Friday, 14 November 2008

Finally- the truth about the Grand Prix system and the Cover up led by the States of Jersey

Today has taken a long time in coming.

There have been many battles along the way, some have been won some have been lost.

Today however, I believe we won the war for vulnerable children in Jersey who come into contact with the criminal justice and welfare system.

Despite the stress, the worry, the bullying and intimidation, the lies, the deceit and condemnation, today has made the whole ordeal worth while.

Never again will a vulnerable child held in the secure estate in Jersey, be locked up upon arrival - a time when they desperately need to be cared for and reassured.

Never again will a vulnerable child have to endure lengthy periods of solitary confinement.

Today has been a big day for those of us who have been fighting for justice for these children. It has also been one of the biggest kicks in the teeth for the politicians and senior managers.

The very people who have spent the past 18 months telling you all that I and Senator Syvret are lying, that we are disaffected.

In fact, they have been so hell bent on denying that anything was abusive that they have scored the most spectacular own goal yet.

The boomerang of political spin has finally come full circle and hit them square in the ass!

So, where do we start.

I intend to post a series of blogs as the days unfold. I also want you all to shout about my blog from the rooftops, email your friends. If a few of you can be bothered even post fliers around the island. If someone can get some car window stickers made then do it.

We need to expose the truth, prevent the usual bullshit spin from diluting the truly damning evidence within the report.

In my view, this report is even more damning that the infamous Cathy Bull report back in 2001.

I will hopefully be attending a number of media interviews over the coming days. Breakfast time with Roger Bara at 7.05am on Tuesday booked in so far and the JEP.

So that I am prepared for these interviews, so that I can provide the evidence needed to counter the usual spin from the States of Jersey I need some help. I need you to help me collate all of the statements, that the senior civil servants and politicians have given to the press in the past 18 months.

It is this evidence that I will use to call for a full and independent investigation into the handling of my original complaint and about the Grand Prix system.

If anyone can help with this, searching through Community Care website, the States Greffe, all of the major press websites and provide me with a link and their statements.

This can only work for statements that give direct quotes, it cannot be paraphrased statements.

Once I have this evidence I will be writing to the Chief Minister and Senator Shenton requesting the immediate suspension of any individual that can be proven to have been involved in the cover up of the Grand Prix system.

I will also be making a further statement to the Jersey Police with regards to any of these individuals who have perverted the course of justice or misconduct in public office.

You can access the full report by the Howard League on http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/jersey/7727840.stm

To give just one example of the kind of evidence that I am after consider the following;

After I had made my original complaint on the 1st January 2008, Marnie Baudain, Mario Lundy and Tony Le Seuer requested that Phil Dennett undertake an investigation into my complaint.

The terms of reference given to Phil Dennett were as follows;

"...investigate all professional practice and policy issues at the Greenfields Secure Unit in order to establish whether quality of care, welfare and human rights safeguards are of an appropriate standard and quality".
In Section 12 of his report, Phil Dennett stated,
"12.7 There are no signs or reports of an abusive regime being operated in either the former or present Greenfields"
Now, I am no lawyer, but does this not prove that Phil Dennett has been involved in a cover up?
If not, it certainly proves that he is incapable of carrying out his job.
He was either aware of it and covered it up or he was not aware of it and should have been.
There is plenty of evidence available we just have to find it. I know that the following people have made statements about the Grand Prix system;
Joe Kennedy
Phil Dennett
Senator Vibert
Bill Ogley
Senator Walker
Marnie Baudains
Mario Lundy
Mike Pollard
Steven Austin-Vautier
Tom McKeon
Senator Perchard
See what information you can get for me.
Please, this is very important.
I am not interested in hear say, just fact. Only factual evidence that can be corroborated will be published on this blog. Any rumours however will still be gratefully received but not published!
Simon

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Simon

Vindicated twice - first Upex now the Howard League

Alas I don't share your optimism that children will not be locked up in future.

If the authorities stay true to form - and there is no reason to suspect otherwise - they will say and spin that things will change, new minister, external inspection etc etc....but the reality will be same as before. We have a Minister for Health, we have a Minister for Education - both services are cr*p a Minister for children does not guarantee child safety or safeguarding.

They will call in independent reviews and control but control the media releases and content of their reports. Same old, same old.

Sorry to sound cynical but have been around a long time and know how they work.

Yet another sad week all round for Jersey

Simon Bellwood - The Whistleblower said...

"We have a Minister for Health, we have a Minister for Education - both services are cr*p a Minister for children does not guarantee child safety or safeguarding"

I agree, the idea of a Children's Minister is rather silly in light of the current evidence.

If this were to occur, we could end up with Senator Perchard as the individual who is asigned to protect Jersey's most vulnerable children.

Lets rethink that one for a nano second!

My view would be that Jersey create a children's commisioner.

Another Emma Martins I hear you say; I know it is not ideal but that is better than a Perchard Minister for Children.

The secret for me is that the rights of Jersey children are enshrined in law.

Their rights should be protected.

It is time that Jersey can no longer lock up vulnerable children due to their attitide and get away with it.

The 'Jersey Way' (or jersification)is under scrutiny. It can no longer be regarded as immunity from modern world standards.

They will now have to justify their actions as being lawful and in the best interested of the average person and not just the rich!

Times have changed, Jersey's custodial system has just been thrown into the 21st Century.

Simon Bellwood

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Glad you were vindicated but am a bit cynical that anything will change. Good luck anyway

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and Thank You.

Only one person from your list really knows about the Grand Prix.

The others may have been easily persuaded.

To their own peril.

Anonymous said...

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2007/09/07/105628/exclusive-uk-social-worker-blows-the-whistle-on-jersey.html

Jersey chief executive Bill Ogley also said Syvret's allegations about children's services in Jersey had been levelled "without evidence" to support them - a claim Syvret and others strongly dispute.






bill ogley also stated

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2007/08/30/105623/jersey-full-response-by-the-islands-chief-executive-bill.html

Jersey: Full response by the island's chief executive Bill Ogley

Posted: 30 August 2007 | Subscribe Online

Bill Ogley, chief executive of the States of Jersey, responds to Community Care’s questions

We have received information on a system known as “Grand Prix” which we understand was in use at a secure unit called Greenfields. Why was this in use?

Greenfields is a state of the art £4.5 million Secure Unit for vulnerable and at risk children between the age of 10 and school leaving age. It became operational in September 2006.

This brand new facility replaces an old and moribund secure unit which was called Les Chenes (which still sits on the Greenfields site). The physical fabric of and the working practices at Les Chenes rightly drew criticism from Dr Kathie Bull, who conducted an independent public inquiry into the Les Chenes service and subsequently, other services for children, during 2001 and 2002. The creation of the new Greenfields facility was the direct and tangible outcome of that criticism.
Article continues below the advertisement

In the interim period – that is, between the findings of Dr Kathie Bull’s report and the opening of the new Greenfields facility – measures were taken to stabilise Les Chenes and create an orderly and safe environment for the children who were cared for there - against a background of children absconding, instances of children harming other children there, and assaults upon staff. One of the measures taken was to introduce a system of rewards and incentives to establish improved behaviours. This was called the “Grand Prix” system. It is based on Formula 1 Racing terms – such as “qualifier”, “grid”, being on the “track” etc.

All the evidence suggests that this Grand Prix system was successful in achieving its purpose - to the extent that it was no longer necessary and was phased out.

Are there currently any reasons to suggest practice at Greenfields is not protecting children’s rights adequately?

The policies, practices and staff training in place at Greenfields have been deemed to be robust and appropriate by a senior professional – the States of Jersey’s child protection manager – who is independent of the management of Greenfields.

also

In response to the Senator Syvret’s continuing allegations, the Council of Ministers has made it clear that its overriding concern in this matter is the protection of children.

To date, the Senator has made numerous claims but has produced no evidence and has stated that he is not aware of any immediate danger to a child at this moment.
It is obvious there are lies within the statment of Ogley, and how he described grande prix

voiceforchildren said...

Simon.

You and Stuart have been completeley vindicated by the Howard League's report. Our Media will no doubt carry on the establishment spin hopefully there will be real "journalists" that will pick the bones of the report and expose our goverment.

Just one of the many things that jump out is the Lenny Harper investigation into possible horrific child murders and undescribable abuse of our most vunerable cost £4.5 million and the cost has been critisised by members of our goverment.

Greenfields was built for £4.5 million where, according to the Howard League of Penal Reform, was used for illegal and abusive treatment against our most vunerable (children) and our goverment will argue it was money well spent!!

"The Jersey way" you really couldn't make it up!!

Anonymous said...

It’s quite obvious that reading through the Howard League report – The current ‘principle manager’ of Greenfields and the other homes, is not the correct person for the job. I wish the ministers would stop covering up his inadequate managerial standards. Can they not see what turmoil has been caused by him – from the Bellwood case to the present day failings. I urge everybody to read the report – it makes very very interesting reading indeed.

Anonymous said...

Perchard stated on tv that the Howard League report "validated the policies that we are already working on" yet Ms Dodds says in her report that effective policies were in place when she investigated Greenfields, so why do they need changing? She also comments on the wondeful atmosphere that she found,the Howard League found a demoralised and divided staff group who lack confidence in the management

Anonymous said...

it is the current senior manager at greenfields which staff are so divided about as mentioned in the howard league report.he had been recently suspended but to the astonishment of many staff was returned

TonyTheProf said...

What I would like to see is a proper timetable - we will implement this by such a date - or we will be held to explain why not - most of what I have heard from Jim Perchard is that matters relating to childcare raised by this and reviews are "in progress as we speak". The Town Park is also in progress, as we speak!

Kraków Crapaud said...

Simon, I tried to send an email to thejerseywhistleblower@hotmail.com but it errored: mailbox unavailable.

Do you monitor
simonbellwood@gmail.com

BTW I am sure you are right that most people in Jersey don't know anything except for the JEP version.

I am increasingly concerned that they don't really care either.

(:p

Simon Bellwood - The Whistleblower said...

The email address thejerseywhictleblower@hotmail.com is no longer in use.

I can be contacted on bellwoodsimon@hotmail.co.uk

Smon

Anonymous said...

Simon

To steal your headline "Finally the truth about Senator Elect wannabee Home Affairs Minister Le Marquand"

This is breathtakingly awful, but the above has given his views about the Howard League report to Channel 103 and this is what he said:

"HOWARD LEAGUE REPORT 'NAIVE'

The man who wants to be Jersey's next Home Affairs Minister has criticised a report into the island's youth justice system.

Senator-elect Ian Le Marquand says calls to stop locking up children are naive.

The former magistrate has been giving Channel 103 his response to the Howard League for Penal Reform's findings.

He thinks punishments need to be tougher.

He's been complaining for years that existing provisions are not strong enough and the courts had no effective enforceable punishment for children under 15.

"We're getting groups of youngsters who consider themselves absolutely untouchable under law who just carried on offending and offending and the courts could do absolutely nothing about it."

" I want to go in the opposite direction - but in a controlled and measured way."

He is like something out of Dickens - but what a sad reflection on the values of this island and its people as they came out in their droves to support this man in the recent elections

Sorry but for me this just reinforces my belief that this island is not fit to govern itself. It puts the most vulnerable people in its society at risk and does not even have the wit or insight to realise it. It is time that intervention from the UK or Europe is considered to remove these idiots from power before they do any more damage.

Anonymous said...

Le Marquand's criticism

Simon Bellwood - The Whistleblower said...

Please ead the following extract from the Politics on January 13th 2007

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/programmes/politics_show/7186308.stm

Institutional child abuse
Claims that children as young as 13 were routinely punished with solitary confinement by a special school in Jersey have been investigated by BBC South West's Politics Show.

The allegations come as Jersey's children's services face the second major independent inquiry in six years.

In 2001 a confidential report, seen by the BBC, condemned policies, staff and facilities at Les Chenes, the island's secure children's home and school.
The report singled out the practice of locking all children in the secure unit as a routine part of the admission process as "most unacceptable".

But it's now clear that placing all new residents in isolation for an initial 24 hours remained the official policy at the unit until 2006.

The report's author, British childcare expert Dr Kathy Bull, produced a major published report criticising Jersey's provision for children with behavioural difficulties the following year.

In the wake of her findings, Les Chenes was rebranded as Greenfields but remained in the same premises until the opening of a purpose-built replacement in 2006.

Chris Knights ended up in Les Chenes in summer 2002 after developing an early alcohol addiction and committing a series of petty crimes.

When his behaviour failed to improve he claims he was placed in isolation for two months with just two visits per week from his family. He was 14.

"Following a kick-off I was put into a cell basically for about two weeks and then following that I was basically in a room completely isolated for about two months," he says.

"I used to think about my funeral. I used to think about killing myself every day"

"I broke down in tears when a member of staff brought my dinner."

Knights, now 19 and serving a three-year prison sentence for drugs offences in the island's prison, attributes lasting clinical depression to his period of isolation.

"I used to think about my funeral. I used to think about killing myself every day.

"I became clinically depressed. I broke down, I started self harming. There was complete isolation which caused my depression which is something I still suffer from today."
Another, more recent, Greenfields resident spoke to the BBC anonymously. Describing the home as 'more of a prison' she claimed that she had been locked in her room for 24 hours on arrival.

"With a better, more enlightened, caring and loving approach many of these people might have had good lives"

Joe Kennedy was appointed to run Greenfields in 2003 and introduced a behaviour management régime called "Greenfields Grand Prix". It was made clear to all new inmates that isolation was a prominent part of the Grand Prix system.

They received an introductory document explaining the rules and consequences of good and bad behaviour.

The racing analogy prescribed "the pits" - a period of at least 24 hours in a cell - for bad behaviour. The document also made it clear that a 24 hour-period of isolation was a routine part of the admission process.
Peer condemns

Lord Carlile QC, from the Howard League for Penal Reform, condemned the régime described in the document:

"As I understand the system, each child when taken into that establishment was automatically placed in solitary confinement for 24 hours.

"That in my view is a brutal and inhuman form of treatment which could not be better designed to disaffect young people."
Concerns about practices at Greenfields - since 2006 housed in a new building on the same site - are part of a wider crisis in Jersey.

"Another major inquiry into the island's children's services is now under way, as is a police investigation into historic child abuse.

Senator Stuart Syvret, Jersey's former minister for Health and Social Security, believes he was dismissed for demanding action from his civil servants when he became aware of the practices at Greenfields.

The Jersey government insists that Syvret's dismissal was unrelated to his concerns about the home.
The whistle-blower who told Syvret about the 'Grand Prix' system has also been sacked. British social worker Simon Bellwood says he was appalled at what he found when he was appointed to a post at Greenfields.

He says: "That routine punishment - isolation - in that scenario without question is institutional abuse."

He believes he was dismissed for criticising the behaviour management system, though his employers say it was for incompetence.

Bellwood continues: "What concerned me most was that it was quite clear that the system was able to go on without a single senior manager or inspector picking up that the system was abusive to children."

Joe Kennedy insists that the practices described in his policy document don't reflect the reality of life in Greenfields and he's adamant the periods of isolation described were never actually implemented.

He says: "That is implied in the document but, as the running record will show, that didn't happen.

"They were actually brought out for fresh air and exercise. There was a vestibule, they were brought out there for meals. There was a shower and loo facility they could access.

"It seems to me that there has
been a literal reading of this and it's been seen in the darkest light and I can understand this."
Kennedy, who has a professional background in the prison service and no social work qualification, refused to show the BBC the home's running records on the grounds of confidentiality.

British child protection expert Andrew Williamson is currently conducting a major inquiry into children's services on the island, due to report in April.

Jim Perchard, Jersey's assistant minister for Health and Social Security says: "I'm totally committed to ensuring Jersey's children's services are of the highest quality and I have every confidence in Andrew Williamson's forthcoming report.

"I don't want to pre-empt its findings by commenting in detail now, but we will implement its recommendations at the earliest opportunity."

Meanwhile, Senator Syvret hopes the report and its aftermath will provide a clean break with the past in Jersey's children's services.

He says: "I can't help but look at these people and often the very sad and extensive criminal careers they've ended up having and saying honestly that we the States of Jersey are not responsible for a lot of those kids going the way they did. With a better, more enlightened, caring and loving approach many of them might have had good lives."

The Politics Show for the South West, with Jon Sopel, and Chris Rogers on Sunday 13 January at 12:00 GMT on BBC One.

Simon