what to do to challenge it. So he asked me for advice, as someone whom he knew to have been subjected to a smear campaign – by his own colleagues. The last time that Graham and his wife spoke to me was after I told them that I had finally had a bellyful of the mental health services and that I had instructed my lawyers to begin action and that I had every intention of one day publishing everything that I had witnessed. Graham and his wife Casi never spoke to me again.

I suspect that as in the case of Professor Catherine Robinson, someone else who was colluding with a great deal of wrongdoing, Graham only ever befriended me to find out what I knew about his colleagues and where or when I was going to publish and was very probably relaying everything that I told him straight back to those we know and love. Two other very odd things happened to me during the time when I was socialising with Graham and Casi. I was looking for a house to rent and I viewed one near where they lived. I told them that I had viewed it and they were very encouraging about it. So I handed over the deposit, rent etc and moved in. After a few weeks it was clear that not only did the landlady have quite serious problems herself but that there were a lot of structural problems with the house that were so bad that they constituted a health and safety risk. I mentioned them to Graham one day who, it transpired, knew all about them. He also knew that previous tenants had moved out of the house after discovering what I had discovered and had also had problems with the landlady. I didn’t remember him telling me about any of that when he encouraged me to move in. The other experience was even more weird. One day after my car broke down, Graham made a very generous offer. He had a car that he could sell me, at an incredibly low price. He said that he was more than happy to do a favour for a friend and I greatly appreciated being able to acquire the car. About a month later, I was driving the car when I was rammed from behind by a man who then became phenomenally aggressive when I asked him for his details. I persevered and eventually I extracted his name, insurance details etc from him. I discovered later that he was a retired officer from the North Wales Police – who I had begun to have quite a lot of problems with by then. In fact during the time that I lived a few doors down from Graham an awful lot of bizarre things happened to me, usually at the hands of people who I then discovered were friendly with Graham and Casi. After I left the village, I found out that Graham and Casi had over the past few years been asked to leave numerous chapels, community organisations and charities. Like me, a lot of people had some very odd experiences with them. I’m glad to hear that it’s onward and upward for them though – Casi is now aiming for ordination in the Church In Wales! And Graham obviously is going to thcweam and thweam until he’s sick. At the time that he was so keen to discover what action I was planning to take against his negligent, abusive, criminal colleagues, Graham was the BMA’s representative for the GPs group in north Wales.

Graham has already recruited one politician to his cause. Llyr Huws Grufydd has publicised Graham’s demand for £50k as a ‘cry for help from a busy rural GP practice’. But then Llyr described Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s ‘nursing home’ Ty Gwyn as a ‘beacon of excellence’, as it imploded after the population gradually realised what a scam it was. Llyr is a Plaid AM for north Wales. Unless he’s joined the Tories by now.

The Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu was alleged to have said that ‘if you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by’. As far as I can see if you watch the north Wales media for long enough the names of the people involved in the most dreadful abuses of their positions will float by.

 

 

 

I Know Nuzzing…

My post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’ described how the Jillings Report was commissioned in 1994 to investigate the extent of child abuse in children’s homes managed by Clwyd County Council. Jillings uncovered such horrors that Municipal Mutual, the Council’s insurers, refused to allow the Report to be made public. It was only in 2013 that the Jillings Report was released after constant allegations that the subsequent Waterhouse Inquiry had been a cover up – although even then the Jillings Report was heavily redacted. Following Jillings, there was huge pressure for a public enquiry into events in children’s homes in north Wales as allegations of a paedophile ring involving senior public figures and police officers swirled. A number of people employed in children’s homes in north Wales had been imprisoned for offences against children and many former residents of children’s homes in north Wales had been found dead. By this time the Secretary of State for Wales was William Hague. Hague initially held out against holding a public inquiry but then buckled. In 1996 he announced that Sir Ronald Waterhouse, a judge who had just retired, would be Chairing a public inquiry into the abuse of children in the care of Clwyd and Gwynedd County Councils between 1974 and 1996. The Waterhouse Report, ‘Lost In Care’, written as a result of this Inquiry, was published in February 2000. Like Jillings, it’s findings were damning, revealing widespread abuse of children in care in north Wales. However, as soon as the Waterhouse Report was published, there were angry allegations that there had been a substantial cover-up at a very high level. Waterhouse concluded that a paedophile ring had been in operation in north Wales, but he was perceived to have ‘blamed’ everything on a few bottom feeding social care workers, rather than investigate the possibility that a number of much grander people might have been fully involved. (When one examines the background of Sir Ronald Waterhouse, it is easy to see why he would be in an excellent position and indeed be motivated to lead such a cover-up. A future blog post will be exploring the backgrounds and networks of some of the lawyers and judges named on this blog, including Ronald Waterhouse.) The Waterhouse Report is enormous and I’ve never read it from cover to cover, but I have read big chunks of it and I have been refreshing my memory over the past few days. What strikes me upon reading it is that Waterhouse managed to frequently avoid blaming the bottom feeders as well -the abuse of children was undoubtedly far worse and far more extensive than Waterhouse admitted. He seems to have disregarded huge amounts of evidence of extensive brutality and wrongdoing – this man was a JUDGE, some of what he brushed to one side or chose not to comment on was extraordinary. I will give examples later on in this post.

Waterhouse supplied details of the management structures and the backgrounds of the senior managers and managers of Gwynedd and Clwyd Councils after taking evidence from numerous witnesses. Everybody involved claimed to have no knowledge of the extensive abuse of children. It is always said of north Wales that everybody knows everybody else’s business and to a large extent that’s a fairly accurate caricature. This seems to be one reason why the idea that the arson campaign against second homes in the 70s and 80s was the work of the security services acting as agent provocateurs caught on – I was told by a number of people rooted locally that ‘no-one can do anything in north Wales without everyone knowing, but no-one knows anyone who knows anything about the fires, it is definitely not one of us doing it’. Regarding the abuse of children though, people most certainly did know that it was happening – they just weren’t openly admitting it. It was a classic case of the social anthropologist Isabel Emmett’s notion of ‘not knowing’ (please see post ‘How No-One Knew About Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’). In the same way that everybody knew that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was sexually exploiting patients, people knew that those kids were being abused. I got wind of it as a first year undergrad at Bangor University – I had no family from the region, I knew nothing about north Wales until I went to university there, but I soon found out that all was not well with the disadvantaged kids. I didn’t hear about a paedophile ring, but then laypeople didn’t tend to be obsessed with paedophiles in the early 1980s – but I did hear about ‘cruelty’. I heard more and more about it as time went by – at one point I lodged with a man who had grown up in care and I heard it from him and his girlfriend. Then I shared a house with some other young people, one of whom was a young man who’d grown up on a farm on the Llyn Peninsula. His mum had been a foster parent and the whole extended family were appalled at the lack of care and the degree of callousness shown by social workers towards the children in their care. This particular family were vey keen to care for their foster children well, but they observed that there was no help or interest from social workers at all and that they could have done pretty much anything to those kids and no-one would have asked any questions. They also told me that on the 16th birthday of the children the social workers would announce that the kids were no longer their responsibility and that was that, they wanted to hear no more about them. This particular family continued to support their foster children without the ‘input’ of the social services after they were 16. (Interestingly enough one thing that was admitted in both the Jillings and Waterhouse Reports was that ‘aftercare’ for children in care was appalling.) When I entered the mental health system I encountered many people who had grown up in ‘care’ and it was very clear that something was terribly wrong – of course the mental health services were key figures in concealing the paedophile ring, as detailed in previous posts. So if an 18 year old undergrad newly arrived in north Wales heard a few worrying things I think it highly unlikely that the managers of those ‘services’ did not know what was going on. To illustrate this further and explore how so many people were able to maintain that they ‘didn’t know’, let’s take a look at the management of Gwynedd Social Services and what they said, based on the information supplied in the Waterhouse Report – as well what I saw and heard when I lived in Gwynedd. (I’ll explore the situation in Clwyd in another post.)

Waterhouse looked at the scene from 1974 onwards, although the Jillings Report noted that they suspected that the serious abuse of children had been going on in north Wales for decades. My own knowledge of those involved with the children’s and mental health services and conversations with numerous people suggest that is indeed likely.

Let’s look at Gwynedd Social Services. Between April 1974 and September 1982, the Director of Gwynedd Social Services was T.E. Jones. He had previously held the same post in the old Local Authority area of Caernarvonshire, before the formation of Gwynedd County Council. T.E. Jones had grown up in Montgomeryshire, had no professional qualifications and no experience of child care work. He had been the County Welfare Officer in Merionethshire from 1952 to 1964 and the County Welfare Officer in Caernarvonshire for seven years after that. The Deputy Director until 1983 was David Alun Parry – he was then Assistant Director (Special Duties) until March 31 1987, when he took voluntary redundancy. Before Parry was Deputy Director of Gwynedd, he had spent three years as Director of Social Services for Anglesey. Between 1964 and 1971 he was Deputy Children’s Officer, then Children’s Officer, for Anglesey. Parry was an Aberystwyth graduate who had also undertaken Diplomas in Social Science and Applied Social Studies at the Universities of Swansea and Liverpool. He also held the Home Office Letter of Recognition in Child Care and had attended several management courses for senior officers at Liverpool University and in 1972, attended two short courses for Directors of Social Services at the Institute for Local Government Studies at Birmingham University. Below Jones and Parry, there were three Assistant Directors. The responsibilities for children were divided between Emyr Davies and G.H. Egerton. Elizabeth Hughes was the Homes Officer reporting to Emyr Davies. Egerton was responsible for five Area Officers under an Area Controller – the Senior Officer (Children) accountable to him from 1975 was Larry King. T.E. Jones maintained that Parry was incapable of carrying out his duties as his Deputy – Parry was therefore relieved of these duties, but kept his rank and was put in charge of the children’s section. T.E. Jones also maintained that Emyr Davies and Egerton were seriously ill, absent for a long time and had to retire. From February 1976 a new structure was imposed. A Principal Assistant Director of similar status to the Deputy Director was appointed – one Lucille Hughes, who had previously been an Assistant Director. For the benefit of new readers – Lucille was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was in operation in the social services but failed to act. She was also the mistress of the dreadful Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, who was illegally banging up people n the North Wales Hospital Denbigh who had complained about the mental health services or who had been molested ‘in care’. Lucille now had Emyr Davies (Elderly) and Egerton (Mental Health) under her and Parry had Larry King as Senior (later Principal) Officer (Children) under him. King retired in 1988. He had been in the Army, then in the police in England, transferring to the Colonial Police in Rhodesia. He had been a Housemaster at Bryn Estyn – the home in Clwyd which was one of the centres of the most serious abuse, where a number of staff were imprisoned for serious sexual offences. In 1969 King began work for Denbighshire County Council after qualifying for the Home Office Letter of Recognition in Child Care at Liverpool University. He was later a Senior Social Worker for Flintshire County Council and then moved to the Llandudno Area Office managed by Gwynedd County Council in 1974. From 1975 King was a Senior Officer in Gwynedd  – he was redesignated as Principal Officer (Children) from 1979.

Parry’s story was that the previous incorporation of Anglesey Social Services into Gwynedd was not a happy one. He maintained that working relationships were seriously impaired and claimed that the children’s section lacked resources. From July 1981, the responsibility for the children’s section was transferred to Lucille Hughes. This transfer occurred at the same time that Gwynedd County Council’s Chief Executive Ioan Bowen Rees commissioned officials from Dyfed County Council to investigate complaints made by current and former staff regarding Y Gwyngyll community home. Furthermore in 1981, Nefyn Dodd was made responsible for all the community homes in Gwynedd. Nefyn Dodd and his wife June were accused by scores of people of the most ferocious abuse and brutality towards children. Parry was an uncritical admirer of Nefyn Dodd. Elizabeth Hughes the Homes Officer was for a long while on long term sick leave, then left and was not replaced. In the face of this chaos and mismanagement, Waterhouse commented that it was ‘commendable’ that Gwynedd provided such a level of service with ‘comparatively few’ complaints of abuse. (Waterhouse doesn’t seem to have questioned the degree of fuckwittery present and there were actually numerous complaints of abuse, many ignored by Gwynedd and others brushed aside by Waterhouse himself.)

Then in 1982, Parry had a car crash and was off for a long time. When T.E. Jones retired in 1982, Lynn Ebsworth, who had been Chief Personnel Officer, became Acting Director. Parry returned as Assistant Director (Special Duties) after May 1983. In March 1987, after ‘negotiations with his professional organisation’ Parry took voluntary redundancy and received an enhanced pension. To return to Lucille who had been responsible for children since July 1981. Lucille was an English graduate from UCNW (which later became Bangor University) and also had a Certificate in Social Sciences from Liverpool University and the Home Office Letter of Recognition in Child Care. For 13 years she had worked in the children’s departments of Cheshire and Anglesey County Councils, as a Children’s Officer in both counties and then as Deputy Director in Cheshire in 1971. She was Principal Assistant Director in Gwynedd from Feb 1976 and until July 1981 her responsibilities were principally the elderly and mental health. Assisting Lucille was Owain Gethin Evans. Gethin Evans had graduated in Social Administration from Manchester University in 1968 and obtained Diplomas in Education (1970) from Cardiff University and Social Work Studies (1974) from the LSE. He had worked as a social worker in Cheshire between 1971 and 1973. After his stint at the LSE he returned to Gwynedd as a social worker and from 1975 spent three years as a community organiser. In 1978 Gethin Evans was appointed Senior Officer (General) to assist Lucille. He was then appointed Principal Officer (Children) and was Head of the Children’s Services in 1982. In 1995 he was appointed Director of Social Services for Ceredigion County Council. Evans was the de facto Head of Children’s Services in Gwynedd, except for between 1987-1992 when he was Assistant Director (Resources and Support). Evans was also a member of Dwyfor District Council between 1976-1986 and was it’s Chairman in 1983/84.

Lynn Ebsworth was Acting Director of Social Services from May 1982-Sept 1983. Lucille Hughes was appointed Director with effect from 1 Oct 1983. Ebsworth had previously been Management Services Officer to Ioan Bowen Rees the County Secretary, and Chief Personnel Officer to the newly formed Gwynedd County Council’s first Chief Executive, D. Alun Jones. Bowen Rees succeeded D. Alun Jones as Chief Exec in 1980. Ebsworth then became accountable to Bowen Rees. Ebsworth had no previous training or experience in Social Services. Under Ebsworth was Gethin Evans, responsible for the Children’s Section but with virtually no experience of children in care. Responsible to him were Nefyn Dodd and Larry King. It was Gethin Evans who oversaw Dodd being given responsibility for all of the community homes. Extraordinarily, amidst this mess, the County Council’s Chief Exec, Ioan Bowen Rees, thought that Lucille ‘performed admirably’ as Director of Social Services. That was while she knew that a paedophile ring was in operation but failed to act. I will return to Bowen Rees later.

On 2 April 1984 a new Deputy Director of Social Services was appointed, David Glanville Owen – Gethin Evans was also short-listed for the post. Glanville was from Pwhelli and had been a trainee in the Children’s Dept in the Liverpool Corporation in 1965 after graduating in economics from Liverpool University. He then acquired a Diploma in Applied Social Studies and the Home Office Letter of Recognition in Child Care from Nottingham University by 1967. He had also worked in four English Local Authorities and for the National Children Home (NCH). He had been a senior social worker to the Assistant Director at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council.

When Glanville was applying for the Gwynedd position, he was undertaking a course in Advanced Management for Local Government at Birmingham University. He was Deputy Director of Gwynedd Social Services until the local government reorganisation, then spent 18 months as Head of Policy Unit of the new Gwynedd County Council until Sept 1997, when he was made redundant.

Being made redundant didn’t end Glanville’s substantial toxic influence in Gwynedd. By 2003 Glanville was Chief Exec of Gwynedd Community Health Council – the patients watchdog! That’s how I came across him. I approached him with my very serious complaint about the Hergest Unit – this was at a time when the madness was evident with patients dying and being hauled off to prison and people writing to politicians about the brutality and the chaos – and Glanville refused to receive me, telling me that the CHC wasn’t responsible for hospitals. I found out that this was a lie, so I returned to Glanville who then lied about telling the first lie. I submitted my complaint and for many, many months Glanville and one of his ‘officers’, a lady called Hilary, went around and around in circles. My complaint was neither investigated properly or resolved and Glanville and Hilary never managed to explain why. The last time that I saw the disgusting Glanville he was attending a meeting in his capacity as a member of the North Wales CHC. So Gwynedd is not rid of him yet.

Glanville sounds as though he was his usual slippery negligent self in his evidence to Waterhouse.  He emphasised that he had never managed a community home for children or worked in one, even when he was with the NCH. As Deputy Director, he was ‘remote’ from the residential section and had not much contact with it – that was Lucille’s domain. However although Glanville claimed to know nuzzing, Waterhouse noted that almost as soon as he arrived in Gwynedd, he took up 12 points regarding the community homes in Gwynedd, including some serious allegations of staff misconduct, with Gethin Evans. Evans responded to Glanville with a memo that Waterhouse described as ‘inappropriate, complacent and discourteous’ which onbiously was ‘intended to discourage intrusion’. Glanville reorganised the Social Services Dept soon after his arrival and the responsibility for the development of Children’s Services was given to the Assistant Director, one Gethin Evans.

From 1987, the Assistant Director responsible for the Children’s Section was Rob Evans, who had been the Area Officer for Aberconwy since November 1984. Rob Evans had graduated in Social Sciences from Leicester University and obtained his CQSW in 1976. By 1984 he had acquired 10 years of management experience of social work in Northampton and Dorset and had served as a Team Manager in Dorset. In 1992, restructuring resulted in Rob Evans being appointed Assistant Director (Mental Health) – Waterhouse notes that Evans ‘left local government’ in March 1996. It was in his capacity as Assistant Director that I encountered Rob in the mid 90s. As a result of the constant aggro that I was receiving from the delightful Arfon Community Mental Health Team (please see previous posts), Rob was called in to sort it out. I had a truly bizarre meeting with him in which he made no comments about the law-breaking and perjury and constant aggression of the Arfon Team, but instead offered a discourse on ‘changing practice’ in social work. As an example he explained that when he used to take children to children’s homes he used to take their shoes away to stop them running away. He said that the children hated him for taking them to the homes but he knew that he was doing the right thing. A couple of years ago, some of the interviews that some of the former residents of north Wales children’s homes gave to the police in the criminal trials were made public. Some of the witnesses explained that they ran away after they were molested by members of the paedophile ring but someone took their shoes away after that to prevent them escaping. Many years after my own encounter with Rob, my lawyers obtained the documents that he had compiled after he had met me to discuss the Arfon Team and their activities. Rob had noted that he had met Keith Fearns, the psychopath who was the ‘leader’ of the Arfon Team and asked him what he wanted done with me. Fearns had replied ‘lock her up’. Rob had told him that wasn’t possible. Fearns had replied once more ‘lock her up’. Rob had noted that the situation was unresolvable and that he was leaving his post tomorrow anyway. Waterhouse was wrong about Rob – he didn’t leave local government in 1996. After no-one had been held to account for the rape and battery of hundreds of children over many years, Rob resurfaced again – as Head of Community Services on Anglesey! Waterhouse noted that in his evidence, Rob had told him that he wasn’t a fluent Welsh speaker and he considered that his chances of an appropriate ‘senior’ position were virtually zero. So it’s good to know that Anglesey found a home for him. The last time that I saw Rob I tried to ask him about his activities regarding Fearns many years ago. Rob told me that I was ‘arrassin’ him and if I didn’t stop he’d call the police. Rob often seemed to find himself the line manager of thugs – he was responsible for Larry King and Nefyn Dodd until his job changed and he was then overseeing dear old Fearns.

Rob had an interesting interpretation of Fearns and co’s threats, harassment and aggression though. In his evidence to Waterhouse, Rob maintained that because a Health Advisory Service Inspection in 1986 had been ‘very critical’ of mental health services in Gwynedd, Rob had made mental health a priority and the community mental health services had now been recognised as among the best in Europe! I’d love to know who ‘recognised’ them as such. The only people with knowledge of social work and mental health services in other parts of Europe that I knew who had contact with the thugs and liars that were employed by Lucille et al were a team of German social scientists who had a link with Bangor University. I worked with them myself and they were a nice lot – but they had no idea at all how patients were being treated because their contact was with the thugs and liars themselves who never fessed up that they were facilitating a paedophile ring. They just met up with the Germans for nibbles and drinks and no doubt told them that the services had been recognised as the best in Europe. But then idiots in north Wales were a bit obsessed with Europe in those days. Dr Dafydd Alun Jones kept appearing in the local press described as ‘Europe’s leading forensic psychiatrist’. He wasn’t even a forensic psychiatrist.

Larry King retired in 1988 and was replaced by Peter James Hibbs. Hibbs had grown up in Colwyn Bay and graduated in sociology from the South Bank Poly in 1973. He had been an Education Welfare Officer in ILEA (Inner London Education Authority) for four years, then completed his CQSW at UCNW (Bangor University) and also gained a Diploma in Social Studies. In Dec 1979 Hibbs joined Gwynedd as a member of the Child Care Team at the Anglesey Area Office and was promoted to senior social worker in Nov 1985. When Nefyn Dodd retired from the post of Principal Officer (Residential Services) in May 1990, Hibbs took over. Hibbs himself encountered serious personal difficulties and became ill with severe depression –  he was deemed by a Medical Officer to be unable continue working after December 1990 and formally retired in Jan 1993. However, at the time of giving evidence to Waterhouse, he had been working since November 1995 as a Senior Practitioner at the Family Centre, Rhyl, run by NCH. Hibbs stated that he used to see Rob Evans about once a week, but was ‘uncertain’ whether Rob grasped ‘child protection issues’, he was more of a ‘mental health specialist’ no less.

Hibbs had been responsible to Gethin Evans and when Hibbs retired he was replaced by Dafydd Ifans. Ifans had worked in the North Wales Probation Services for the last ten years after obtaining his CQSW at Cartrefle College as well as an OU degree. Prior to that he’d been in the Army for fifteen years after leaving school at fifteen to join as an Army apprentice. He then worked as a manager for ASDA for two years. Ifans worked in Gwynedd until 31 December 1995, when he was then appointed as Service Manager for the Children and Families Services for Conwy County Borough Council. During his nearly three years as a Principal Officer, Ifans was responsible for line managing three community homes in Gwynedd.

I have deliberately given a lot of details regarding the managers of Gwynedd Social Services to demonstrate a number of points. Firstly, the degree of conflict that obviously existed between some of them. Secondly, the number of people that were falling apart at the seams themselves – a lot of people were on long-term sick leave or being deemed incapable of fulfilling their duties. This is a key sign of an organisation in trouble but judging from the chunks of the Waterhouse Report that I’ve read so far, Waterhouse doesn’t seem to have taken on board the significance of this. One inescapable theme is how many of these people had connections with each other, or had been circulating around the system for some time. During the 80s and 90s, if one was English and living in Gwynedd, one heard constant allegations that Gwynedd County Council was a ‘closed shop’ and that ‘they only employ their friends and their relatives’. There does seem to have been an awful lot of that going on – but another allegation that English people frequently made was ‘none of them have ever been out of Gwynedd’. Judging from the previous account that is very obviously not true. They had all had stints of studying or working elsewhere – or moving on elsewhere after presiding over the horror that was Gwynedd children’s services. But as far as I can see that is simply more terrifying. That lot had a well-established network that will have been affording them protection and as I have previously argued it stretched far and wide, into England as well. A number of them had also worked in places where it is now known that there was a problem with the organised abuse of children eg. Cheshire, Leicester and inner London. Again and again I was told that the problems in north Wales re the children’s services and mental health services was ‘just north Wales’. It was not. It surfaced in north Wales and ‘outsiders’ were always suspicious and curious because they were very obviously excluded on the grounds of language and it was easy for them to conjure up spectres of cave-dwelling sheep shaggers who molest the kids and burn English peoples houses down. But the vile ones had mates next door in England and had an established network to assist them. Some of them also had connections to the police and the Army…

Among all the detail supplied in the Waterhouse Report regarding Gwynedd Social Services, there is a glaring omission. Waterhouse mentions in passing a ‘child protection officer’ who was working under Gethin Evans. In a region where children were being abused by a paedophile ring and having the living daylights battered out of them by the likes of Nefyn Dodd and were being half-starved and used as free labour by ‘foster parents’, the child protection officer would be a fairly crucial member of the team. Yet they are not named and there is no reference to their evidence in the Waterhouse Report. Were they fast asleep on the job or simply terrified? Or had someone decided that they didn’t want to hear evidence from them? Or had Waterhouse heard their evidence and decided not to mention it? There was something else that he passed by with barely a comment. When he ‘reviewed’ the evidence against Nefyn and June Dodd, as well as ignoring scores of complaints of brutality – and a few of sexual abuse – against the Dodds and the people whom they employed in the community home that they ran in Bangor, Waterhouse mentions a complaint from someone referred to as X, against the Dodds. Waterhouse acknowledges that a letter of ‘dubious authenticity’ allegedly signed by X was sent from Risley Remand Centre to Lucille Hughes expressing support for the Dodds. But Waterhouse accepted that X didn’t write this and so he disregarded it! So someone in Risley Remand Centre forged a letter from X and sent it to Lucille Hughes, supporting the Dodds, when the Dodds were under investigation for abusing children. And Waterhouse barely bats an eyelid. But then someone forged a letter from me and sent it to the GMC after I complained about Dr Tony Roberts (please see post ‘The General Medical Council And Yet Another Forged Document’). Someone forged a certificate of indictment saying that I’d been found guilty of ‘violent disorder’ at Caernarfon Crown Court when I hadn’t (please see post ‘An Update On Those Legal Conundrums’). It’s good to know that I wasn’t being singled out – forging documents is obviously an everyday pastime of health and welfare folk in the face of complaints about the health and social care services. How many more forged documents are there sitting in files in the wake of caring staff having been cleared of serious wrongdoing after the plebs of this parish dared complain about them?

And therein lies the key. For the most part, the people on the receiving end of this bunch of scumbags were indeed the plebs. They were people with long-term mental health problems, drug/alcohol problems, kids in care, various dispossessed or disadvantaged people. They also often had criminal records, because as I have detailed previously on this blog, if you complained about that bunch of bastards they stitched you up for crimes that everyone knew that you hadn’t done so they could then dismiss your complaints as coming from a ‘criminal’ and therefore not to be believed. Because I constantly had the most dreadful encounters with the ‘services’ and then more dreadful encounters with officious lying shits like Glanville Owen when I tried to raise concerns about them, for many years I gained the impression that Gwynedd and Clwyd Councils must be run by daft old buggers who had worked their way up from jobs as admin assistants when they were 16 and who did not know their arses from their elbows. Some people did equate to this stereotype – namely Alun Davies, the manager of the Hergest Unit, who could hardly string a coherent sentence together – but let’s have a look at those at the very top of the tree in Gwynedd County Council, the successive Chief Executives who oversaw this horror. So how dim and uninformed were they?

The Chief Execs of Gwynedd County Council for the period of time reviewed by Waterhouse were: David Alun Jones, 1974-1980; Ioan Bowen Rees, 1980-1991; Huw Vaughan Thomas, 1991-1996.

David Alun Jones was a solicitor, the Deputy Clerk (1952-1961), then Clerk of Denbighshire County Council for 13 years. He read law at Aberystwyth University, then held posts as a solicitor in Ilford, Southampton, Berkshire and Surrey before Denbighshire. After his stint as Chief Exec at Gwynedd, he was the Commissioner for Local Administration in Wales for the next five years until his retirement in 1985. His evidence to the Waterhouse Tribunal revolved around the theme of how financially poor the area of Gwynedd was. It was stated that T.E. Jones, the Director of Social Services, didn’t discuss problems regarding children or the community homes with Alun Jones and Waterhouse stated that he had no reason to think that Alun Jones was aware of the complaints. Alun Jones was consulted by the Director of Social Services regarding the alleged failings of Parry, the Deputy Director of Social Services, in approx. 1974. Alun Jones thought that Parry’s services should be dispensed with, but the Chairman of the Social Services Committee, formerly of Anglesey County Council (I presume this will have been Councillor Eric Davies) thought that Parry should be given responsibility for children’s services and this was the view that prevailed. So they handed children’s services over to a man whom they seemed to be in dispute with and whom they maintained could not do his job. Did Alun Jones not think this was a little high risk? Alun Jones was a lawyer – presumably not completely stupid. But look at his background – all those years as a legal advisor to Denbighshire County Council. The North Wales Hospital was on his patch – he was there whilst Gwynne the lobotomist and Dafydd were in action. He will have known about the problems out there and what was alleged to have been happening. I note that Alun Jones read law at Aber – it has always been maintained that one factor preventing the true extent of the child abuse in north Wales becoming public was rampant corruption among lawyers in the region. A previous post of mine looking at corruption in the region noted how many people who had been implicated were law graduates from Aber (see post ‘Updates, Common Themes And News, May 5 2017’).

Ioan Bowen Rees was Chief Exec for much of the time under review by Waterhouse, ie. 1980-1991. It was during this time that the complaints and allegations of child abuse came thick and fast, when Alison Taylor the social worker who blew the whistle on it all first raised concerns within the social services and, when she was dismissed in the wake of doing so, went very public indeed, contacting the media as well as Ministers, including Margaret Thatcher. So one would have that Ioan might have noticed that something was amiss. Ioan was a from a local family and had grown up in Dolgellau. His father was a teacher there and his mother had been one of the first women graduates from UCNW (Bangor University). Ioan went to school in Dolgellau and won a scholarship to Oxford to read modern history. So not only did he know the area but he was no fool. He decided to become a solicitor and did his articles with – the Clerk of Denbighshire County Council! Well where else? Waterhouse states that Ioan Bowen Rees was admitted as a solicitor in 1956 – so one presumes that he was doing his articles when his predecessor as Chief Exec Alun Jones worked as the Deputy Clerk of Denbighshire County Council. Bowen Rees then served in local government in Lancashire, Cardiff and Pembrokeshire, as Deputy Clerk to the County Council. Waterhouse mentions that Bowen Rees was ‘well-known’ outside Gwynedd. He certainly was. Bowen Rees died some years ago and his obituaries tell us a lot about him. He stood for election as a Plaid candidate in Conway in 1955 and 1959 and in Methyr Tydfil in 1964. Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was involved in Plaid during those years and stood for election for Denbigh in 1959 and 1964. Another reason why Bowen Rees will have known Dafydd then. That’s the Dafydd whose mistress was Lucille Hughes. The Dafydd who illegally banged people up in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh if they complained about the childrens services or the mental health services. In 1973, Bowen Rees became the County Secretary of the newly formed Dyfed County Council. Bowen Rees was considered something of an authority on local government and won the Haldane Medal from the Royal Institution for Public Administration for his 1971 publication ‘Government By Community’, which was described by Max Beloff as ‘essential reading’. This is the Conservative peer Max Beloff, the father of Michael Beloff QC. Michael Beloff was the lawyer who advised Municipal Mutual, Clwyd County Council’s insurers, to suppress the Jillings Report! Bowen Rees was awarded an honorary LLD by the University of Wales in 1997. He was a member of the Gorsedd of the Bards – as was Dafydd and so many others mentioned in previous blog posts. He advised the Association of County Councils and was Chair of the Society of Local Chief Executives. He was described by the TLS as ‘one of the old breed of highly educated, civilised public servants’. My co-researcher made the following observation of Bowen Rees – ‘Oxford, Plaid, Gorsedd, Gwynedd County Council – he’s got a full house’. Bingo indeed.

In his evidence to Waterhouse, Bowen Rees stated that there was a ‘difficulty’ because Gwynedd Council had no overall leader and that the financial situation through the 1980s left one with a feeling of ‘helplessness’. It was stated that Bowen Rees was more ‘interventionist’ in the Social Services than his predecessor. He was told of complaints and he therefore ordered an enquiry and a report to be conducted by officers of Dyfed County Council – whom he will have known well because he had previously been County Secretary of Dyfed. It was during Bowen Rees’s time as Chief Exec that Gwynedd saw many children in their care ‘boarded out’ (often, it was alleged, to the care of very unsuitable people). Gwynedd had the highest proportion of children boarded out in Wales and the second highest proportion in Great Britain. But Bowen Rees explained to Waterhouse that it saved the Council a great deal of money. Bowen Rees had taken a particular interest in the complaints of Alison Taylor. He told Waterhouse that he had ‘very little recollection of events surrounding the police investigation’ (thank goodness his memory didn’t let him down like that at Oxford or when he was winning medals, it just went a bit flaky when his Council was investigated by the police in the wake of allegations of a paedophile ring), but he knew that he’d asked Lucille to get in touch with him when investigation was over.(Nuffin’ to do with me Guv, I’m only the Chief Exec.) Luciile was described as being ‘over the moon’ when she told him that the police would not be taking proceedings against anyone and that there was ‘no substance’ to the allegations of abuse. Bowen Rees was satisfied that no disciplinary proceedings would have to be taken against any Council officers without talking to Lucille, because he’d talked to senior police officers. (Regular readers will remember that among the allegations of child abuse in north Wales were those that police were involved. A former senior police officer from the North Wales Police, Gordon Anglesea, was last year imprisoned for molesting children in care in north Wales.) Bowen Rees told Waterhouse that he had not been aware of Nefyn Dodd’s dual role in the management of children’s services and had been told that Alison Taylor was ‘worse than a troublemaker’. He thought that poor old Lucille had been ‘unfortunate’ in her Chairman of the Social Services Committee in the 1980s, as he was ‘wilful’ and tolerated only because of his war record. Which is quite a surprising thing for Bowen Rees to have said really, because the rest of us are of the opinion that Eric Davies did Lucille some pretty big favours – he spat poison in the direction of Alison Taylor, carried out a character assassination of her and ensured that she was sacked after she blew the whistle on child abuse in Gwynedd.

Even just the information supplied above suggests that Bowen Rees knew that there was cause for concern in the children’s services which he was paid to run. But there’s another reason why Bowen Rees would have known about the misery and suffering that his children’s services inflicted upon local people as those services worked hand in hand with his mental health services. Because he lived in a hill village near Bethesda where an awful lot of the casualties of Lucille and Dafydd resided. I know because I too lived there for years. At the same time as Bowen Rees. I and the others who had been shafted by Bowen Rees’s ‘services’ mostly lived in the main part of the village, comprised of 19th century quarrymans cottages. Bowen Rees lived near us – but not in our terraces. No, Bowen Rees resided in splendour in an enormous house shielded from our view by beech trees, down a long lane. (However, his widow does now live in the village square, but in one of the most desirable houses there.) Bowen Rees was described by his mates Jim Perrin and Meic Stephens in their obituaries of him as a ‘leftwing nationalist’, an ‘internationalist’, ‘with a philosophy of localism’, who believed in ‘the centrality of [the citizens] voice in determining policies’ and whose observations on mountaineering – which Bowen Rees enjoyed – included that ‘the early mountaineers didn’t concern themselves with the activity of a lower class’. Jim Perrin stated that Bowen Rees ‘firmy identified with that lower class’. That’s funny Jim, because I got the distinct impression that he didn’t give a fuck about them. Except perhaps at election time. I was amused to see in one of Ioan’s obituaries the comment that he ‘enjoyed the close community spirit’ of the village where we all lived. Wondering if I’d somehow missed all the occasions on which Ioan hung out in the village pub or in the canolfan or purchased his stamps from the Post Office, yesterday I rang one of my former neighbours to ask her if she ever remembered socialising with Ioan. Now this was not a neighbour who was one of the dispossessed being screwed over by Ioan and his staff. This is someone who is a retired teacher, whose husband is a retired teacher (and he graduated with a First as well), who have lived in that village for decades, who both learnt Welsh to a very high standard, who do know quite a few public figures and who are acquainted with pretty much everyone around. She replied that she knew OF the Bowen Rees’s and his wife ‘is very pleasant but they are a bit above and beyond the reach of the rest of us’. The man of the common people! Bowen Rees’s obituaries also stated that when he was young, he was regularly consulted by Gwynfor Evans, the President of Plaid (I think that he also co-authored with Gwynfor Evans) and was subsequently consulted by Dafydd Wigley, the MP for Caernarfon. Who definitely knew about the havoc in the mental health services because I wrote to him about it – and I can’t really believe that he didn’t ever hear about what Lucille and co were up to either.

I’ll outline a few things that were going on in the village where Bowen Rees actually lived. There was a severely mentally ill homeless man who for some months literally lived on the playing field, completely psychotic, whilst his neighbours begged for help from the mental health services to no avail. There was another severely mentally ill man who was living in a derelict schoolhouse with an open fire inside and about nine dogs – both the police and his neigbours begged the Arfon Mental Health Team to assist him. They didn’t. This went on for many months until a relative of his was traced and she arranged for a religious order to look after him in another region. One of my neighbours up there was a young man who whose mother had killed herself when he was a child – he used to scavenge in bins for food and by the time that he was a teenager he had developed a drink problem and mental health problems. He was violent and a nuisance when he was pissed but to be fair to him, he went down to the GPs surgery in Bethesda for help with his ‘nerves’. No help was forthcoming from the GPs let alone the mental health team. There was a whole family of adults who had been on the receiving end of such serious sexual and physical abuse whilst they were children that one of them was an elective mute and another one was in the ‘care’ of the mental health services – he became destitute when the day centre at the Hergest Unit was shut down, on the orders of the Arfon Team. There was a single parent who was such a hopeless drunk that her 10 year old daughter was looking after her, the house and her younger brother – who was displaying sexually abusive behaviour himself after being exposed to sexual activity from his father. There were also the people whom I discussed in my post ‘It’s All About Protecting Children’ – in which two fathers were denied access to their own children by Gwynedd Social Services and one of those children was instead handed over to people with a known record of abusing children themselves. There was the family who had been swindled out of their inheritance and left to rot by a number of crooked lawyers and doctors, who were also refused help from the Arfon Team (please see post ‘A Trade In People – Between London and North Wales’). There were two other men displaying what a social worker (well one who knew what they were doing) would describe as sexually inappropriate behaviour who had been in the ‘care’ of Gwynedd Social Services as children. There was another family whose daughter had been removed from them and had been handed over to Gwynedd Social Services for her ‘protection’ who was wrecked after her encounters with the children’s and mental health services. There was also a little girl being fostered at weekends to give her mother who lived in the neighbouring village ‘respite’. That little girl’s mother had held Alun Davies the manager of the Hergest Unit hostage at knife point in her house and he had to be freed in a police operation. No charges were ever brought against her because Davies had unlawfully accessed her medical records, removed them from the hospital and gone out to see her without anyone’s permission or indeed even telling anyone. He would have been in much trouble himself if anyone had discovered what he had done, therefore his ordeal as a hostage was ignored.

What a record of achievement! Give that man another medal. Bowen Rees drove past these people on his way to work every day – whilst they waited for the bus. Lest any readers think that poor old Bowen Rees just wasn’t mixing in the right circles to hear the accounts of the ‘service users’, there were some people in that village who had worked in his children’s homes and left, appalled at the abuse that they witnessed. I knew three of these people – they all told me that they had witnessed young people being abused. They didn’t witness sexual abuse but they witnessed physical abuse and one of them described Nefyn Dodd to me as a ‘total fascist’. The other two people had worked in the home where Alison Taylor had initially reported abuse and told me that as well as being on the receiving end of ‘cruelty’, the teenaged boys in the home were being forced to work for no pay in the black economy. They boys expressed fear of physical violence from social workers if they refused this work.

But something else was happenining in that village as Ioan Bowen Rees managed to not see what was happening on his doorstep. Something that he most certainly knew about. Lucille Hughes’s henchmen from the Arfon Team were perjuring themselves in Chester Crown Court in an attempt to have me imprisoned. They were being coached and advised in this by Lucille, Hywel Ellis Hughes the County Secretary and Solicitor, and Ron Evans, his sidekick. I have the documents to prove it and described it in detail in my post ‘Some Big Legal Names Enter The Arena’. Ioan will have known about all that because Gwynedd County Council were spending a fortune trying to have me (and a few other patients) imprisoned and he will have had to sign something off. I bet he knew my address as well, because I was being served with Court documents at home. So Ioan knew that I was a neighbour! Where was his much boasted about community spirit? Oh – the other thing that happened whilst I lived in the same village as Ioan was that someone tried to set fire to my house. Twice. Another memorable feature of the village was the phone box. Ioan won’t have used it because he’ll have had a landline and a mobile as well, but a lot of people in that village didn’t have a phone so there was often a queue at that phone box. That phone box lives on in my memory for one reason – it was the phone box that was used by a mental health patient who lived in that village who repeatedly rang Crimestoppers and reported the law-breaking and abuse of named staff of the mental health services and the thugs that they were using to distribute drugs and intimidate patients who complained. There wasn’t an investigation. Ioan probably had a few words with his friends in the police again like he did after Alison Taylor blew the whistle.

Ioan will not have been able to have missed the reality of the lives of the people in that village no matter how fast he drove past them. Because his own son went to school with some of those kids who had been so badly neglected and abused. Ioan’s son went to Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen and is now famous – he is Gruff Rhys from the rock band the Superfurry Animals. He and his mates used to practice their music in the hall at the end of the terrace where I used to live. Ioan was known to be passionate about the Welsh language and is on record as saying that we speak Welsh ‘for the sake of our children’. I’m all for bilingual children as well, but whilst Ioan’s son was learning Welsh and becoming a rock star there were a number of other children who were being beaten, buggered and raped in the ‘service’ for which Ioan was paid handsomely to provide.

Ioan’s glorious career didn’t stop after he stood down from the Chief Exec’s role after the police investigation which exonerated the whole bloody lot of them. No, Ioan was a passionate believer in devolution and was a member of the working party that advised Ron Davies the Secretary of State for Wales regarding the creation of the National Assembly of Wales. Who knows, Ioan would probably have gone on to become President of the World, but he died (Waterhouse observed that he was very sad about this) in 1999. Months before the publication of the Waterhouse Report. So if any lesser gifted and less well-connected creatures than Ioan feared that Waterhouse was actually going to admit the enormity of what had gone on and that Ioan would get himself out of the ordure by landing them right in it, they need not have worried. Ioans’s memories have been taken to the grave with him.

The Story of Ioan reminds me very much of the work of the Welsh Labour historians who were busy in the 1970s and 80s. They pissed a lot of people off because they maintained that the exploitation of the Welsh labourers in the quarries and other industries involved an enormous degree of collusion from the Welsh middle classes who also exploited the labourers and did very well for themselves out of this, but who had successfully rewritten their part in history and framed themselves as defenders of language and nation. I think it was in Jim Perrin’s obituary of Ioan Bowen Rees that there was a reference to the refreshing Ioan in contrast to the English bourgeoisie who colonised the land conservation societies… the noble Ioan who lived in his Plas shielded by beech trees so as to avoid the prying eyes of the people whom he was shafting whilst they lived in poverty…

After the People’s Champ and Defender of the Nation left his post as Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council, Huw Vaughan Thomas took over. Huw was originally from mid-Glamorgan, read modern history at Durham University, acquired a Masters in Administrative Sciences from City University and entered the civil service. He worked in the Department of Employment and bodies associated with it and was the Private Secretary to two Ministers of Employment. He then lead the Manpower Services Commission’s employment rehabilitation programme for disabled people. In May 1988 he moved to Wales as Director of Training Agency, Wales. He was Chief Executive of Denbighshire County Council for six years – of course he was, it seems obligatory to do a stint with them if you’re going to preside over a major child abuse scandal. Huw told Waterhouse that the allocation of resources in Gwynedd County Council  owed much to history and political considerations rather than assessment of need and the Council’s image was one of ‘fortress Gwynedd’ with a single issue of the language agenda. (I rather suspect that might have been the smokescreen that Ioan created to detract from rather more serious problems.) For most of the first three years of Huw’s tenure, there was a police investigation of Gwynedd’s children’s homes. Alison Taylor wrote to Huw shortly before an HTV programme about the abuse in north Wales in Sept 1991, requesting a meeting to discuss the ill-treatment of children. He ‘took advice’ – we are not told from whom – and he said that she should get in touch with him if she had any new matters not already investigated to report. Alison wrote again asking for a meeting regarding the extensive dossier that he had prepared relating to the abuse of children. Huw declined to meet her on the advice of the Council’s legal officers and the Chief Constable. That will have been at about the same time that those legal officers were pursuing me through the Courts for ludicrous offences such as ‘staring at a social worker in Safeways’ or more serious offences that I had not committed.

So how did Huw fare once he stopped being the Chief Exec of Gwynedd in 1996? Well he was the  Assistant National Secretary of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and he has also been on exchanges with Chief Execs in Tasmania and New Zealand (Christ he’s gone global.) In 2001 he was appointed the Director and Principal Consultant for Taro Consulting Ltd. He was a member of the Richards Commission into the powers and electoral arrangements of the National Assembly of Wales 2002-2004, he’s Chaired the Big Lottery Fund and served on the Parole Board for England and Wales (it really is unbelievable isn’t it). He’s a Board member for the Institute of Welsh Affairs, for the North Wales Training and Enterprise Council, a member of HEFCW, of the Law Society Council, of the Hearing Aid Council and the Olympic Lottery Distributer. His voluntary activities include involvement in two charities for deaf people, a member of the National Trust Committee for Wales, of the Princes Trust and the Chair of Plas Glyn Y Weddw Arts Centre.

Concealed a paedophile gang? Come this way Sir, we’d just love to have you on our Board.

The jewel in the crown was that on July 2010 Huw was recommended for the post of Auditor General of Wales by the National Assembly of Wales. HM the Queen herself appointed him from October 2010. He now oversees 20 billion quid of taxpayers money. His wife Enid is the Chair of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and a member of the BUPA council. His son Owain is a trainee – at the Wales Audit Office.

Once more, I can only repeat what the residents of Ioan Bowen Rees’s village used to say when they were screwed over once more by Gwynedd County Council in some way – Jesus Christ.

There is an ancient Bela Lugosi film that used to cause merriment among film and media students because it was thought to be so ridiculous. I was told that it contained a scene where Bela looms up out of a churchyard and says ‘It’s murder – and somebody’s responsible’. Well for years children in the care of Gwynedd County Council were beaten, kicked, forced to lick Nefyn Dodd’s shoes, used as slave labour, sexually molested, kept short of food and/or abandoned. And nobody was responsible at all. The only person who lost their job was Alison Taylor.

 

 

The Betsi Board Are Fundraising…

My blog post ‘The Wales Audit Office Cometh – Yet Again’ details how a ‘charity event’ involving Awyr Las/Blue Sky, the charity run by the Betsi, seemed to function as an effective way of siphoning money from the Betsi into the coffers of a business in Cardiff. A lot of bad publicity ensued and the Wales Audit Office were called in to investigate. I was previously aware of Awyr Las, but I was never sure what it actually did and it’s website isn’t that informative, so when I saw that a public meeting of Awyr Las Trustees was due to be held today I thought that I ought to go along and find out more.

I attended the meeting this morning but left before the meeting ended – however I did hold out for two and a half hours before leaving, so I have gained a bit of information.

Prior to today’s meeting I discovered that the Trustees of Awyr Las were none other than the Betsi Board, so I was expecting to see some familiar faces today. However Peter Higson (Chair) opened the meeting and then announced that Cheryl Carlisle, Bethan Russell Williams, Morag Olsen and Andy Roach (Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities) had sent in apologies because they were ‘ill’ and one of the stars of this blog, Martin Jones (Director of WOD), ‘had other commitments’. Nonetheless a few others that we know and love were in attendance. Higson was looking quite beleaguered and Grace Lewis-Parry (Board Secretary) positively glum. Happily though Jo Rycroft-Malone was in good spirits and spent a substantial part of the morning sniggering and giggling with a woman unknown to me who was sitting next to her and at one point turned around to laugh at me. Jo usually makes no contribution to meetings at all and merely stares blankly ahead of her, so presumably this performance was to demonstrate that she’s not worried that her many gross conflicts of interest have featured in my recent blog posts (please see ‘An Expert On The Betsi Board!’, ‘Conflicts of Interest – and Some Very Big Salaries’, ‘Time To Talk?’ and ‘The Biggest Expert Of The Lot’). Well do have a good laugh while you can Jo – as someone who seems to have bagged themselves a first class seat on the Titanic when you finally wake up to reality you’ll be looking as glum as Grace.

Before the meeting began I had been approached by someone called Kirsty Thomson who seemed a good deal more human and transparent that I am used to from people that I encounter at Betsi Board meetings. Kirsty explained that she was Head of Fundraising for Awyr Las and that at todays meeting there would be a ‘workshop session’ with an ‘independent consultant’ called Jon Scourse.

The meeting kicked off with a request for any declarations of interest. There were none. Why was I not surprised when someone with Jo’s track record is one of the Trustees?

A lady called Helen then presented the Annual Report and Accounts for Awyr Las for 2015/16 which had been signed off and it was explained that a subsidiary charity also existed, North Wales Cancer Centre. It was explained that there was a wide remit whereby Awyr Las could receive funds and that it made a ‘real difference’ to the delivery of ‘safe and effective healthcare’. So presumably if it were not for Awyr Las, services provided by the Betsi would be in an even more dire state. We were told that over £4 million had been spent by Awyr Las (yes the Betsi Board, having demonstrated that they are completely unable to manage the Board’s own funds are also in control of the millions in Awyr Las) and that a Linear Accelerator for £1.7 million had been purchased. The north Wales NHS is always impressed by such machines that go ping – just before the North West Wales Trust met its end, Martin Jones (CEO) and Elfed Roberts (Chairman) appeared in the local press having purchased a machine that went ping, although I was told that they could not afford the staff needed to operate it. I was also told that due to the financial arrangements in place at the time, Martin and Elfed only had a limited amount of time in which to spend funds before their empire vanished, so they decided to purchase a machine that went ping.

It was also explained that the refurbishment of Alaw Ward had been approved and that a key area of expenditure was the purchase of software for patients with dementia. Now in the right hands, this software could no doubt be useful, but the Betsi is of course currently in special measures because of the Tawel Fan scandal – which involved patients with dementia being abused and neglected. No members of staff involved in the abuse and neglect have been disciplined and staff are refusing to co-operate with the investigation into the abuse. So how useful this software will be I do not know. However we were told that there is an advisory group which scrutinises each bid over £5000.

During 2015, Awyr Las received almost £3 million from donations and legacies. It was stated that ‘legacies are a testament to staff on the ground’ and that most legacies come from cancer patients – they certainly wouldn’t be from mental health patients. £2.9 million was spent on equipment and buildings and there was a target of £3 million for reserves. The investment advisors used by Awyr Las include Rothschilds and it was stressed that there were no investments in tobacco or alcohol companies. I’m not sure that these attempts at ethical conduct are going to convince anyone though – Rothschilds are hardly paragons of virtue and considering that criminal and unscrupulous conduct on the part of some people involved in the NHS in north Wales has been completely ignored I think that boycotting tobacco and alcohol firms is neither here nor there.

Then we heard about the inevitable – the ‘challenges’. The last 12 months have been ‘difficult’ and a time of ‘reflection and learning’ – I thought that they might have been. The embarrassment that was the ‘Lap of Wales’ was discussed (please see blog post ‘The Wales Audit Office Cometh – Yet Again’) and it was admitted that there were ‘internal weaknesses that we needed to discuss’. There certainly were – more than £150,000 was raised, but only approx. £1,500 ended up in the hands of the ‘good cause’, which was actually a completely unnecessary ‘good cause’, but over £30,000 (at least) was paid to a Cardiff company which was chaired by the person who organised the ‘charity event’. However Helen reassured the Trustees that steps will be taken to prevent a further occurrence.

Marian Wyn Jones then assured everyone that ‘lessons have been learnt’. The Betsi Board spend an awful lot of time learning lessons – one wonders why they continue to find themselves embroiled in so many scandals…Gary the CEO maintained that ‘great stuff’ was being done. A lot of things in Gary’s world are ‘great’, he reminds me of the young executive character in the ‘Rise and Fall of Reggie Perrin’ who maintained that everything was ‘great’ no matter what disaster was befalling everyone or what hare-brained scheme was being proposed – all we need is another Board member following up Gary’s ‘great’ with the word ‘super’ and we’ll be transported right back into the heyday of the 70s TV sitcom…

Despite the Lap of Wales business and the involvement of the Wales Audit Office, Higson reminded everyone that Awyr Las was a very active and very well-run charity. And that they had learnt lessons from the Lap of Wales. However, Higson claimed mitigating circumstances – ‘we weren’t alone’. (This was a reference to the fact that two other organisations had been conned as well.) Higson also maintained that the fact that they had called in the Wales Audit Office themselves showed ‘an open approach’. Presumably this ‘open approach’ is why the Betsi still haven’t handed over copies of my medical records and why Higson still hasn’t dealt with my e mail asking why one of his staff admitted that some of my medical records had been ‘removed’ from my file ‘many years ago’…Higson stated that it would be useful to have a press statement about today, so I’ll look out for that.

The Head of Fundraising, Kirsty, then told the Trustees that ‘today is about the responsibility that you have as Trustees’ and that NHS staff across north Wales should be ‘huge passionate advocates’ of Awyr Las. Well try talking to some of the staff Kirsty – some of the most abusive ones are in positions of responsibility and the others are so demoralised and alienated that they’re not in a position to be huge passionate advocates of anything. Kirsty then showed a video that featured the machine that goes ping.

It was stated that local people should be encouraged to support the 70 plus charities supporting healthcare across north Wales. Presumably this includes CAIS and MIND that have played a major role in colluding with the abysmal state of the mental health services and who seem to enjoy a very cosy relationship with the north Wales NHS and some of its employees past and present. Kirsty maintained that peoples urge to ‘give back’ was always related to the care that they’ve received – so that’s why no-one on the receiving end of the mental health services ever feels like ‘giving back’ then – and today was about finding out about engaging better with staff. Er, well the Betsi could stop promoting ruthless bullies to management positions and weed a few similar people out of the Board itself…

Following on from this, Jon Scourse, an ‘Independent Consultant’ who is retained by the Association of NHS Charities, gave a presentation and emphasised that the day was about the Trustees ‘legal responsibilities’. If I was one of those Trustees I’d take heed – ‘legal responsibilities’ sounds ominous and who knows how many landmines are lurking in Awyr Las. The Board certainly haven’t been any good at preventing explosions in the Betsi. Jon mentioned that engagement with management and staff was critically important and that the Trustees had ‘quite a lot of challenges’ (yes, in their incarnation as the Betsi Board they are loathed by most of the staff). Jon then talked about causes ‘close to peoples hearts’ and the ‘importance of the Health Board to north Wales’. Does John know of the reputation that the Betsi has acquired locally?? Jon followed on with a discussion regarding techniques used in fundraising and discussed the possibility of ‘local people’ giving ‘large donations’. Would these be the local people who are on salaries far, far lower than most of the Trustees themselves? Higson on £65,000 plus, Martin on £130,000, Grace topping £100,000 and Gary on a no doubt ‘great’ salary of £200,000…Jon then talked about ‘tribute funds’, set up in the memory of people who have died ‘tragic deaths’ (like a few of the suicides that have taken place in the acute mental health units run by the Betsi perhaps). Jon also curiously stated that there are far too many charities in this county and we don’t need any more – which would seem to be an own goal…

Jon continued to tell the Trustees that their profile is ‘very high as a Health Board’ – it certainly is, there’s a major scandal on a weekly basis – and ‘this is an opportunity for you’. I was rather puzzled by this logic, particularly when Jon went on to say that with ‘so many hospitals now in special measures’ (I’m sure that resonated with the Trustees), there might be ‘opportunities for charity growth’. Sorry, I don’t follow – patients are dropping like flies, the Betsi is nearly bankrupting the Welsh Govt so dire is their financial situation, so this is going to prompt people to hand over dosh to a charity whose Trustees are the same people that constitute the Betsi Board? Jon explained that Awyr Las ‘deserves preference’ above other charities who ‘can dominate’ and that donations to other charities represent money leaking out of Awyr Las (which raises further questions regarding why the Betsi seem to do so many favours to CAIS and MIND). Jon then mentioned that ‘your brand is great’. Que??? The Betsi and everything associated with it is toxic.

Jon explained that where a patient has a good experience, they will be ‘utterly committed’ and ‘that a lot more people out there could be cultivated to that level of commitment’ – not with the current standards of care they couldn’t. Jon mentioned the importance of keeping the charity in the public eye (well they featured in the Daily Post regarding the ‘Lap of Wales’ saga) and generating goodwill in the community…Under ‘risks’ he mentioned adverse NHS publicity – at which the Betsi excels. Jon maintained that ‘in a period of adverse NHS publicity it can be very helpful to have a charity conveying a positive message’ – but what if the Trustees of that charity are the very same people generating the adverse NHS publicity Jon?

Questions from the Trustees then followed and Bobby Feely suggested a campaign for staff to donate every month – no mention of a similar campaign for those highly paid Board members to donate. Kirsty, Head of Fundraising, suggested that other charities providing healthcare services should be seen as friends – they already are Kirsty, the Betsi seem to be doing an awful lot of favours for CAIS and MIND. Jon mentioned that ‘social care and mental health are very hard to fundraise for’ – CAIS and MIND are obviously exceptions.

Jeni Dean suggested a staff lottery to support staff in hardship and mentioned that some staff were using foodbanks. I can believe this – there are some very modestly paid jobs in the NHS and if someone has a family making ends meet can be difficult. So maybe Martin and Grace could show a bit of goodwill and donate a sizeable chunk of their ten year protected salaries to such a lottery to boost the funds available…

Just before I left the meeting, Margaret (Vice-Chair) remembered to declare an interest….

Throughout Jon’s presentation, he talked a lot about fundraising in NHS charities generally and mentioned a few well-known examples like Great Ormond Street and Addenbrookes. All I could think of was that most famous and successful one of all – Stoke Mandeville and all the tireless work that dear old Jimmy Saville put in.

After I left the meeting I had a quick read of the promotional material that had been distributed there. This included the Awyr Las Newsletter for Winter/Spring 2016. Among the news items in the newsletter was a piece about Elen’s Fund by Rhys Meirion (well he was associated with the disasterous Lap of Wales) and a ‘Thank You for supporting people living with dementia in North Wales’. This item asked ‘why has dementia care become such a big issue’? Possible answer – because dementia patients were subjected to terrible abuse in Tawel Fan and no-one has been held to account…The question ‘what more can be done to ensure patients with dementia receive the very best experience and care when they’re admitted to hospital?’ was also posed. How about ‘you could sack and prosecute abusive staff’. Then most entertainingly, there was a page in the newsletter urging readers to ‘help us improve mental health care across North Wales’. Where on earth do we begin? (I note that on this page, it was stated that ‘we need your help to fund’ ‘exercise equipment…in mental health units’. Well there is some fantastic gym equipment and a sports hall in the Heddfan Unit but when I was held prisoner there by Raj Sambhi because I kept insisting that neglect and abuse were happening in the north Wales mental health services and that there’d been a paedophile ring operating in north Wales (please see blog posts ‘A Tale Worthy Of Enid Blyton’ and ‘Five Dig Further Into The Heddfan Unit’), I and the other patients were hardly ever allowed to use it because Sambhi wouldn’t let us go down to the gym or sports hall…

I notice that I was the only public observer at today’s meeting. Before I went to this meeting a number of people were making quips to me regarding the foolishness of anyone letting the Betsi Board loose with a few million of charity cash. So I’d better take an interest in Awyr Las. Particularly as Jo Rycroft-Malone, who it seems aspires to be the Queen of Conflicts of Interest, is one of the Trustees. Perish the thought that dosh from Awyr Las might find its way into her research account…

High-Level Shenanigans At The Community Health Councils

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been very critical of the Community Health Councils, the allegedly ‘independent watchdog’ in Wales, that supposedly represent patients and hold the NHS to account. The CHCs do no such thing and have not done so as long as I have known about them. I first approached Gwynedd CHC about fifteen years ago, regarding neglect, abuse and criminal behaviour by staff at the Hergest Unit. The ‘chief executive’ of Gwynedd CHC, one Glanville Owen, initially told me that hospital care was not part of their remit. I soon discovered that this was a lie and so returned to the CHC. We went around and around in circles for many months, absolutely nothing was achieved and mental health patients in north west Wales continued to die. I took interest in the CHC yet again about four years ago, when a friend was having terrible problems with the mental health services in north Wales. Again, nothing was achieved and no complaint investigated or resolved. At this time, the leading light in the North Wales CHC was a recently retired surgeon from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, who was keeping a blog that made it clear that her biggest priority at that time was to defend her former colleagues at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd from the threatened restructuring of their service. Another member of the CHC on Anglesey was a retired psychiatrist from the Hergest Unit. Whoever the CHC was representing, it certainly wasn’t the patients. Things seem to be little better now – the CHC in north Wales continues to remain completely silent about the death and destruction on the part of the mental health services and a recent addition to their number is the former LibDem AM Eleanor Burnham – who previously sat on Mental Health Tribunals for the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, an institution notorious for abuse of the Mental Health Act and indeed abuse of patients per se. The wife of the Chair of Gwynedd CHC sits on the Betsi Board.

So imagine my surprise when this feature about the CEO of the Board of Community Health Councils, a Dr Tony Rucinski, who has been suspended on full pay since February 2016, appeared on BBC News Wales online http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-38745041

The matters leading to Dr Rucinski’s suspension remain very cloudy, but it seems that he is alleging that he was ‘gagged’ – in terms of speaking publicly – by the Chair of his own organisation, Mutale Merrill, and it is implied that a Minister from the Welsh Govt may have exerted pressure to achieve this. I note that Dr Rucinski wrote an e mail to the Wales Audit Office in April 2016 in which he observed that ‘the independent voice of patients and the public in Wales has been gagged during a crucial time for healthcare debate nationally’. I also note that Dr Rucinski stated that he wanted the CHCs to be more proactive and a more effective patient voice. He was appointed to his role in July 2015 – so the man who wanted an effective patient voice lasted less than a year before being suspended. Mean while, Eleanor Burnham arrived at the North Wales CHC…

As readers of the blog seem particularly interested in financial matters, I’m happy to report that the total budget for the CHCs in Wales and Dr Rucinski’s Board that oversees them for 2015-16 was £3.8 million. £3.8 million – to make damn sure that no-one speaks publicly about what is happening in the mental health services in north Wales. So we’ll expect more patient deaths then…

The Wales Audit Office has decided that it is not within their remit to investigate Dr Rucinski’s suspension and the Welsh Govt has stated that it is an internal matter for the CHC. Nothing to do with us guv – we’re just splashing out a few million to fund this travesty.

The Wales Audit Office Cometh – Yet Again…

The Daily Post online is reporting on a charity fundraising activity which seems to have been a spectacular failure and somehow ‘raised’ far, far less than the sum of the monies donated http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/charity-trip-around-wales-made-12496769

In July 2015 the ‘Lap of Wales’ challenge took place, run by ‘Cerddwn Ymlaen’, which involved Welsh celebrities visiting hospitals in Wales to ‘raise awareness’ of organ donation and also to support another charity, ‘Cronfa Elen’. During this ‘challenge’, the ‘celebrities’ used modes of transport such as donkeys, kayaks and tandems. The Wales Audit Office question why, despite over £154,000 being spent on the event, only £1,368 was left as a surplus. It was also revealed that a media company based in Cardiff, ‘Storm and Shelter’, chaired by one Eryl Vaughan and employing Eryl Vaughan’s son as a Director, was paid £32,000 as part of this ‘event’ – an event which was organised by one Eryl Vaughan. It is stated that ‘Storm and Shelter’ were commissioned to provide a website, filming and advice because they already hosted Cerddwn Ymlaen’s current website. Interestingly enough, the figure of £32,000 is disputed by Eryl Vaughan – he told the Daily Post that it was £42,000 that was ‘spent’ with ‘Storm and Shelter’.

Eryl Vaughan is quoted as saying that ‘we started working with (Betsi Cadwaladr fundraising charity) Awyr Las about 18 months previously’. It transpires that the Betsi donated £20,000 to this ‘event’.

So the Betsi donated £20,000 to an event which only ‘raised’ just over £1,300. Meanwhile, the company chaired by the organiser of this ‘charity event’ – which, surprise surprise, just happened to have started ‘working with’ a charity run by the Betsi 18 months previously, was paid over £30,000.

Eryl Vaughan is quoted as saying that some procurement rules had ‘hindered the creativity of the event’. Well it looks to me as though there was a substantial amount of creativity indeed involved here. Eryl et al established links with ‘Awyr Las’ (the charity run by the Betsi which as some of us have noticed never seems to actually do very much at all and has a remarkably low profile), then extracted a ‘donation’ from the Betsi to run a charity event consisting of a bunch of pillocks that most members of the public had never heard of charging around on donkeys. A lot of money was donated but very little ‘raised’ for the ’cause’, but Eryl’s company did very nicely out of it.

Incredibly enough, the Wales Audit Office report’s main problem seemed to be the fact that the ‘celebs’ involved were ‘Welsh’, which might have ‘alienated’ the public. Surely the language spoken by the celebs involved in this shameless scam is irrelevant? This whole ‘charity event’ seems to have been a most effective way of transferring funds from the Betsi (and other organisations) to a company in Cardiff that seems to have been established solely to benefit from this ‘charity event’. There was speculation in the report that if only English-speaking celebrities with a higher profile had been involved, the event would have been more successful. So if Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris had been starring instead of Iolo Williams, this could have rivalled that well-known London based success, Kid’s Company…

As ever though a Betsi spokesperson stated that ‘the Health Board was keen to learn from this experience’. Previous posts on this blog have demonstrated that the Betsi is rife with conflicts of interest and people ensuring that money is passed to their mates, whether this is done under the guise of ‘independently commissioned reports’, ‘training’, ‘therapy’, ‘research’ or ‘third sector partnerships’. I suspect that the only thing the people involved in these practices are keen to learn is how to now do this without detection, lest the Wales Audit Office comes sniffing around again.

There’s one big elephant in the room throughout this whole story. This ‘charity event’ was to fund an ‘awareness raising campaign’ regarding organ donation – and indeed the Betsi stated that in doing this, the campaign ‘was successful in meeting it’s key objectives’. Yet Wales gained much publicity in being the first county in the UK to make organ donation compulsory unless someone has specifically expressed a desire to ‘opt-out’ of donating after their death. Any awareness raising campaign was completely redundant…

Meanwhile, as all this was going on, mental health patients in north Wales continued to die…I mention this – yet again – because the blog post that I wrote yesterday regarding conflicts of interest and the enormous salaries paid to the Betsi Board members received the highest number of hits that one of my posts has ever had. I am of course delighted that so many people are now reading my blog – so readers, please keep reading, but I’m trying to ‘raise awareness’ (!) that people with mental health problems are dying in great numbers, have been doing so for years and that an awful lot of people knew this (and still know it now) but stood by and watched…

 

It’s Panto Time Again!

Yes, I’ve just returned from another performance – once more, the Betsi Board Meeting did not disappoint. A number of people are very keen to hear what happened at today’s meeting, so here’s my review.

Peter Higson (Chair) kicked off by introducing a new Board member, Teresa Owen, ‘Executive Director of Public Health’. Teresa’s presence on the Board was announced on the Betsi’s website a few days ago, but this was the first time that I have seen her in action. I wondered whether Teresa was part of the network that seems to connect so many people in the NHS in Wales or whether she was an innocent who had been duped into believing that she had landed a desirable senior post…

After introducing Teresa, the Board kicked off with the first item – the corporate risk and assurance framework. Grace (the Board Secretary) did a lot of the talking on this. The Board seemed to be working from a document that they described as ‘an overview of the organisation’s most significant risks’ and asked whether the risks were being managed appropriately (the current state of the NHS in north Wales suggests that the answer to this question is a resounding ‘NO’). It was stressed that there was more work to do on the formatting of this document – let’s get this straight, this Board, in deep, deep trouble, mired in scandal, having to answer media questions regarding the disaster that was Tawel Fan, was discussing the formatting of a document. The ‘risk’ discourse continued – there was ‘detailed scrutiny of each of the risks’ – there were seventeen corporate risks on the register, which sounds quite a lot to me.

Then Board member Jeni Dean stated that regarding ‘unprofessional behaviour’, there is ‘objective evidence of improved behaviour’. Presumably this ‘improved behaviour’ doesn’t extend to the staff who held a brawl a few days ago on one of the wards in Llandudno Hospital necessitating a visit from the police, or the psychiatrist from the Hergest Unit who seemed to have told a lot of porkies at a recent inquest in a failed attempt to blame the police for a patient’s death. It was mentioned that the Board were using a ‘blended supported development programme’ (!) – whatever this is, it is obviously not sufficient to stop punch-ups between the staff. (I think most other employers would use a programme called ‘dismissal’, but this is the NHS we’re talking about here.) There was then a brief discussion regarding the harm done to patients as a result of polypharmacy and misdiagnosis (that message certainly hasn’t got through to the psychiatrists employed by the Betsi).

At this point something very interesting happened – a Rebel Board Member spoke up and asked whether inappropriate care should be included on the risk register. But Peter Higson was having none of this and stated that ‘the risks here are things we can influence and control’ (so presumably the Board can’t influence and control inappropriate care). Then Gary the CEO chipped in and expressed concern that if all the risks were included on the register the register would exceed 500 pages – yes Gary, from what I’ve seen of the NHS in north Wales it probably would… Peter commented that this had been a ‘helpful discussion’ – but the discussion regarding risk was not over yet. It was stressed that there are risks around ‘safeguarding’ and ‘deprivation of liberty’ and that these risks were wider than media commentary suggested (as I know to my cost, what with Raj Sambhi sectioning anyone who maintains that there’s abuse and neglect in the mental health services and who dares to suggest that a paedophile ring was operating in north Wales).

Gary the CEO then started a discussion relating to special measures, agreeing that ‘we’ve got improvements to make’ and that special measures is ‘not a good place for us to be’ and began to talk about ‘managing the risk of staying in special measures’. It was only at this point that one Board Member, Geoff Lang, reminded the Board that seeing special measures as a ‘risk’ was inappropriate – and actually mentioned the Board’s duty to the people of north Wales. ‘Risk’ must have been discussed for a good 15 or 20 mins before Geoff said this. So with the exception of Geoff Lang, that Board’s idea of managing risk is managing the risk to them and presumably their positions and salaries – they were worried that there was a risk to the Health Board if they don’t come out of special measures. (Well Martin Jones (Director of Workforce) alone will wave goodbye to over £120,000 pa if he loses his job and Gary will no doubt lose even more.)

There was then a presentation from Andrew from the Welsh Audit Office – Andrew didn’t sound too impressed with the Betsi and it was stated that there ‘was a considerable amount of work to do’, with financial performance being the ‘main challenge’. Another challenge was ‘the engagement of stakeholders’ (as this blog has regularly reported, there is very little attempt by the Betsi to engage stakeholders at all). Gary the CEO then mused over whether he would have written this document in the same way – no of course you wouldn’t Gary, that’s why the Welsh Audit Office was called in.

Peter stated that ‘we should have a single focus improvement plan’ and Margaret (Vice-Chair) mentioned the service development around mental health and that beds management could introduce significant risks, especially in the mental health division (presumably another admission that the mental health service is appalling).

At one point the Board said that they would now discuss matters relating to the Mental Health Act. This is a Board that has a very, very serious problem with abuse of the Mental Health Act – so this discussion lasted about 3 minutes with Gary muttering something about ‘evidence not being submitted’. I bet it hasn’t.

I was then interested to hear Grace introduce the topic of the NHS Collaborative Leadership Forum. This seems to be a vehicle bringing Chairs and CEOs of NHS Boards across Wales together and Peter announced that he was ‘content’ with this arrangement – so presumably this Forum doesn’t challenge Peter over his enormous failures. Gary commented that working across organisations ‘when I’ve been doing it’ has not been easy. So can Gary the CEO not work with other people once he’s outside of his bubble then?

It was then admitted that in terms of C Difficile and MRSA infection, the Betsi is a ‘major outlier across Wales’. Cheryl Carlisle (Independent Board Member) expressed concern about the levels of training of locum staff (in my experience the level of training of permanent staff isn’t always what it should be either, but is that surprising when the likes of Raj Sambhi are given responsibility for that training). New member Teresa then piped up to tell everyone that her ‘leadership challenge is to start early with handwashing in schools’. So the Betsi has a major infection problem – and Teresa’s big idea is to ensure that the local schoolkids wash their hands. Teresa’s obviously like a duck to water in the Betsi…

Then came the Finance Report. The Welsh Govt have coughed up another 11 million quid for the Betsi to cope with the ‘winter pressures’. But unfortunately the Betsi was already running a deficit of over 32 million. So once the bail out from the Welsh Govt was taken into account, the Betsi, at the end of November, was running a deficit of over 26 million. The ‘key issues’ remained – ‘pressures, risks, mental health, agency staffing’.  There is a planned deficit of 30 million for the end of the year – but being merely 30 million in debt was described as ‘extremely challenging’.

At this point the Rebel Member dropped a bombshell. He reminded everyone that when the Betsi was formed, the Board ‘inherited’ a number of staff who were on protected contracts (yes, we remember it well, it caused public outrage – Martin and Grace were two of the people who had spectacularly screwed up in their previous jobs and were then recycled into the new Board). The Rebel Member mentioned that the protected contracts were running for ten years – and were these protected contracts contributing to the current deficit? Gary dismissed this out of hand – he would be ‘very, very surprised’ if the protected contracts contributed ‘more than a fraction’. And at this point Martin nodded his head sagely…Peter then commented that this was quite a complex issue and could they acknowledge it and come back with some answers? (The answers that Peter is looking for include – 1. It is an outrage that public funds should be spent protecting Grace and Martin from the consequences of their gross incompetence and/or wrongdoing  2. Martin’s excessive salary may only be a drop in the ocean compared to the £30 million deficit, but his continued presence on the Board is one reason why it is in such a mess. 3. For years Martin bullied, intimidated and harassed his way around the NHS in north west Wales, a lot of people remember the sort of thing that went on and his continued presence as ‘Director of Workforce’ is one reason why no-one wants to work for the Betsi.) Cheryl revealed that there are thirty people on protected contracts and Jeni reminded the Board that people on protected contracts had an obligation to apply for posts that are not protected – well Grace and Martin you’ve sat there making no positive contribution at all for the last seven years, that should have been quite long enough for you to apply for a few other jobs…

Peter mentioned that the current position of the Board ‘was not a good position to be in’.

The Board then moved on to a discussion re smoking. Teresa talked about ‘behaviour change’ and ‘teachable moments’ – my heart sank. Did the Board make a special effort to recruit yet another member without a brain?

We were then told that there has been a ‘serious improvement’ regarding complaints – complaints are down to the lowest level since 2011 and yes, there’s lots of ‘learning’ involved. Well we’ll see how they deal with the complaint that I recently lodged with the Betsi…

Then the Rebel Member threw a spanner in the works again. He noted that there are 56 areas in which the Betsi is not achieving its objective or target. He mentioned priorities – had the Board got their priorities right? Or were they just stuck in this position?  The number of areas coded ‘red’ were not changing month after month… But poor old Gary managed to maintain that there are some signs of improvement, but they need ‘much higher levels of staff engagement’ (Maybe sack the Director of Workforce then?)

On to the Mental Health Measure. Andy Roach (Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities) mentioned a Phil Chick who was ‘supporting’, and of course ‘learning’ was taking place – Andy expects to see consistent improvement. Not with Phil Chick supporting you won’t Andy – Phil Chick has been hanging around the Welsh Govt as an ‘advisor’ for years and has obviously achieved nothing.

At this point, Peter announced that the Board were breaking for lunch. Before lunch however Peter wanted them all to ponder on how, on a recent visit to Tryfan Ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd, Peter had discovered that a truly shocking number of people there had alcohol-related damage. I’m not sure why this was a surprise to Peter – for many years, people with alcohol problems have been refused help by the Hergest Unit and have been pointed in the direction of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and CAIS. Did Peter expect a happy outcome?

Whilst the Board went off for their free lunch, I had a look at the Board Members name plates in order to identify the Rebel Member. It transpired that he is Councillor Phil Edwards. Someone give that man a medal. During lunch, I spotted BBC and ITV cameramen outside so I went to chat to them. They told me that they were interviewing someone from the Health Board.

When the Board reconvened, it was time to discuss the update on the Tawel Fan scandal. This morning I received a message from someone who quipped that they didn’t imagine the update would take long. Many a true word is spoken in jest – Gary made it clear that he wasn’t going to be spending long on this, particularly as he’d just had to give two interviews about it, so he wasn’t going to go into the report in detail. Peter stressed how the Board was not directing the ‘independent’ investigations. Then the full horror of the ‘investigations’ was revealed – Lyn Meadows wanted assurance that everything possible was being done to ‘encourage’ staff to participate in the investigations and wanted to know what ‘support’ for staff being interviewed by the investigators was in place. Now this is Lyn Meadows we’re talking about – who in her previous posts at both the Welsh Ambulance Service and Bangor University had a track record of encouraging employees to make complaint about other employees that she didn’t like the look of, even if they didn’t want to and even if making such complaint involved telling a few porkies. If I know anything about Lyn Meadows, her idea of ‘encouraging’ and ‘supporting’ staff involved in these investigations will be to make damn sure that no-one says anything that might be inconvenient to the Board. Of course the Tawel Fan whistleblower no longer works for the Betsi, but the staff involved in the abuse are all still employed there….Another unidentified person told the Board that where people have needed a ‘little bit of encouragement’ to participate in the investigations that has happened. It was also mentioned that the staff have been offered counselling and psychological support (something patients are usually unable to get). Peter claimed that the Board have been providing ‘support’ for the Tawel Fan families and Gary said that he’d be very surprised if anymore ‘cases’ or families came into the investigation. Thank goodness for Councillor Phil Edwards – at this point he noticed an inconsistency in the paperwork that suggested that the investigators might be having difficulty accessing information. Gary fessed up that the ‘document acquiring stage took longer than we thought it would’ (but then there’s often a problem acquiring documents where the Betsi is concerned – they’ve not yet been able to produce copies of my medical records). Councillor Edwards said that he didn’t want opportunities provided for anyone to mislead… Jeni mentioned the importance of strengthening the ‘oversight panel’ into the investigations – and Gary helpfully replied that the Betsi would be part of the oversight panel and that he’d included a legal advisor in the panel…

Then, as ever, there were a few comments from Margaret and Andy regarding ‘all the learning’ that is taking place and how ‘the learning will be disseminated’…

At this point I left the meeting unable to bear hearing anymore about the learning. But maybe the Board have been doing a bit of learning (although not what they pretend to be learning) – I got the distinct impression that the Board are now beginning to realise that they don’t know what they are doing or how to get out of this mess.

And now I’m going to catch up with BBC News Wales online to watch Gary giving his interview…

 

 

 

 

Financial Irregularities at the Betsi Made Public…

I have heard allegations of serious financial mismanagement and ‘services’ being commissioned on the basis of personal connections in the north Wales NHS for years. Much of this information was given to me in confidence so none of it has appeared on this blog, but I did wonder how long it would be before an indication of such practices in the north Wales NHS emerged in the media.

It has happened this morning – BBC News Wales online is running a story regarding the Wales Audit Office highlighting ‘a lack of transparency and poorly managed conflicts of interest’ in the Betsi’s funding of a charity event http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-38252691 Paperwork was not processed although the funds were still transferred and procurement guidelines were not followed.

As ever, a Betsi spokesperson has made a statement telling us all how keen they are to ‘learn’ from this (in the same way that they ‘learn’ every time yet another can of worms is opened at the Betsi or yet another person’s death is deemed ‘avoidable’). I note that the spokesperson referred to ‘misunderstandings’ – of course, that’s all it was. Just a misunderstanding. (Readers might remember from my blog post ‘After the Betsi Came Into Being’ that a reference was made to ‘misunderstandings’ when I produced evidence of abuse, neglect and serious service failure.)

From what I have heard I suspect that this example of ‘a lack of transparency and poorly managed conflicts of interest’ is only the tip of a very big iceberg. And one member of the Betsi Board – Lyn Meadows – has previously featured on Frank Field’s blog and in Hansard when she was involved in another ‘irregularity’ in her capacity as a non-executive director of a Health Board in the north west of England.

Rumours of ludicrous spending decisions and questionable commissioning have swirled around the north Wales NHS for years. Just before the North West Wales NHS Trust died, Elfed Roberts and Martin Jones appeared in a local newspaper proudly unveiling the purchase of a very expensive machine that went ping. I was told that the purchase of this machine was predicated solely on the fact that under NHS funding/restructuring arrangements, Martin and Elfed had only a limited time before they lost the power to make substantial purchases. So they bought a machine that went ping. I was later told that they couldn’t afford to fund the staff necessary to operate the machine that went ping.

More recently I discovered that someone known to me in Gwynedd had established an ‘executive coaching business’ and was boasting on her website that she had been commissioned by the Betsi to provide ‘training’ to their staff. I also noticed that on her website this ‘executive coach’ had told a few whoppers about her previous ‘expertise’ and CV. I know this person well and I know that she also spectacularly mismanaged a big joint project between a university and the NHS some years ago. This was very widely known and there was much unhappiness all around after this project disintegrated. Threats of legal action were made and there were rumours that the funding body concerned had requested that the funding be repayed. This person still has personal connections in the Betsi. So when I saw her website I put in a FoI request to find out whether she had indeed been commissioned by them. Yes, she had – and they had indeed paid this person several thousand pounds for ‘training’ their staff. Anyone who knows this ‘executive coach’ would know that she doesn’t have the background to deliver meaningful ‘training’ of the type that was alleged to have been delivered. (I imagine that those being ‘trained’ would have noticed this.) So I wondered who exactly in the Betsi had commissioned her. I put in another FoI request and was told that it was a decision taken by the Area Operational Manager (West) and Educational Manager (West). When I asked for the actual names of these people, I was told by the Betsi that they were refusing permission for their identities to be revealed. I bet they were – what’s the betting that they knew that if I found out who they were that I would soon be able to find a personal connection with the ‘executive coach’?

May I suggest that the Wales Audit Office now starts taking a very big interest in the Betsi?