Tuesday 20 March 2012

Well done Delyth Jenkins

I hope as many people as possible watched Taro 9 this evening on S4C. It told the shocking story of the abuse of a vulnerable lady at a Day Centre run by Carmarthenshire Council and the supreme efforts of Delyth Jenkins to expose it, despite the best attempts by Carmarthenshire Council to cover it up. I use that phrase very cautiously but, after speaking to Delyth over the past couple of years, and taking into account the ombudsman's report, there are no other words to describe it. During the filming of the programme permission was sought from the Council run Day Centre to film outside the premises. On their arrival (Delyth and a couple of film crew) a police car also turned up and parked around the corner for the duration. She doesn't like the term whistleblower, she sees it as a duty of care to those who can't speak for themselves and she is a very brave lady.

I have mentioned this case a few times over the years and I am pleased that it has now had some media exposure, including a piece in Private Eye a couple of weeks ago. These cases need public exposure as the 'proper procedures' of complaint are deeply skewed within a culture of bullying, intimidation and the labelling of whistleblowers as obsessive troublemakers. I was contacted by a County Councillor today who said he was unaware of this report until six months ago (it was published late in 2009) and was angry that this had been minimalised to such a degree that those councillors that actually cared had been powerless to try and bring anyone to account over it themselves. Delyth stated in the programme that she went to see the Chief Executive after the damning ombudsman report was published; he was angry, she said, and told her to 'back off'.
The Ombudsman, Compassion in Care and Delyth believe there should be a full public inquiry over this case led by the Welsh Government so that lessons can be learned for the future safety of vulnerable adults. It should come as no surprise that both the Council's Director of Social Care, Bruce McLernon and the Chief Executive refused to speak to the programme, and, what is more, neither would the Welsh Government. The latter yet again refusing to intervene or criticise Carmarthenshire Council.
The Council issued a statement saying that things had improved and safeguards were in place; the fact that the person responsible for the abuse is still employed by the council (in an administrative position) tells me that little has changed. I have also recently been contacted by another whistleblower from a seperate Carmarthenshire council run centre who's story seems very much to mirror Delyth's.
Is this the tip of the iceberg? I hope not.

I understand the Ombudsman has quite a collection of complaints concerning Carmarthenshire County Council in his in-tray, covering numerous departments, and has done for sometime. This can't go on.

I believe the programme will be archived for a few weeks, when it is I will post a link, it's well worth watching and should have English subtitles.
update 22nd March; S4C tell me they are having 'technical' difficulties' archiving the programme. I will post a link as soon as they have the problem sorted out.

update 22nd March; It's on iPlayer here; http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00q8zdp/Taro_Naw_20_03_2012/
or follow the link here;


Cneifiwr said...

We've seen this sort of thing so many times in different places around the country, but it remains shocking. As elsewhere, the council is repeatedly given top marks in various quango inspection reports; Meryl picks up crystal vases from another quango for her efforts in social care; the chief executive is awarded a CBE; officers involved are promoted and congratulated - and reports of abuse and failure are drowned out by self-congratulation. Disgusting.

Tessa said...

I have great admiration for this woman. "Whistleblower" should be an honourable title. Whistleblowers do a far better job than any regulatory body, and in so doing, they demonstrate their tremendous courage as they almost always end up losing or damaging their jobs and career prospects. T Whistleblowers are societies heros - and should be recognised as such. They should be identified and given paid positions of authority - as they have proved themselves indomitable and uncorruptible. Delyth Jenkins - I salute you!

Anonymous said...

This is truly another shameful episode in the day to day running of this bullying council. I remember asking during the time this dreadful exposure was made public, 'where was the Chief Executive Mark James in all of this'; we now know! A man who tells a woman of substance to 'back off'. A man who has been awarded a CBE no less. As a saving grace, one would have expected the C.E. to have publicly praised Delyth Jenkins for her obvious compassion together with her equally obvious integrity, thus encouraging others to complain, if, god forbid, it is happening where they work as a carer. It is clearly not in this authorities psyche.
As for the Welsh Government,they should be equally ashamed that they did not involve themselves in such truly shocking revelations. What other serious issues are they continuing to ignore? This is a bad time for Welsh politics.

Anonymous said...

I agree entirely with the previous post but feel the Chief executive as a saving grace should have publicly praised Delyth and made it clear that he would expect not only employees in the council's care system to speak out but also any other council department if bullying and abuse were an issue.