Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A snippet of evidence - At the request of the Chief Minster

This is perhaps the most important and most distressing blog that I have written to date.

Recent events have accumulated which has left Senator Syvrey and I on one side (the side of the children) and politicians and senior civil servants on the other. They have claimed there is no evidence.

As you know I have called for a public inquiry into the Grand Prix system and Le Chene/Greenfields and I will be submitting a letter to the Chief Minister with the evidence he has requested in the next day or so.

They have a significant amount of evidence already but it is convenient for them to say otherwise.

I will publish that letter in full (minus any libellous bits) on this blog as well as submitting it to the media and all States Members.

Frank Walker and Co have been very busy today. Following the meeting at the Pomme Dor Hotel there was an invitation for the local BBC to go to Greenfields.

No doubt in the next few days there will be a nice piece of footage which attempts to show that Greenfields is all rosy and that the staff love it.

Whilst this was going on I was involved in a very distressing interview over the road from Greenfields at the JEP offices.

This involved two people.

One was a former resident of Greenfields, during the times of the Grand Prix era when Joe Kennedy was manager.

The other was a resident in 1995 when Mario Lundy was manager. Remember the Howard League's view that before the Grand Prix system it has been alleged that things were much worse.

I will not, and cannot, go into detail regarding the content of these interviews but I have had permission from the two interviewees to publish a small snippet of what was disclosed.

The interviewee who was at Greenfields when the Grand Prix was in force, when Joe Kenned was manager discussed the following,

Question "Was the Grand Prix system there when you were there?

Answer "Yes"

Question "What happened?"

Answer "they take you upstairs to a bedroom where you'd be locked in a bedroom for 24hours..."

"If you fall asleep they removed your mattress"

Question "What happened if you didn't behave?

"we were in there [the Pits] for four nights" "if you ran away you got put in the cells for three days".

"There were loads of people in there (the Pits, solitary confinement), there was......was always in there...basically lived there...would run away and get put in the cell for three days".



The interview with the former resident of Le Chene stated the following;

Question "You said earlier on you were in Le Chene, is that correct?"

Answer "Yes" "I first went there in 1994"

"The judge remanded me and my mate back into secure custody at Le Chene...28 days remand"

Question "You said secure remand, what was that?"

Answer "a cell..you were stripped...to boxer shorts...there was a crash mat and there was just three speakers on the roof and then that's it."

Question "What else was in the room, quilt, blanket?"

Answer "No that was it, just you in boxer shorts and a crash mat. The Courts had said, it was a big thing, we had to be kept in secure."

Question "Who was in charge at this time"

Answer "Who was in Charge? It was Mario Lundy."

"There is loads more..."

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

those poor kids. This is it. Surely the establishment cannot extrapolate themselves from this. Good on those two formee detainees f or coming forward

Anonymous said...

I think I can see some cracks appearing ........ Quick before Frank retires!! 'Polyfilla' won't do it chaps. Try Granite Products!

Anonymous said...

The two people who have spoken to the Jep are very brave for speaking up.respect. lots of people like them could tell similar stories if they new what was happening right now. but some of the staff in high positions might call them liars.

Anonymous said...

Those poor kids!! We are not talking about cheeky scamps that have been caught scrumping, we are talking about vicious, violent and dangerous individuals who have been locked up to protect the public.

ask yourself this. the 2 boys that tortured and murdered James Bulger. were they just poor kids too.

I believe in human rights, but I also believe that along with human rights comes responsinility, and if someone commits an act that has caused pain and hurt to an innocent individual then you must face the consequencs.

if you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

If it was your mother that was mugged, or your wife punched in the face. Or your house that had petrol poured through the letter box, Or your child/grand child offered drugs, (things that have all happened to people I know by these so called poor kids) then I wonder whether you would be feeling the same.

I remember a story back in the 70's in New Zealand. Kids were put in solitary confinement for a) their own safety, b) the safety of the staff and other residents. A new manager stopped this practise. It soon reverted back when one of these 'poor kids' slashed a care workers throat.
He(the new manager)lost his job too!

Anonymous said...

From the looks of todays rag editorial, they are finally accepting that all was not well at Les Chenes.

Only - now they're saying it's Stuart's fault!

Pathetic isn't it?

Anonymous said...

the two boys responsible for the murder of jamie bulger had been seriously neglected and abused now I am not condoning what they did, but children are not born bad they are made to grow that way by adults.Both boys were sent to separate secure therapeutic units, with the emphasis on therapeutic .
I beleive they made good progress there.

Anonymous said...

Keep at it Simon-they will crack!

Walkers clowns will try and spin their way out of this too-at the very least they will call those guys liars who are in it for the conpensation and try to discredit their statements to you- but those pesky little survivors keep getting in the way throughout this whole sordid episode dont they?.

No way-this has become too big to be swept under the carpet any more and everyone I speak too uses the words "cover up" and most applaud the way you and Stuart Syvret have exposed this Islands failings to the world.One thing that comes up every time is that people dont expect there to be any truthful outcome of any abuse investigations until the UK take over this mess.

Another thing that screams out time and again during Frank Walkers TV interviews is the way he trys to portray himself as some kind of serious polititian with grave concerns over the injustices done to his cabinet and personal integrity!.

Is that guy for real?

He just dosent get that any leader with a sense of honour would have accepted ultimate responsibility for his subordinates failings and resigned his office-instead he seems to take any critisism of the States as a personal attack, blindly sticking to the brief his spin doctors have given him!-not the reactions of a statesman Frank, not by a long chalk.

The survivors of abuse in Jersey really do deserve better than these grasping incompetant fools!.

Debbie said...

"Those poor kids!! We are not talking about cheeky scamps that have been caught scrumping, we are talking about vicious, violent and dangerous individuals who have been locked up to protect the public."

You speak as though you know these youngsters and what crimes they were involved in...I suspect nothing less than attempted murder the way you're going on! No matter what they did, they were still kids and although remanded to a secure unit, they didn't deserve to be treated in the way they were!

"If it was your mother that was mugged, or your wife punched in the face. Or your house that had petrol poured through the letter box, Or your child/grand child offered drugs, (things that have all happened to people I know by these so called poor kids) then I wonder whether you would be feeling the same."

I know for sure I would feel exactly as I do now...NO kid deserves the kind of abuse they were treated to at Greenfields or Le Chene. Something caused those youngsters to go off the rails and locking them into solitary confinement for days on end with deprivation of sleep, nothing more than a pair of boxer shorts to wear and a mat to crash on isn't the answer. What they needed was someone to listen to their woes, someone with a bit of compassion to help them see the error of their ways and perhaps some sort of anger management class so they could leave the unit a better citizen then the day they were sent there. One would hope they'd be offered some decent aftercare service so they could have someone to turn to for help and advice whenever they needed too.

Keep your chin up Simon and keep at it. There's no shame in what you're doing and you'll win through in the end.

Anonymous said...

Simon,

Nobody expected you to cause such a fuss; most people would just disappear back to the UK.

You have fought on belief and managed to improve the arrangements for Jersey’s children and had your career taken away in the process.

Many H&SS department employees are experiencing real problems, equal to Greenfields. They are not currently under investigation, but equally dysfunctional.

Does the general public how many investigations have taken place at Greenfields? It has taken two years to get to where you are now. Should all the staff tell their stories again – but this time, have them looked at independently. Does the Howard League provide that sort of service?

Look again at all the information gathered during previous investigations. Could it be that valuable evidence has been missed in error!

The problem must soon become clear to the politicians.

Or

Are they intent on ignoring any credible statements.

Jim Perchard was in the jep today saying “He has asked Senator Syvret on repeated occasions to provide evidence to support his allegations, and he has yet to provide that evidence. In fact he has not provided me with any evidence at all. It is time for Stuart to put up or shut up”

Why do ministers need Stuart Syvret to provide evidence?

An easier idea would be to ask every staff member:

What stories have they heard?

What have they witnessed?

All H&SS departmental staff were trained in good record keeping.

Have these records been searched in detail?

Have they disappeared or been changed?

Simon Bellwood - The Whistleblower said...

Further information.

Some very kind people have helped with linking a lot of information together for us all.

You can hear all recent radio interviews with the local BBC on the following link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/jersey/content/articles/2008/11/19/howardleague_report_feature.shtml

You can also see some of the TV coverage now on You Tube at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheTruthJersey

More TV stuff will be added as we get it through. If anyone else has links that could be added that would be great.

Also, more comments made here the more readers will we get.

So far the Greenfields staff have been very quiet. You are all very well supported, the criticism is at the managers and the politicians.

I have never held any staff responsible for the Grand Prix and never will. It was the fault of the managers.

Simon

Anonymous said...

Sadly Simon, in the care system all too often staff are afraid of the retributions of their so called "Managers" Managers who all too often are not trained in child care, Managers who will manipulate staff, anything for an easy life. Managers who do not have the training, professionalism or experience to realise that kids in residential establishments, above anything need to feel safe, warm, comfortable, regular meals are all part of the theraputic healing for kids who have been damaged. I worked in a school for EBD kids, the Care Managers were inexperienced, they did their job badly and got their salary at the end of the month. Most staff were either afraid of them or accepted the carrots dangled in front of them to make the managers life as easy as possible. Like you I blew the whistle on care issues, that establishment is now history.

The theraputic well being of all kids placed in a residential situation should be the top priority, the regime which introduced solitary confinement, the pits, etc., etc., should be held accountable not only for their inhumanity but also for the further damage done to children who had already suffered deprivation which resulted in them becoming offenders. The regime who introduced this Grand Prix system are vile and downright sadistic child abusers.

To those workers who were through no fault of their own ordered to carry out their instructions in this vile regime I beg you to speak out, for the sake of the children of your island, children who are still in abusive situations through no fault of their own, children who will end up in the care system let their tomorrows be better than those who suffered under this regime. You can help them, you can also help to make sure that this never happens again. You can above everything, through your disclosures make sure that these managers, civil servants etc., will be held accountable.

Simon Bellwood - The Whistleblower said...

Just a reminder -

Draft Hansard of States Assembly 1 April 2008

2.4 The Deputy of St. Martin of the Chief Minister

Now that Mr. Bellwood's appeal to the Employment Tribunal has been compromised, will the Chief Minister explain why the case was contested? Who was responsible for that decision? What cost was involved? Why a member of Greenfields staff has been suspended and whether there will be an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Bellwood's dismissal?
Senator F.H. Walker (The Chief Minister):
The case was contested because it was considered that, notwithstanding certain procedural errors in the manner in which Mr. Bellwood was dismissed, there were sound reasons for his dismissal. During the course of the tribunal, Mr. Bellwood agreed, as had previously been alleged, not I have to say by Mr. Bellwood, he agreed that he had not been dismissed for whistle-blowing. As the States had already accepted that there were procedural errors in his dismissal there was no further point in continuing with the hearing. A joint statement was therefore agreed and the application was formally withdrawn. The decision to contest the application was made by the Health and Social Services Department in conjunction with the Chief Minister's Department. I cannot release the details of the out-of-court settlement because the agreement was confidential to both parties, but I can say that the settlement did not exceed Mr. Bellwood's contractual and statutory entitlements. A member of the Greenfields staff was subsequently suspended following the emergence of allegations made during the course of the Employment Tribunal hearing. There will now be an independent investigation into those allegations and this begins today. It was announced on the day of the out-of-court settlement, which was 12th March, that there will be a full independent inquiry into all of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Bellwood's dismissal and what lessons may be learnt from it. It was announced yesterday that this inquiry will be conducted by Professor Robert Upex, an expert in the field of employment law whose name and C.V. (curriculum vitae) along with others were provided to the States Employment Board by the Director of J.A.C.S. (Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Services).
2.4.1 The Deputy of St. Martin:
Will the Minister agree that there are really 3 major decisions surrounding the whole case? One was to dismiss Mr. Bellwood, the second one was obviously to defend the claim and the third was to give way halfway through the case. Will the Minister advise the House whether those decisions were made by civil servants or by Ministers?
Senator F.H. Walker:
Ultimately they were made by Ministers and I have to say I stand by them.
2.4.2 Senator S. Syvret:
When Mr. Bellwood, who I did not know at that time, came to me in the early part of last year with his case, it was immediately clear to me that the case against him by management was an absolute farrago of nonsense. I put this view to the senior officers in the department. They --
The Deputy Bailiff:
Sorry, this must be a question --
Senator S. Syvret:
Yes, it is going to be a question. They told me that no, they insisted that everything was procedurally perfectly in order when it manifestly was not. Does the Chief Minister think it acceptable for senior civil servants to lie to their Ministers in this manner? After Panorama last night - you bloody idiot. [Member: Oh!]
The Deputy Bailiff:
Senator, Senator, that was -- one moment. Senator Syvret, that was completely unparliamentary language. I must ask you to withdraw it.
Senator S. Syvret:
I will withdraw the word "bloody", Sir.
The Deputy Bailiff:
Now there was a question asked of the Chief Minister.
Senator F.H. Walker:
The case against Mr. Bellwood was not a farrago of nonsense. There were and remain good reasons for his dismissal and I have no doubt that those will all be fully explained and clarified during the inquiry into all the circumstances surrounding his dismissal. Sir, I too deplore the fact that the Senator has chosen, yet again, to say that senior civil servants have lied to him. There is no evidence to support that and again I am confident that that too will be made clear during the inquiry.
2.4.3 Deputy R.G. Le HĂ©rissier:
Would the Chief Minister confirm that given the embarrassment of the agreement that was reached and therefore the information which was denied to the public, that all the information that was denied as a result of the abrupt termination of the inquiry will now be revealed publicly through the findings of the Professor's report?
Senator F.H. Walker:
Yes, Sir, absolutely.
2.4.4 The Deputy of St. Martin:
I hold no brief, either Mr. Bellwood or the man suspended, I have never met Mr. Bellwood and certainly the man suspended I have only met twice about 4 years ago. But I think it is quite fair to say there have been 2 casualties as a result of the problem up there. Could I ask the Chief Minister; will Mr. Bellwood be reinstated? Secondly, I have heard this morning - we all heard this morning which I think was good news - that the matter of the suspension was going to be started, I think, either today or tomorrow, soon. Can I, Sir, have reassurance that the matter of the suspension will be dealt with prior to the full inquiry therefore the person suspended will not have to suffer further duress while waiting for the outcome of the review?
Senator F.H. Walker:
Yes, Sir, the Deputy is correct when he said the inquiry into the suspension starts today and it is intended that that will be a relatively short-running inquiry and should be complete, I hope, within the next few days, and certainly in advance of the full inquiry into all the circumstances surrounding Mr. Bellwood's dismissal. But, Sir, I will maintain or repeat another point; there were and remain good reasons for Mr. Bellwood's dismissal.
The Deputy of St. Martin:
I did ask whether Mr. Bellwood would be reinstated.
Senator F.H. Walker:
Well, Sir, so long as good reasons remain for his dismissal he will not be reinstated. The only possible circumstances I could envisage in which that might happen is if the Committee of Inquiry came out strongly and clearly and supported his view that he was wrongfully dismissed and found indeed that to be the case. But I very much doubt that that will be the outcome. But of course it is a fully independent inquiry and we will have to await its conclusion.
2.4.5 The Deputy of St. Martin:
Could I just press the Chief Minister to come back? I feel rather strange that Mr. Bellwood has received a full compensation for being sacked yet he will not be offered his job back because he was guilty of something. I find it hard to follow.
Senator F.H. Walker:
The Deputy misunderstands the position. There were and remain good reasons for Mr. Bellwood's dismissal. Now I cannot repeat that too often. The problem from the States perspective was that there was a technical glitch in the way in which he was dismissed. It was purely technical in that he was not given the notice that he was entitled to. That is the only problem and that is why the settlement was within his statutory rights and well below - well below - the figure Mr. Bellwood originally requested to settle the issue some months before the tribunal sat.
2.4.6 Deputy R.G. Le HĂ©rissier:
I wonder if the Chief Minister could clarify; there are an awful lot of inquiries going on or being announced and I think we are all getting slightly confused. There seems to be an immediate inquiry starting today with a narrow remit and then a broader inquiry into Greenfields. Could he clarify how those 2 inquiries are going to run; whether they are concurrent and when each of them are going to report?
Senator F.H. Walker:
I thought I had answered that in the response to the Deputy of St. Martin. The inquiry into the suspension starts today, as both Deputies have correctly observed, and as I said in answer to the Deputy of St. Martin, we anticipate that being concluded within a very short timescale. The full inquiry into all the circumstances of Mr. Bellwood's dismissal will start when that has finished and that will take much longer to resolve. It will be a full public inquiry and Members already have details of the expert who has been employed to chair it.
2.4.7 The Deputy of St. Martin:
I have got to thank the Chief Minister because I really felt this morning I may well have got very few answers because everything is sub judice until we had a review. So I think it is refreshing the answers I have had this morning. But one question remains; when the full review on Greenfields with - I cannot remember the name of the gentleman who will be doing it - but will there be a full panel working with him and will the States have any say in the make up of that panel?
Senator F.H. Walker:
Are we talking here about Mr. Bellwood's dismissal or the Andrew Williamson inquiry into Greenfields?
The Deputy of St. Martin:
The Bellwood dismissal.
Senator F.H. Walker:
No, Sir, it is not planned that there will be a tribunal sitting with Professor Ubex, it is planned that he will conduct the inquiry himself.



Mark Richardson
Communications Officer
Chief Minister's Department | Communications Unit |
| PO Box 140 | Jersey | JE4 8QT
T: +44(0)1534 440422 | F: +44(0)1534 440408 |
E: m.richardson2@gov.je

Anonymous said...

they have tied themselves up in knots. If I were frank I would be rhinking of an exit strategy that does not leave all the brown stuff over me.

Anonymous said...

I work for health and bullying is an accepted part of the culture. The senior managers are to a man ct@p and corrupt. Spin city they call it. They got their jobs becsuse they would follow the groupthink. The CEO is so to blame along with bill ugly - they are the major part of the problem but they have lots to lose they went native quickly

Anonymous said...

The way forwrad is now quite clear to me - we actually have to have this whole episode humanised again - we have had so much spin and rhetoric regarding policies and investigations - it is time to get back to basics and consider the subject matter - CHILDREN.
The blogger who makes reference to the Bulger case really shold read up a little more - no a lot more - to appreciate what a complex issue we are dealing with here ..........This island thankfully does not have the same level of deprevation that inner cities have in the UK - when we make comparisions it should be against other micro states and not England. If the SOJ had employed a professional in child care rather than a prison officer at Greenfields maybe we would not be in this position today - One shold really ask why were the children offensing in the first place, what type of home lives did they have - have they come from homes where teh values and morals of teh majority were not evidenced only to be locked away and humiliated by teh authorities.........what is the point of that........I respect that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but teh lock em up and throw away teh key brigade are just plain ignorant!Restorative justive prevents recidivism the whole way of thinking regards imprisonment is changing because the old ways do not work - Victims of crime are also being given a place within the criminal justice system - people must look at the Jersey issues in a whole new light - If Stuart and Simon had not been so tenacious in their pursuit of transparency none of tehse blog discussions would be going on .......................and yet they still get knocked by the Oligarchs, by the media and by Jo Public even when they should be vindicated! Why don't teh people that got it wrong stand up and say so and start a process of reconcilliation..............

Anonymous said...

Mr.Bellwood,
I watched BBC Channel Isalnds last night and they interviewed the manager of Greenfields and it wasn't Joe Kennedy. I think the blokes name was Bowyer or something like that. So where is Joe Kenedy in all this has he been suspended?

Anonymous said...

I couldn't help but NOTICE the name OF Mario lundy in your latest DISCLOSURE.

Simon Bellwood - The Whistleblower said...

Mike Bowyer, the interviwed Manager is the current Manager of Greenfields.

Jo Kennedy is the overall manager, Secure and Residential Manager for Greenfields and two other childrens homes.

Mike Bowyer was manager at Le Preferance when I was manager at Greenfields. He did always want that job, quite a moral guy, I quite liked him once until he stabbed me in the back. He really wants to retire in Jersey - needs the J Cat for 10 years first though!

Simon

voiceforchildren said...

Simon.

I know you have had a big run-in with Joe Kennedy peoffessionally and perhaps personally.

If we were to put the personalities to one side and look at the Grande Prix system "masterminded" by Joe Kennedy on a proffessional basis....I have to ask is he really to blame in all of this?

He was employed by somebody in the "corporate parent" i.e those responsible (soon to be) citizen Mike (GST28) Vibert, (soon not to be) Senator Wendy (GST28) Kinnard and Senator Ben (Lenny Henry) Shenton.

Given that Joe Kennedy's background comes from the prison service, with, to the best of my knowledge, no child"care" qualifications, only being experienced in locking people up. I can only see he was doing the job he has been trained to do and the only job he knows how to do!

He must have been given that job by the corporate parent (or somebody answerable to them) because of his C.V.and his ability to get the job done to their satisfaction.

I am not condoning Joe Kennedy's policies (the grande prix system) indeed I believe it is/was barbaric. I just believe he was not aware of the damage he might be causing these kids but his employers must have been and he was serving their purposes and doing what he was employed to do and indeed trained to do and that was to lock people up.

The buck, to my mind, stops at a higher level than Joe Kennedy.

Anonymous said...

Dear all please read pieces of a letter to Bill Ogley which was sent August 2006 raising concerns about Greenfields. This predates Simons concerns about the practices and in the unit and comes to roughly the same conclusions as the Howard League. If they had listened to Simon and my self they wouldnt be in this mess.How they can deny being aware of the situation is beyond belief and makes the way they treated simon even more appalling.I offered to help even though I had returned to the Uk but my offers were rejected.The letter went.....
"• Children left at risk in the Secure Unit as some residential staff expressed concern that they are without sufficient training or experience to competently fulfil their duties.

( I visited the Secure home as part of my induction and spoke to a member of staff who showed me round. During the course of my visit he expressed concern that he was working with children who are vulnerable/and or high risk and did not know what to do in a lot of situations. He informed me that he had only been there six months and only received control and restrain training in this period.

• Child care practices and procedures in the Secure Home which breach children’s human rights.
(The same member of staff informed that all young people who enter the home have to take a shower and surrender their own clothes and are placed in “holding cell” which was very bleak and didn’t even have a mattress. I asked whether this procedure was the same for all children of if it varied for age of children of those admitted on welfare grounds or criminal grounds. I was informed the procedure was the same for all regardless of assessed risk or state of mind. This raises the question for me of what would happen if a child refused to shower etc. Would they be coerced in some way? The procedure also pre supposes in some way the child is dirty. For a child who may be traumatised away form home for the first time this system is in my opinion excessive and unnecessary.
I have asked other social workers about this procedure and a least one said she had raised concerns about a child in the unit on welfare grounds being placed in a cell as part of this procedure.

• Residential provision with insufficient staff to safely fulfil their duties or protect children in their care"
• Insufficient external “checks and balances” of child care in
Jersey.

WRITTEN QUESTION TO THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES
BY DEPUTY R.G. LE HERISSIER OF ST. SAVIOUR


“In terms of investigating complaints, one could argue that the Department can act as judge and jury. We must be confident that service users receive a fair response when they make a complaint and we must be assured that the Department acts appropriately on any concerns, and, where appropriate, makes changes to ensure improvements in service delivery.”(part of response to question march 2006)

I understand an external inspection is due to take place some time in the next year or so but was left uncertain about how complaints by young people would be dealt with in a way which instilled confidence in the young people themselves. They may exist but I didn’t see in my time child advocacy services or independent visitor schemes to the secure childrens’ home. Also, my concern is as outlined above. The dept could be seen as judge and jury when investigating complaints which does not follow “best UK practice” and may lead to criticism by an inspectorate emanating from the UK.

A culture where some staff state they feel unable to express their concerns about bad practice, after previous experience of being told to “shut up”. As a result they believe their employment is at risk and they do not wish to leave Jersey as it is their home
(At least 3 members of the team in which I was based said they had made complaints about child care practice and other work related issues and were told in effect , not to rock the boat. I informed them prior to my departure of the action I was going to take but not about specific issues. They were concerned that I may mention them by name so I have agreed not to do so.)"
The letter had alot more info which was no doubt ignored.

Anonymous said...

why is Frank Walker holding meetings at the pomme d'or hotel, haven't the states sufficient premises that they could use. I expect the hotel was paid ,with tax payers money