Thursday, 29 March 2012 13:43



NORTH Wales Assembly Member, Mark Isherwood, was "astounded" by the First Minister's response this week to his concerns that Wales has?the highest proportion of whistleblowers in the public and publicly funded sectors?in the UK.


Mr Isherwood has previously expressed concern that too many tribunals and official inquiries have exonerated principled whisleblowers in Wales who have nonetheless reported victimisation, harassment, impact on their emotional and physical health and often loss of livelihood - and accused the Welsh Government of treating whistleblowers atrociously and of protecting, and sometimes even rewarding the perpetrators.



Speaking in the Chamber on Tuesday, he said: "Two weeks ago, Transparency International UK hosted an event in Cardiff University to present the report,?'Does the UK Have a Corruption Problem??, which found that ‘politicians, government, business and institutions throughout the UK urgently need to understand and accept that corruption is a problem in key sectors in the UK and must be tackled consistently and coherently’.Therefore, how do you respond to continuing concern that Wales has a higher than average proportion of whistleblowers in the public sector and the publicly funded sector who frequently report harassment, intimidation and threats? A good friend of mine has highlighted to me through his casework that this is a particular and growing problem in his representation of employees in publicly funded organisations in Wales."


The First Minister replied: "Unless there is hard evidence of that, it is difficult to comment. However, I know that the Transparency International UK report is significantly England-centric. There is very little reference to Wales or the other devolved administrations."


Speaking outside the Chamber, Mr Isherwood, added: "I’m astounded at the First Minister’s response. There has been a long trail of vindicated whistleblowers in Wales since devolution, but strangely little or no action to ensure political accountability. A series of documented cases have shown that when an employment tribunal finds that a person has been caused harm by a public sector or publicly funded employer in Wales, compensation is the only thing they are able to achieve and they are denied access to justice.


"Perhaps the First Minister could start by looking at the legally binding tribunal judgement in favour of Flintshire County Council’s former Internal Audit Manager against the then Labour controlled council, or the treatment of the whistleblower whose evidence led to the damning Wales Audit Office report into Plas Madoc Communities First, or the treatment of the Whistletblower detailed in the Tribunal Judgement against AVOW (Association Voluntary Organisations Wrexham), or the treatment of staff at?scandal-hit?AWEMA (All Wales Ethnic Minority Association), who advise they have not been protected against bullying and intimidation in the workplace. There are countless more like these. The First Minister must act in order to refute allegations that?Labour Party interest comes before transparency, accountability and justice." 



Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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