Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The national media is calling you...

Dear all

As you may be aware the police have now made a further arrest, albeit not linked to Haute de La Garenne, but in connection with the police investigation into historic child abuse.

I have been contacted by the national media once again and as before they are after stories.

Now, everyone has their own opinion of the media, I for one, believe that they have and will continue to help change Jersey's services for children for the better.

I absolutely respect the fact that they do not help the reputation of Jersey, but I don't care about that.

Actually I do, but not at all costs. I believe that Jersey can have a financial centre of excellence and a child care centre of excellence.

The national media will help this happen by raising public awareness of the inadequacies within the system and, in turn, this will raise the level of accountability amongst the senior civil servants and politicians.

One journalist that I have spoken to previously has made contact with me again and she would be keen to speak with anyone who may have some information in connection with recent events.

I am happy to make initial contact if you would prefer or you can contact her direct for an informal, off the record chat.

She works for the Guardian Newspaper and is working on a piece for Monday's paper looking at how the child abuse inquiry has affected Jersey and would be very glad to hear from anyone who might have anything to say. She won't need to use your name or necessarily identify you in any way if you don't want her to.

Her email address is

Her mobile number is 07824 695120

If you want to phone her you can withhold your number so that you feel safer.

My previous post was titled "problem to solution", now is your chance, this is how we get to the solution. I have had so many people tell me to get to the solution , well, this is it, help me get there and speak out for yourself.

The ball is in your court, if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem!

Don't just think about it, do it.

Monday, 28 April 2008

How to get from the problem to the solotion?

I have just received a comment which I have pasted below.

I want to focus on this comment, not in a defensive way but in a a constructive way. It suggests that the problem is known yet the the solution is the holy grail.

Before I take this point further I would like you to read the comment, it is as follows:

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Response from ex Jersey social worker":

I agree with everything that is being said i.e the benchmark of organisations such as OFSTED. Checks and balances do need putting in place.

Our civil servants and ministers should be held accountable. Our current goverment could well be described as corrupt.But in all honesty you're not telling us anything we don't know or at least nothing that will suprise us.

As I commented previously we, or I need to know what can be done about it all. I'm getting bored with the repetitive stuff of how bad things are.

Most people seem to be happy living in the problem when they should be getting into the solution.

I know it was strongly suggested to you to stand as a candidare for the next elections, something I believe you should consider seriously.I believe you to be a man of high morals, integrity and courage and would get my vote any day of the week.

Senator Syvret already has the market cornered with telling us all how bad things are and how corrupt our goverment is and really has the captive audience on that.

Like I said your blogs are very little new and nothing suprising, you have my upmost respect and sympathy's, but do us a favour and get out of the problem and into the solution!!

Pike Mollard."

I do agree that we have a problem, I do agree that many of us know what the problem is, however, let us consider why policies change, improve and develop in governments.

It is beacuse problems become known, the public become alterted to issues through the media and, in turn, communities demand changes.

Political desicions are driven by the publics demands.

So, the more problems that are brought to light and publicised the more people will in their own way demand change. This can be done through political activist movements, voting or simply not voting.

As I stated in my first blog and my introduction, I want to tell my story. My story is about the problems, the objective was still to tell my story.

The solutions can take many guises for many people. The way I see it - the culture that dominates through Jersey's senior civil servants and politcal spheres is so powerful that a clear and concise solution does not exist.

The activists that are trying to change this culture, such as Senator Syvret, do not enter the battle in order to win the war. They take one step at a time, they chip away in order to weaken the oppressive powers that have ruled for so long.

How therefore, can we make any difference at all?

I see my part in this war as a small part, but nonetheless, it is significant, I have exposed something that the States of Jersey do not want exposed. Why else would Franlk Walker come to oversee the settlement at an employment tribunal of a lowly social worker?

To make a difference it requires a concerted effort. The more people who write into this blog, the more people who expose the truth about the States of Jersey the more dratic the change we will see.

I don't profess to have all the answes I am simply a mouth piece that will allow others to help find the solutions, let us do this together.

Tell me your stories, tell me what you want tol achieve, lets us unite in order to drive change; change for the better within Jersey - that is the solution to our problems.

Response from ex Jersey social worker

Yesterday I posted a comment from a reader who had responded to a previous comment left by an ex social worker.

The ex social worker has now responded to clarify the situation and I have pasted that response below.

"Dear all,

Ex Jersey social worker here.

When I left the main reasons were to do with culture of secrecy/ lack of feeling able to complain about poor practice without feeling very vulnerable. In my opinion the overall systems were not in place to protect children in care ie inspection by UK CSCI/Ofsted (even though probation and prisons are inspected by Uk inspectorates), poor feedback form partner agencies about the functions of child care systems in jersey (voluntary and statutory partners) plus lots of bureaucratic bits about policies not being followed.

Yes I did ask about childcare availability and flexible working for child care both of which I was informed was available at interview. Neither was available in social services when I arrived (even though there was a states flexible working policy, which curiously applied to all depts except social services) but that wasn't why I left! I could have coped with that! No there was a whole host of other issues which I wont go into.

Individual staff do a good job but in my opinion the overall performance monitoring of the child protection processes are not up to the job. I left, but until CSCI/OFsted undertake regular inspections of child care in jersey there will always be a nagging doubt.

Why OFsted? Well, to performance manage child care you need to do what they call "benchmarking " a service against a set of fixed criteria. The process also needs to include feedback from young people and families who receive the service.

Children would need to have absolute confidence the people they are talking to to give feedback are independent and objective and able to take action against poor practice if reported.

For these reasons, and thinking about recent jersey childcare history the
"inspectors " would need to be from the uk and experienced in inspecting childcare services.

OFSTED are the only group with this experience. It would also bring child care into line with Prison and Probation departments. So far the govt has had numerous one off reports ie kathy bull andrew williamson etc but no "Benchmarking" against set criteria.

Its obvious really so I am not sure what the delay is! Can any one think of why?Anon"

If the author of the first comment would like to respond to the 'ex social worker' it would be appreciated.

Has anyone got any views about this? What do people feel is needed? Do people think that the States of Jersey need to introduce regular independent 'checks and balances' to regulate their services for children and young people?

I fully support this notion, however, if this is all that is needed why has the prison service received 3 scathing reports and yet still fails on virtually every assessed standard? The service has now received a financial boost from the States of Jersey but my theory is that this has been a reactive damage limitation excercise as a result of the child abuse scandal and not as a result of the reports themselves. I think that the world media raised the accountability stakes - something Jersey's senior civil servants and politicians need so very desperately to improve public services for the islands most vulnerable people.

It would be great to get some views on this. Also, please, if you can register a name, still stay anonymous but use a fictitious name so that it is easier to follow the communicate with each other.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

A comment for ex social worker to respond to.

I have just been left this comment and whilst I have published it on my blog along with the other comments I also wanted to list it here as a separate post.

I have done this for two reasons. Firstly, I am aware that the person whom this comment relates is reading my blogs and is therefore likely to comment in response, and secondly, this demonstrates how the senior civil servants operate in order to suppress complaints, close rank and demonise those people who have left or have been sacked, this is done in order to protect themselves and hide their own incompetancies and inadequacies.

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reply to comments":

when the previous respondent left after seven days staff were told it was because he was having difficulty in arranging child careprovision,that he wanted to work flexi-time and this was not possible.

Nothing about the real reason for leaving,many including myself had no knowledge of the Grand Prix system.

By the way flexi-time is now operating ."

If either the 'previous respondant' or the author of this comment make further comments, which I hope they do, I will keep readers posted. I have also attachd the 'previous respondants' comments below so that you can understand the context of this post.

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reply to comments":

Hi Simon,I will explain to readers that I was a uk social worker who came to work for the Jersey Social services as child protection social worker.

Prior to coming to Jersey I was a senior manager in childrens services in the UK with nearly 20 yrs experience. After 7 working days in Jersey I resigned.

This partly due to the procedures I discovered were in operation at the greenfields secure unit for children. This on its own would not have been sufficient for me to resign but it was this, combined with other features, which led me to believe that social work practice in jersey was unsafe.

Firstly though I can confirm Simons verson of events with regard to the Grand Prix system was in place and abusive to children. Secondly that upon induction to the unit children were routinely isolated and put into bleak cells for 24hrs.

This process was not based upon any threat or risk the young person may pose to themselves or others.Some of these children, as young as 10, would be in the unit for "welfare reasons" and not as a result of criminal behaviour but the process would remain the same.

The process would be abusive for either group of children in the UK, but I could see a warped argument to implement the procedure for young offenders but I would not condone it!

After discovering the above (plus lots of other bits which I will save for another day)I discussed my findings with other memebers of the Social Work team who said they were aware of the situation at the unit and expressed their dissatisfaction but nothing had changed. They also expressed their fear that if they compliained too loudly they may get the sack. They also explained that they believed if they complained it may lead to them " never work in jersey again".( they had other issues as well but too long to go into now )

Before I left Jersey, my manager asked me why I was leaving. I didn't wish to go into details as I had written a seven page letter to the chief exec detailing exactly why I was leaving and used the jersey whistle blower policy to do so. However I did say to my line manager that I had found practices at the childrens secure unit disturbing to say the least.

Their response surprised me in that they said " what goes on at the secure unit is not my responsibility". Considering my manager was a "child protection" manager their view that their responsibilty stopped at the front door of the secure unit was a tad shocking.

I kind of expected the response "tell me more and if its serious we will see if we can sort it out/investigate/ talk to unit managers etc".I had already made my decision to leave by mow but this was the icing on the cake!

The failure of one part of the Jersey child care system to want to tackle the inadequacies of performance of other related departments is one of the reasens that child abuse in childrens homes has been allowed to go undetected for so long. My experiences were in the past 3 years.

Not along time ago.The response from the chief execs dept was predictable. They informed me they had fully investigated my concerns and that I did " not understand the policy and culture of the island". By now I think I had fully grasped the culture of the child care system in jersey which was " dont rock the boat or else" and that the some of the policies were abusive to children.

Several months after my departure form jersey I was contacted by Simon Bellwood. Although mine and Simons time in Jersey had crossed we didnt meet at the time.

Simon informed me had been the manager at the secure unit and tried to end the abusive childcare practices, which I had been informed by Chief Execs dept, were a figment of my imagination and lack of knowledge about Jersey social work culture/policies etc.

Simon also told me that the govt investigation into my concerns went as follows.Simon received a telephone call that went."who did that new social worker talk to when he was shown round the unit?"Simon replied " I dont know"

That is the sum total of a an internal extensive investigation into abusive child care in jersey by the jersey govt.So baring in mind the Jersey govt superb internal investigative qualities, imagine how it must feel for children in jersy who comlpained about their treatment in childrens homes over the past decades.

I hope they got more than a telephone call to the manager of the home where thay were being abused but I suspect not.I firmly believed Simon was dismissed for trying to expose the process which resulted in children being abused whilst in the govts care.

If I had stayed in Jersey I believe I would have sufferd the same fate. The information so far is just one part of my story which could go on but I dont want to identify the staff who gave me even more information confirming what I believe to be potential systemic failings in the jersey child protection system.

I think what Simon has acheived is fantastic but it has probalby been at a great personal cost,both emotional and fiancial. I will write more if people are interested and i am particularly keen to talk about what the Jersey govt needs to do to put things right for the future.

The answers are pretty simple but i wll leave those for another day!"

My Story - Part 2

Sorry for the delay in posting a further blog.

I would like to continue telling my story, but first, the following comment was posted the other day and the system , or I, lost it. I have pasted it here for you all to read.

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Senator Stuart Syvret...My views 2":

I heard about your blog and i am well aware of your situation Simon and can easily imagine what happened at Greenfields secure centre.I noticed your 'attention readers' and would like to give your readers my opinion.I was aware of the admission procedure before you were employed.

I remember a staff commenting on a 13 yr old female being put into a cell for 24 hours as a short sharp shock. All of the teenagers on remand did used to have the solitary confinement. It appears to me that some staff and management must be suffering denial.

Apparently you changed all that when you were manager of the new Greenfields building and banned the 24 hours.Your manager's decided to over ride your system when you were off work.Bringing back the old 24 hour in cell system.Your were never allowed back to work there.

Within a week they had reintroduced your system.

Q.What did that tell the staff?
A.That you were right all along and knew exactly what you were doing.

You have a big story to tell.Go ahead and tell us.Many of the ex residents, thir family,teachers, professional visitors, current staff and ex staff must have questioned so much? As for the staff.They are dedicated to doing the best they can for the children, but have been let down by the system as well."

I would like to say thank you to the author of this comment, it is not an easy thing to do, the climate of fear prevents people from speaking out. To help remind the staff of the fear that they should feel, they further reinforced it - by sacking me after I blew the whistle.

I would like to encourage more people to write in. I am happy for anyone who has information which may agree of disagree with my views. I will publish them in order to offer a balanced view for all the readers.

As mentioned previously, I removed the Grand Prix system on 8th October 2006. This was welcomed by some and criticised by others. I introduced a new system, one based on rewarding positive behaviour and empowering young people to make the right decisions for themselves, as opposed to a system designed to ensure compliance through fear; through fear of the consequences should they make the wrong decisions.

I would like to point out that although dubbed 'my' system, this was in fact adopted from my previous secure children's home that I managed in UK. This had been developed by a psychologist, psychiatrist, music therapist, social workers, staff and young people. It had been subjected to scrutiny of inspectors and the Secure Accommodation Network (which is made up of all managers from the 24 secure children's homes in the UK).

In affect, it was not 'my' system, it was a tried and tested system that had been used for a number of years in the UK. More importantly, it was lawful - the grandprix system was not.

Rather than hearing just my perspective I have decided to list below some extracts which staff within Greenfields have made as part of their statements during the subsequent investigations into my complaints

The following extracts provide information which I feel suggests that the philosophy and ethos behind the Grand Prix system is one based on ‘control and punishment’ and not ‘care and control’.

Quote from XX Statement to XX

“The management programme that SB introduced gave us no control over the young people.”

Quote from XX Statement to XX

“In the absence of SB. XX is helping support the running of Greenfields. XX suspended SB’s policy…The current policy is an incentive scheme similar to the Grand Prix system which the children can easily understand”.

Quote from XX Statement to XX

Heathfield is not run under UK legislation…”.

“XX explained that a literal interpretation of care standards [UK mandatory practice standards] was applied to an establishment in Jersey the UK inspectors could close the place down immediately based on occupancy levels and material standards of the buildings”.

Quote from XX to XX

“SB was confused. XX asked him what he had been told. SB replied that he had been told there would be no community meetings and that 24 hours exclusion had been reintroduced for disruptive residents”.

Quote from XX Statement to XX

“He (SB) gave her new policies and documents, including his new behaviour system. She also saw him give this to XX and XX in the old building and witnessed both virtually dismiss it and hand it back saying it was too complicated to read at that time”

“SB’s behaviour programme was a points system, incentive based, with young people taking responsibility and earning points. Some staff who were used to the old system found this rather hard. The old system was very different with staff being able to deal with things by locking up the young people. The new system was not about locking up, but about dealing with behavioural issues. People were struggling to come to terms with it, but on the whole some good work was being done and the young people were, starting to get the message as numbers built up. XX said it was utter chaos, but XX [previous manager] disagreed”.

“The systems have now completely changed. The new system is no longer called the Grand Prix, but the only change to that system is that they no longer have ‘the pits’. If the young person transgressed under the Grand Prix system they were put in the pits for three days and locked up. The first 24 hours they were locked within the secure area and were educated and ate in that area. It was a very primitive way of dealing with things”.

“That three day system is no longer happening, although young people could still spend their first 24 hours in their room being assessed and XX had no problem with that. Now there are three days on Level 1, seven on Level 2 then moving to Level 3. but the young people who had worked with the SB’s points programme preferred that because they felt that they were able to earn points themselves by their behaviour.”

“SB was in the UK the following day and XX came in and changed everything SB had been doing. XX took over, took XX (young person) out of the classroom and locked him up, that was the beginning of things”.

Quote from XX Statement to XX

“XX (not SB) would not allow the staff to be disrespected by the residents in any circumstances”.

Quote from XX Statement to XX

“SB seemed to find our behaviour system dated and wanted to implement his own behaviour system once they were in the new building, this may well have been his downfall”.

“XX felt that as a manager SB was honest, knowledgeable, very confident, but approachable. He was very child centred, and it was the first time that they had seen somebody with such a child friendly approach, most staff were positive about SB’s new behaviour system. They all thought that they were going to move forward with the childcare that they provide, complying with what the children’s service were striving towards after Kathy Bull’s report.”

“SB’s ideas about childcare were not to confine the young people, unless they posed a danger. To provide the staff with the training they require and guide them in helping young people to improve their behaviour and make better choices. XX thought that some of the staff did not really understand what they could and couldn’t do. SB reiterated at regular staff meetings the operation of the behaviour system he had implemented and reminded staff that his system was designed to be used with TCI, the therapeutic behaviour management system that all the staff had all qualified in, most staff have used this for three years or more. XX specifically recalled SB saying to staff that he appreciated that whilst he ‘understood his behaviour system really well as he had worked with it for a long time, he wanted to help anyone who didn’t understand the system’. It has to be said that the young people who were resident at the time didn’t have any problems with the system and enjoyed the way it worked”.

“Some staff thought SB’s system too soft on the young people, with too much mediation and conversation taking place. They were used to having a different kind of control with the ‘Grand Prix’ system, thinking that a remand centre should be disciplined. Both systems could work well, but perhaps they just highlight the difference of thought between a ‘prison officer’ background and a ‘social worker’ background”.

“In the old building under the old system young people were often placed into a cell for 3 days known as ‘in the pits’ due to their behaviour. On several occasions young people would spend a lot longer confined from the rest of the group. This form of punishment was long standing at Greenfields.”

“They (XX and XX [previous managers responsible for unit]) then returned to the ‘Grand Prix ‘system, but with a few adjustments and called it the ‘new behaviour system’ with levels 1, 2 &3”.

During the first (Team) meeting (after SB had gone) with XX and XX staff were told that it was acceptable to lock a young person in their room for the first 24 hours after their admission or if they displayed poor behaviour. But during the second meeting there appeared to be some changes regarding locking young people in their rooms. XX also told staff they were to use their discretion regarding the 24-hour in room policy after admission, allowing more flexibility depending on the young person”.

“XX stated that up until Christmas there was now a very divided culture, XX and XX in one office in the building next door and with SB in his office. XX was not aware of any one particular incident that had caused this division, but it appeared to become worse after the interview process and that they both had differing opinions on disciplining young people”.

In addition to these statements I have taken the following from Greenfields centre Team Meeting Minutes dated 3 January 2007

“XX [senior manager in charge] explained that the Unit will be dealing with remand, welfare, sentencing + detox cases and therefore we cannot follow UK regs straight down the line. XX explained that we are going to take onboard the UK standards + Jersey will adapt them”.

“XX highlighted that we were meant to be achieving UK standards in child care in Jersey. XX explained that all policies will be adapted to suit our req’s in Jersey”.

“XX expressed he still cannot understand why SB would continue to implement UK laws etc. If he has been told this wasn’t the case why would he continue to do so?”

“XX replied that him self and XX will be putting routines into place, addressing the 24 hr in bedroom + that process”.

“XX expressed he wants the behaviour of YP to adhere to respectful towards staff + this is to be the framework to work towards. XX said he will not accept staff being sworn at + spoken to in a detrimental manner. XX wants us to respond to a YP as we would have before, a YP can be given the option to rectify their behaviour or they can be removed to their rooms + locked in”.

The following are extracts taken from Greenfields centre Team Meeting Minutes dated 10 January 2007

“…XX gave information on what they should have. YP should not be bringing in or out of G/F [Greenfields] extra clothes. XX said 2 full set of clothes.”

“…it should make us think about how we react to them appropriately. XX reminded us that child care is essential but to remember they are here for a reason”.

Now that you have read these extracts, the views of other's, not me, what can we conclude?

For me it is simple, either I am wrong and the senior civil servants are right or I am right and they are wrong. There is no alternative option - someone is wrong, is it me or them?

I would invite comments at this stage to guide me further. Tomorrow I will post some more information about the Grandprix system and the investigation that followed.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Time 4 Change - Conference at the Pomme D'or Hotel

Below are the details of the conference that wsill take place at the Pomme D'or Hotel in St Helier this Sunday. If should be a good event - lots of speakers about lots of issues.

I will be speaking too!!!

If you can come along that would be great and if you can pass this information on to friends and family so that they can attend too.

Time 4 Change: Press Release

22 April 2008

Time 4 Change is pleased to announce that it will be holding an event this coming Sunday to discuss a variety hot political issues, including GST, the dual role of the Bailiff, a General election, raising environmental awareness and a need for greater transparency and democracy in Jersey’s political system.

The event, entitled Reform will consist of a series of informal workshop-style sessions in the morning, followed by a public meeting in the afternoon.

The morning session will be from 10am – 1pm and will deal with issues such as, racism and discrimination, voter registration, and engaging the electorate.

The afternoon meeting will be from 2:30 – 4:30pm and will include a panel of speakers comprising a mixture of local businessmen, politicians and academics from outside the island. Once the panel have finished addressing the audience, they will take questions from the floor.

We, the organizers of Time 4 Change, welcome people from all walks of life and all political views, to attend the event. We particularly encourage those who will be voting for the first time in the forthcoming elections, and we are particularly keen to see members of the island’s immigrant community attend.
For more information, please call 07797 740886 or email

Additional information for the press: A Press Conference will be held at 4.30pm, after the meeting has finished. The media are welcome to attend the afternoon session if they wish, but we would ask journalists to refrain from attending the morning session to protect the survivors of abuse, some of whom will be attending the morning session and speaking, but who would not feel comfortable in the scrutiny of the media. We are therefore stipulating that photography and filming be forbidden in morning session.

Confirmed speakers include Rob Duhamel, Roy Le Hérissier, Mario Pirozzolo.
Senator Ozouuf to advise.

Greenfields Staff - Please comment

Please read - I have recieved a comment to my recent blog from a member of staff who works at Greenfields and I have lost it in the system. Whoever wrote it, firstly, thank you for speaking out, and secondly, I am really sorry but please can you write it again as the system seems to have lost it and it needs to be shared on here.

I would also like to apologise to readers for not posting blogs as often as I would like, I am trying my best.

I am trying to get my new business established (remember I lost my job a while ago), fight the States of Jersey for some justice and keep you all informed of the story. It is very hard work so please be patient - my wife has already filed a missing persons report on me.

I will try and respond in the next day or so to all comments left as they are very interesting, I would encourage readers to look back on my blogs and read the comments, sometimes comments are left a few days after the blog has been published and you will only be able to read them if you go back to previous blogs.

Also, I want readers to lead me - tell me what you want to know and where you want my story to go next.

Please can I encourage readers to log in and get a name so that I can see who is making the comments, it will still be completly anonymous as you can make up a name to use.

One thing that has encouraged me to keep fighting are the people who have asked what can we do now? How do we act on this instead of simply blogging? It is simple, find your voice and stand up and be counted. I have a growing number of people who have contacted me about the awful treatment that they have been/are being subjected to as civil servants for the States of Jersey.

The evidence that I am slowly compiling is very interesting and extremely serious - no wonder there are some senior civil servants doing everything they can to try and make this whole saga go away - they have so much to lose.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Senator Stuart Syvret - My Views 3

I have attached Stuart's response to MIke Pollard.
When you read it you will see that despite Mike Pollard's attempts to convince Stuart that all was rosey in the garden and that they (the senior civil servants) had sorted it all out, Stuart felt that he needed to make sure, for himself, whether it actually was all fine.
When Stuart began investigating further he realised that the way the my complaint had been dealt with was nothing but a complete and utter shambles.
If it was not for Stuart then this would have been covered up and brushed under the carpet the way many other complaints havee been dealt with.
So, whatever you think of Stuart, here is the evidence that he was, and still is, prepared to go out on a limb and do what is right for the people of Jersey. My question is this, how many other politicians or senior civil servants would do this? I am sure there are a few but I am also sure there are maney that would prefer to protect their own jobs and pensions before they did what was morally and ethically the right thing to do.
When it comes to voting, I want to vote for someone with a passion for people's rights, a person who will stand up for me when I am being kicked, someone who will help change the culture of oppession and concealment that too many senior figures in Jersey are seemingly hell bent on doing without consideration for the personal cost to others.
Stuart, you get my vote.

Senator Stuart Syvret...My views 2

Above is the reponse from Mike Pollard and I would like to draw your attention to a few points of particular interest.

Firstly, he states that 'the entire matter has been dealt with to the highest possible standards of conduct as per SoJ precedures'. Later this week I will be posting a blog which explains the process of the investigation into my complaint and you will be able to decide for yourselves whether it was done to the 'highest possible standards', or not?

Secondly, the duty of care which I apparently failed to provide for a child, as I found out later was in relation to allowing young people to be introduced and interact with other young people resident after they had been through the admission procedures at Greenfields. This was something that I had introduced as part of the changes that were required. As you will recall, the previous system under the Grandprix regime involved isolating young people in their bedrooms for the first 24 hours.
Attention readers - I would like to hear some comments from either current or previous staff at Greenfields who know how the admissions procedure that I introduced worked and how the previous admissions were done. It may also be useful to hear how they currently admit young people into Greenfields. If anyone from Greenfields is reading this blog please take some time to respond as I am 100% confident that my admissions procedures were lawful, best practice and inline with National Mininum Care Standards which govern secure children's homes in the UK. My job description in Jersey stated , 'Ensure that the Unit is fit for National Minimum Care Standards'.
I would also like to point out that my admissions procedures were adopted from Leverton Hall Secure Chidlren's Home in Essex where I worked as a manager for two and half years prior to coming to Jersey. This admissions process had been subject to scrutiny from the inspectors for the past 12 years and had never been identified as a problem. This process of admitting young people into a secure children's home is also used throughout the UK.

Thirdly, Mike Pollard's email states, 'If his probationary period had expired I would have sacked him - and, unlike on many other occasions in my professional life when I have had to sack someone, would have had no doubt whatsoever that it was the right decision'.

So, does this mean that when it is proven that Linda Dodds, Phil Dennett and Madeleine Davies catagorically lied in their final reports into my complaint (which I have no doubt will happen soon), then Mike Pollard will owe me a big apology? I doubt it, the guy could'nt even look me in the eye when he signed the settlement agreement at the employment tribunal. He has too much to lose, he has dug himself a big hole, along with the other senior civil servants that I have already mentioned, and now they have no choice but to fight their way out.

If Stuart is reading my blog it may be good if perhaps he can provide a comment, perhaps a comment about the role of the 'Corporate Parent' and the context of the emails.
My next blog contains the resonse that Stuart gave to Mike Pollard, I want to show this to you as it demonstrates the level of integrity that Stuart showed when he first heard my concerns about Greenfields. It also demonstrates that in June 2007 Stuart was right to be concerned about Greenfields, even though the senior civil servants and Frank Walker deny there was a problem at all.

Senator Stuart Syvret...My Views

Yesterday I began to talk about my views of Senator Stuart Syvret.

When Stuart received my letter appealing against the outcome of my Serious Concerns complaint (See blog yesterday for a full copy of complaint), he responded as you would expect from a Politician.

With integrity, respect and an open mind.

Unbeknown to me at the time Stuart then made some of his own enquiries and was met with resistance, resistance from his own chief officer Mike Pollard. See the letter above for the original email which Stuart sent to Mike Pollard.

Mike Pollard's response to this email is in my next posting called 'Senator Stuart Syvret...My views 2' as this blog will not allow me to put multiple pages in one go.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Stuart Syvret - my opinion

Stuart Syvret – what can I say…?

Well, as a politician it is only normal that you will have your supporters and your opposition, however, I do not feel that it would be appropriate to comment regarding my political opinion as this is not the story here; although I do actually agree with Senator Syvret’s perspective on the majority of issues.

My link to Senator Syvret - I wrote to Stuart on 13th June 2007 appealing against the outcome of my serious concerns complaint dated 1st January 2007, which as you will know was not upheld. I have attached my original serious concerns letter as well as my appeal letter to Senator Syvret so that you can understand the context in which it was written.

1 January 2007

To Whom It May Concern

I am the Centre Manager of the Greenfields Secure Centre. I was recruited from the UK by Joe Kennedy and Phil Dennett on a non-permanent J-category contract, and I have been in post since 1 August 2006. I now find myself in the difficult position of writing to express serious concerns about my line manager Joe Kennedy, Manager of Secure and Residential Services for the Children’s Executive.

My concerns are based on four areas:

1. I believe that Mr Kennedy’s conduct towards the vulnerable children and young people in the secure accommodation provision at the Greenfields Centre constitutes serious abuse.

In my holiday absence over Christmas, Mr Kennedy has enforced a behaviour management procedure that can potentially involve locking a young person in a room (known as single separation) for over 36 hours. I believe that this contravenes all legislation, regulations and guidance concerning looked after children in secure accommodation, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the European Convention on Human Rights, Every Child Matters (2003), United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (1990), the Care Standards Act 2000 (National Minimum Standards for Children’s Homes), and The Human Rights (Jersey) Law 2000. Furthermore, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture 1987 stated that “solitary confinement can, in certain circumstances, amount to inhuman and degrading treatment; in any event, all forms of solitary confinement should be as short as possible.”

The Secure Accommodation Network (SAN) has produced documentation with the purpose of ensuring that staff working in secure children’s homes are clear about when and when to not use single separation. These clearly stipulate that “Single separation is considered as a last resort and all other efforts should be made to prevent this extreme action.”

The Lord Carlile of Berriew QC conducted an independent inquiry for the Howard League for Penal Reform (published January 2006) into, amongst other things, the use of solitary confinement in prisons, secure training centres and local authority secure children’s homes. His recommendations were that solitary confinement should never be used as a punishment, the child should have access to an advocate, a child’s belongings should only ever be removed from their room if they pose a demonstrable risk to the child or others, and that ‘time out’ could be a useful technique for easing tension but should never be for more than a few minutes.

During my holiday absence over the Christmas period, Mr Kennedy had Bedroom 1 prepared as a room which now has only a bed, pillow, pillowcase, duvet, duvet cover, beanbag and toilet roll in it. Mr Kennedy has formally directed staff through the communications book at the secure centre to confine a young person to Bedroom 1 upon admission to Greenfields for a minimum period of 24 hours. The entry, dated 20 December 2006, reads, “All staff - as from today room one will now be the new admission room, where new admissions will be placed after full admission. They will remain in room one for twenty four hours with good behaviour. Should any unwanted behaviour be shown then the twenty fours hours may be started from the start of compliant behaviour”.

I am unable to leave this senior management directive unchallenged. As a social care worker registered with the General Social Care Council, I am bound by their Code of Practice for Social Care Workers 2002 which states:

“Social care workers are responsible for making sure that their conduct does not fall below the standards set out in this code and that no action or omission on their part harms the wellbeing of service users. The General Social Care Council expects social care workers to meet this code and may take action if registered workers fail to do so.”

2. Since the opening of the new secure children’s home on 8 October 2006, I have felt harassed and bullied by Mr Kennedy. I have implemented a number of changes within the secure provision in order to commence the process of bringing the service in line with UK National Standards, which is one of the tasks for which I was recruited, as expressly stated in my job description. Mr Kennedy has disapproved of many of these changes. I have used the formal supervision process to raise my concerns with Mr Kennedy, but I have found him to be intimidating, oppressive, undermining, and manipulative. He has failed to respond to my frequent reasonable requests for support and collaboration, yet he repeatedly claims to be supporting me. He has rarely offered unsolicited positive feedback to me, but rather he has persistently and unfairly criticised me.

I have made Mr Kennedy aware of the fact that I feel bullied by him, and I have raised my concerns with his line manager, Phil Dennett. To date, I have not formalised my complaint against Mr Kennedy, but I now feel that his harassment and bullying has become intolerable. I fear that my employment in Jersey is now in jeopardy due to Mr Kennedy’s victimising behaviour towards me.

3. I believe that Mr Kennedy’s professional practice contravenes the States of Jersey Code of Conduct. My witness of Mr Kennedy’s actions relating to recruitment, grievance and disciplinary procedures, for example, evidences his failure to comply with States’ policies and approved practices. On one notable occasion, I challenged Mr Kennedy’s executive decision to overrule a promotion interview process which was Equal Opportunities compliant and conducted according to Human Resources policy. I have felt personally and professionally threatened by Mr Kennedy since this occasion.

4. In my position of Centre Manager, I have been informed of numerous incidences of malpractice, including sexual harassment and bullying, which are alleged to have occurred since Mr Kennedy has been employed by the Children’s Executive. It has been suggested on a number of occasions that members of staff have felt unable to formally raise these concerns about Mr Kennedy for fear of reprisal. As their manager, I feel I have a duty to advocate for them and I hope that this formal complaints process will offer them protection and enable them to express their concerns in confidence.

I am in the process of expressing my concerns about the professional practice I am experiencing at Greenfields to the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), of which I am a member. The Association has a duty to ensure as far as possible that its members discharge their ethical obligations and are afforded the professional rights which are necessary for the safeguarding and promotion of the rights of service users. The Association’s Code of Ethics expresses the values and principles which are integral to social work and to give guidance on ethical practice, and it is binding on all members.

Prior to raising this serious concern, I examined all relevant States policies. I am worried that, should this matter be investigated internally, members of staff at Greenfields will not come forward because they will not trust the confidentiality of their disclosures. I trust that this will not occur as it would contravene the Policy on Reporting Serious Concerns. My opinion is that the only means of safeguarding the openness, probity and accountability of an investigation into my serious concerns will be an external investigation or independent inquiry.

Mr Kennedy wrote to me on 29 December to explain that I will not be continuing in the post of Centre Manager at Greenfields after the end of my probation period on 31 January 2007 “unless there is a marked and sustained change”. Mr Kennedy has thus far set no SMART targets or objectives for me, so any change or improvement in the current situation would be totally open to his interpretation. I strongly feel that Mr Kennedy has no intention of keeping me in post after the end of January. Mr Kennedy is aware that I feel strongly about his directive to lock up vulnerable young people in single separation to punish them, and I will not be able to condone his professional practice which I believe is abusive.

I have supporting information regarding my concerns and written information explaining what action I have taken to date. I hope that you will act swiftly in this matter. I look forward to hearing from you by telephone at your earliest convenience. I request that this matter remain in the strictest confidence until I have spoken with you directly.

Yours faithfully

Simon Bellwood

cc Mike Pollard
Marnie Baudains
Phil Dennett

I will go in to detail about how the States of Jersey responded to this complaint at a later date, however, my letter to Stuart Syvret, after I had been dismissed was as follows;

13 June 2007

Dear Senator Syvret

I am writing to ask for your help. Until recently, I was Centre Manager at the Greenfields Centre in Five Oaks. I relocated with my family from the UK and commenced this appointment in good faith on 1 August 2006. I have significant experience of managing a local authority secure children’s home in Essex and of working with young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. I was excited by the opportunity of creating a leading secure children’s home in the wonderful new facility at Greenfields. I was assured by Phil Dennett, Coordinator of the Children’s Executive, that my skills and passion for maximising outcomes for looked after children were desired by the Children’s Executive to bring the Greenfields Centre in line with UK National Minimum Care Standards for Secure Children’s Homes.

I endeavoured to implement the changes necessary to move the secure unit forward and to improve the treatment of young people at Greenfields. I started to experience strong opposition from senior management and, unfortunately, I soon found myself in a position where I had no option but to formally raise concerns regarding the conduct of my line manager, Mr Joe Kennedy, and the practices and polices which were in place under his management. In an emotional state, I submitted a Serious Concerns complaint on 1 January 2007 to Mike Pollard and Marnie Baudains.

Several months later, following a period of enforced “garden leave” which excluded me from the workplace, I received notification from Mike Pollard (10 May 2007) that the investigation was complete and that there was no evidence to support my concerns.

I am shocked, upset and confused about how this outcome was reached by the investigating officers. I firmly believe that the openness, probity and accountability of this inquiry have not been safeguarded. It is my opinion that the investigation process has breached States of Jersey policies, procedures and best practice guidance on such matters, and that it would not withstand external scrutiny.

I believe that my concerns were well-founded and well-intentioned. I now feel compelled to appeal against the outcome and refer the matter to you for help, support and scrutiny.

Please find enclosed the Serious Concerns Complaint dated 1 January 2007 which I submitted to Marnie Baudains, Directorate Manager of Social Services and Mike Pollard, Chief Executive of Health and Social Services. Please also find enclosed the response I received from Mike Pollard informing me of the outcome of the investigations.

I hope you are feeling better and recovering well from your recent operation.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely

Simon Bellwood

It goes on…

Stuart’s response was to telephone me immediately and ask me for further details. He informed me that he will make further enquiries and that he will let me know what he will do next.

I was later provided with the following email correspondence – you should read this as it reveals the culture of cover-up within the States of Jersey.

After you have read this let me have your comments and I will go further – comments are such a source of inspiration that I want to by you the readers….to be continued…

Saturday, 19 April 2008

The Greenfields Centre - the culture

This blog is about the culture , as I saw it, at the Greenfields centre when I arrived.

When I arrived at Greenfields in August 2006 the new £5.5million unit was not quite finished so I worked in the old building until October 8th.

The old building was not fit for purpose, it had inadequate facilities, security and resources. The States of Jersey have publicly stated that they understood that the old building was not fit for purpose and that was why the new building was commissioned.

On the face of it this might seem like a rational explanation. What you don’t read in the media, well not the JEP anyway, is the other side of the story.

My concern about this seemingly rational explanation is this. On 23rd May 2008 during the meeting where he sacked me, Phil Dennett, claimed that the reason why the Grandprix system was used was because the old buildings security was not adequate. The sheer audacity of this statement still concerns me to this day. Phil Dennett claimed that measures (the grandprix system) had to be in place to keep the young people safe and prevent them from absconding.

My question is this, why did you need to place young people in solitary confinement upon admission to the building for 24 hours? Why did you need to have a predetermined length of time in solitary confinement for bad behaviour (See ‘Pits’ section of Grandprix document in my previous blog)? I can only assume that the whole regime was designed purely to instill a sense of ‘behave or you know what’s coming’ into the young people to ensure complaince. Perhaps this is what Phil Dennett meant when he said that it had to be used to keep them safe?

My view is this. I believe that there were a number of other options available to them which did not require the use of solitary confinement, unless absolutely needed and for as short a period as possible.

What was needed was more money; more money for staff, for training and for extra resources. This subject is perhaps better for another day but let me leave you with this thought. Phil Dennett was quoted in the JEP last year saying that it costs £50,000 per child per year to stay in the Greenfields centre. In the UK the average cost per child in a secure children’s home is £200,000 per year.

That is quadruple the investment that the States of Jersey put into their most vulnerable and needy young people – perhaps this would evidence the link in relation to recidivism rates for young offenders in Jersey and the high occupancy levels at La Moye’s YOI.

That said, back to the subject of further options to the grandprix system. One choice would have been to spend some money on securing the building further, as an interim measure a few years ago so that young people were not subjected to institutionalised abuse in the guide of a Grandprix system?

I am sure that the £5.5 million needed for the new building could have been used better. Perhaps reducing the size of the sports area by 200% (still leaving it big enough for one full size badminton court and room to watch) could have saved them 1% of the new budget.

That 1% would have given them £55,000 to make the old building a little more fit for purpose and more importantly it would have prevented numerous young people being held unlawfully in solitary confinement for years. The fact that the new building would not have had three badminton courts (like it does now) surely would not have been too problematic for the average occupancy of less than 2 children in residence that it has witnessed since it opened in October 2006.

Who is to blame for all this?

There are many facets to this question.

Was the person who introduced the system responsible? If this is true then Joe Kennedy is to blame.

Was the jersey child protection system to blame? If this is true then all of the members of the Jersey Child Protection Committee were to blame. This would also include Marnie Baudains. Mike Pollard, Mario Lundy, Tony Le Sueur, Phil Dennett, Linda Dodds and Stuart Syvret - the senior figures who have responsibility for vulnerable children.

Were the staff who worked at Greenfields to blame? If this is true then they must all be held responsible.

My view, on the face of it would have been to say that the responsibility is shared amongst them all.

However, I have learnt many things since my ordeal began back in October 2006 and this changes my view of who is responsible and who should be held to account.

I have heard people make judgments of the staff who work at Greenfields and this concerns me greatly - I would like to explain why.

To give an example, when I left the building for the last time in January 2007 I went to the Doctors to get signed off work, and to submit my serious concerns complaint (whistleblowing complaint) as I could no longer face my manager and the stress of working with him or ‘his way’ of working.

That night I received one text messages and two phone calls. I still have the text message. I saved it in my phone, not to disclose, but to remind me of the culture of fear that is so prevalent amongst the staff group in Greenfields.

The text reads,

"Call me at home on ****** and then delete this"

The message and the two phone calls, with the numbers withheld, were from staff at the Greenfields Centre. Why you might ask was there so much secrecy and fear?

In my view, the reason for the fear and subsequent compliance by the young people was due to the Grandprix system. The same fear and subsequent comp;iance of the staff was due to the history of watching others speaking out and repeatedly living to regret it. Staff who may have challenged the status quo, the management or the systems were left wishing they had kept quiet.

What happened to them, they were bullied, they were ostracized, they were excluded, they were made to regret it.

Ultimately, they then watched the same thing happen to me. My experience will have done one thing - it will have cemented that fear further and until something is done to change the culture, further potential inadequacies and errors within the service will remain undetected.

It is this culture that I want to change, it is not just to confined to Greenfields and the residential service it is widespread across the States of Jersey civil service, not in all departments and teams but in too many of them.

Anyway, I digress. Want I want to make clear to readers is that whilst they may still hold the view that the staff are somewhat to blame I hope that I have allowed you to understand that it is not that simple.

I for one do not hold the staff to blame. They do a job that is not highly paid, is very demanding and stressful and they do this to the best of their ability. Furthermore, the training that they are given is facilitated by the very people who ARE responsible for the existence of the Grandprix system, the senior civil servants.

This leads me on to Stuart Syvret. I wish to make it clear that my comments are will be in relation to what I have known of Stuart and not about his political stance - not that I disagree with it, I just want to keep this story away from politics.

Its 3am so I will continue this tomorrow night – also this subject deserves a blog of it’s own!

Reply to comments

Sorry for the delay in posting a new blog. I have had no internet access for the past 3 days so I will try and make up for it in the coming days and continue with my story.

Tonight though I want to respond to some of the comments left and attempt to answer the questions asked of me.

I have not published all of the comments because of potential libellous claims. If you have posted a comment which I have not published perhaps you can take out any names of individuals and then I will publish them in full as they made very interesting reading and would be great to share with other readers.


Who knows any current or previous civil servants?
Comments have been made about other civil servants who have perhaps come and gone, and those that are still suffering whilst working for the States of Jersey. Comments have also made reference to fears of speaking out – I know how you feel, I learned the hard way! As with my previous blog I would like to make it clear that I know there are hundreds of civil servants who are happy working for the States of Jersey. My issue is not to simply criticise the States of Jersey, it is to raise awareness and prevent people senior civil servants from using and abusing their positions of power to the detriment of others. The States of Jersey need to ensure that they have the necessary safeguarding systems in place to stop this being able to go on undetected.

For those of you who do not feel that you can reply to this blog, or speak out in another way through your own fear of reprisal, but would still like to speak with me then I have set up an email account which only I know the password. I can assure you that any information will remain confidential and I will never publish anything which is sent to me without the express permission of the author.

The email address is –

Who is the Pinball?
I don’t think I can answer this question as it is an allegation against a senior civil servant. I have no proof that they were known as Pinball and therefore it would not be for me to comment futher.

Grandprix System – Did senior managers know about it?
Yes, senior managers did know about it. In fact Phil Dennett and Linda Dodds were specifically asked, by Marnie Baudains and Mario Lundy to investigate it in January 2007.

In his report Phil Dennett stated,

“12.7 There are no signs or reports of an abusive regime being operated at either the former or present Greenfields”.

This report, written by Phil Dennett was completed without consultation with a single
person who has ever worked, under modern policies and practices, in a Secure Children’s Home outside of Jersey.

The report written by Linda Dodds actually failed to mention the Grandprix system, not even once. Linda Dodds’ inspection included visiting the Greenfields unit on one occasion and this visit lasted for 25 minutes. Incredible really when you consider that she was being asked to investigate whether vulnerable children were being abused by being locked up in solitary confinement!

Other senior managers were also aware of it.

Was Greenfields inspected?
There are possibly two answers to this question, if you want my view then the answer would be no. No it wasn’t inspected. The reason it would be no is that it was not inspected by anyone who would know how to spot a problem if there was one. The States of Jersey however believe that it was inspected,

How? The Board of Visitors – these were monthly visits by people who were either magistrates and/or good citizens within the local community. Now before I go on, my comments are not against these people as individuals, I am sure they have the best interests of the children at heart. My concern is that they are untrained for this role; do not have up to date knowledge about secure settings and the system was wholly inadequate. This point may be disputed and perhaps it would be good to happen on this blog. My question is this, if the system of inspection at Greenfields was adequate then how did the Grandprix system manage to exist for over 4 years? It is a simple as that.

Was I gagged after the tribunal?
I was not gagged, I was very clear that I would never sign a gagging clause (unless they paid me an obscene amount of money of course!) as I had every intention of exposing the truth about the Grandprix system and the civil servants who I believe are responsible for its existence. Following the employment tribunal I was quiet for a month because I sold my story to the Mail on Sunday, who did not publish it, but it was an exclusive and therefore I had to stay quiet for 30 days. Now I am back and I intend to continue the battles – not for me but for the vulnerable young people in Jersey.

Why did I settle out of court?
I will think further about my answer to this question and come back to you.. I do have some very legitimate reasons, however, some things in the agreement which was reached have not yet been fulfilled and I want to ensure that they do before I write further.

How can I call myself a whistleblower after I agreed I was not?
Just to clarify, what I agreed to was that ‘I wasn’t sacked for whistleblowing’. This doesn’t prevent me from calling myself a whistleblower. I did blow the whistle and I was sacked after I did it. I agreed not to say I sacked for whistleblowing. I have never claimed this; the media did. The reason I never claimed I was sacked for whistleblowing is simple – there is no law in Jersey to substantiate such a claim being made so it was pointless.

It was Simon Bellwood who initiated the settlement?
On 12th March, day 3 of the tribunal, my advocate (Jersey Solicitor) approached Mike Pollard, representing the States of Jersey and asked him if he was aware that my case had made the editorial in the Times newspaper the previous day. He also asked him if he wanted to continue with the tribunal as they were heading for a big car crash. The States of Jersey decided that they would like to talk further and requested an adjournment from the Chair of the tribunal. The Chair agreed and also informed the States of Jersey that the panel were ‘uneasy’ about the failure to disclose the information that had come to light the previous day. Incidentally, this information was also, in part, what led to the suspension of Joe Kennedy the following morning.

What next?
I will continue my story about my employment tomorrow; I hope I have answered some of your questions here. Please feel free to post further comments and I will endeavour to answer them all as best I can.

I would also like to say thank you for the support shown in your comments, despite not publishing some of them as mentioned earlier they have all been 100% supportive about what I am trying to achieve.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Grand Prix System - Continued

My Story - Where it all started

Having worked as an Operations Manager in a Secure Children's Home for Essex County Council since February 2004 an advert in Community Care magazine (19–25 January 2006) looked appealing.

The advert was for the post of Centre Manager at Greenfields in Jersey, Channel Islands.

This advert included the following statement of values:

‘It is our core value that clients and colleagues are treated with respect, consideration, dignity, courtesy and as individuals. We value diversity and welcome applications from all sections of the community’

A statement which I would soon realise had little meaning in reality.

Although Jersey has its own government known as the States of Jersey, and it is not part of the European Union, the job description for the post of Greenfields Centre Manager made explicit reference to National Minimum Care Standards, which is a set of standards to ensure that good practice is adhered to in all United Kingdom children’s homes and secure accommodation provisions.

The States of Jersey also requires all of its social workers to be registered with the General Social Care Council (GSCC) which require all workers and their employers to abide by a Code of Conduct which describes a set of agreed codes of practice and conduct for registered social care workers and their employers.

It was these facts that gave me confidence and assurance that the States of Jersey really meant what they said; that they were committed to good child care practices.

During my interview for this post I raised my concerns about the terminology which had been used by Joe Kennedy (who was soon to become my line manager) and his line manager, Phil Dennett, during my visit to the Greenfields Centre that morning. The terminology which disturbed me was children’s bedrooms being referred to as “cells”. I told them that I was uncomfortable with these terms being used in secure children’s home and stated that I would prefer to call them “bedrooms”.

During my visit the children had also been referred to as ‘Inmates’ and the living areas had been referred to as ‘Association’. Anyone who has ever worked at a prison or visited one will recognise that this is prison terminology and I strongly believe that this has no place in a secure children’s home. Remember, none of these children were sentenced to custody; none were there because they had been convicted of a criminal offence.
It was also at the interview stage that I first heard of the ‘Grand Prix’ system, which I will cover in more detail later.

I was formally offered the post on 13 March 2006 and I relocated to Jersey with my wife and young daughter in July 2006.

When I started work in August 2006 I met the staff. The vast majority were great, in fact really great, they were enthusiastic, capable and very genuine people. As with all places of work however, there were also some which were more suited to working somewhere else, more specifically, somewhere else where they were not tasked with caring for vulnerable children. Luckily there were only a few of these.

It did not take me long to realise that the States of Jersey’s had an odd view of what constituted good child care. My concerns were first raised when I reviewed the care status of the children in residence at the time. There was one resident that I was confused as to their legal status. They were not there on Remand, nor were they subject to a Secure Accommodation Order; these being the only two legal routes into Greenfields.

After some probing questions I leant that this child was subject to a Community Order (a non custodial sentence for a criminal offence) a requirement of this Order included a residency requirement (a requirement imposed to reduce the risk of re-offending such as residing with a family member or a specific children’s home). Having previously worked in a Youth Offending Team for two years in the UK I was well aware of such requirements, however, this one was different. This residency requirement was at Greenfields a secure children's home; a requirement which was clearly designed to remove the child’s liberty and keep them in a custodial setting.

I later learnt that this was considered a positive choice by the States of Jersey as the child had previously been sentenced to La Moye, the adult prison. Given their age it was considered as inappropriate so the custodial sentence had been quashed. A sensible choice in my view. The decision to remove them from La Moye was good, the decision to remove their liberty with a residency requirement as part of a Community Order was illegal. The European Convention on Human Rights does not allow someone's liberty to be taken away without a lawful Order, and certainly not becasue a country has decided not to invest in adequate care provisions for its young and vulnerable children.

This is just one example of the poor and often unlawful practice which the States of Jersey is responsible for, practices which I soon realised were long standing in relation to their provision of social services and child protection systems.

It was in the first few weeks of working for the States of Jersey that I also came to understand the reality of the Grand Prix system. A system which was designed to ensure compliance of children through a fear of the consequences it so clearly represented.

It is this policy that I would like to consider more at this stage. I will go into more detail once readers have had a chance to read , digest and reflect upon it. The States of Jersey will, and have previously, argued that the policy represents the system in its ‘darkest light’ and in reality it did not keep children in solitary confinement as the policy suggests. We will consider this point further in later blogs, but first read it and offer your comments as you see fit.

I have attached some of the pages from the Grand Prix System in this blog and due to restrictions on size, I have opened another blog called, Grand Prix System Continued, where I have attachd the rest of the policy document which I photocopied in my final days at the Greenfields Centre. This is the same copy which was given to senior civil servants, the Jersey Employment Tribunal and to the media.

Saturday, 12 April 2008


I have decided to write this blog so that I can tell my story and share my experiences of working for the States of Jersey. If you wish to make a comment or ask a question, please could you either use your real name or create a name to ensure anonymity. This will allow other users and myself to identify how many people are leaving comments and create a forum where we can have a meaningful dialogue amongst users. The aim of my blog is to talk about my experiences as manager of the Greenfields Centre and hopefully it will encourage other people who have had difficult experiences working for the States of to tell their own stories. It is time for change. Whilst there are thousands of happy States of Jersey employees there are also a significant number who have had their lives turned upside down through an abuse of power and a culture of stamping out those who challenge the status quo. Issues such as these need to be addressed and this can only be done if people stand up and be counted so that the States of Jersey have no choice but to listen and to make the necessary changes.

My employment tribunal was settled part way through. My view - it was settled just before the evidence that I was giving started to raise serious questions about the conduct of some very senior civil servants within Health and Social Services, Education, Sport and Culture, Home Affairs and the Chief Ministers Department.

My story will make reference to the following people:

Joe Kennedy - Manager of Secure and Residential Services (currently suspended following evidence given at the employment tribunal)
Phil Dennett - Coordinator of the Children's Executive
Linda Dodds - Child Protection Team Manager
Tony Le Sueur - Head of the Children's Service
Marnie Baudains - Directorate Manager of Social Services
Micheala Clifford - Head of Health and Social Services Human Resources
Madeleine Davies - Human Resources Business Partner for Education Sport and Culture
Mario Lundy - Former Assistant Director of Education, Sport and Culture (Now Director)
Mike Pollard - Chief Executive for Health and Social Services
Tom McKeon - Former Director of Education, Sport and Culture
Steven Austin-Vautier - Chief Executive of Home Affairs
Mick Pinel - Head of Human Resources for Chief Ministers Department
Bill Ogley - Chief Executive of Chief Ministers Department
Frank Walker - Chief Minister

I know there are many people who will have unanswered questions about my case but I really want to tell the story from start to finish in a chronological order. If however you have any questions that you wish to ask me I will do my best to answer them in due course.