Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Breckman Case: Dear William

Further to the recent post about the destruction of part of the Special Area of Conservation and SSSI at Cernydd Carmel, a sharp-eyed correspondent has uncovered a letter written last year by the chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council to William Powell AM in his capacity as chair of the Assembly's Petitions Committee.

A Petition

The letter can be found here and was written in response to a letter from Mr Powell advising the council that the committee had received a petition calling on the Assembly to set up a public inquiry into the Breckman case.

Mr James's response can be summed up as "nothing to see here, please ignore and move on".

But the committee duly plodded on. It asked the Ombudsman for his views. The Ombudsman said he had been assured by the council that it had implemented his recommendations, and so that was that, apart from noting his disappointment at the tone of the apology the council had made to Mrs Breckman (see How to Say Sorry).

Eventually in May 2014 the committee decided to close the petition and take no further action after it considered legal advice in closed session, and the advice remains secret.

That was the end of the petition, but by no means the end of the story which prompted it.

A familiar recipe

Mr James's letter contains much that will be familiar to seasoned observers, with its mixture of patronising smarm, spin, sly digs and a large helping of half truths.

There are a couple of swipes at the Public Services Ombudsman for a start, including a clear indication that in Mr James's view he should not have meddled with the case in the first place. He also questions the Ombudsman's professionalism in several places, including an assertion that the Ombudsman only heard one side of the story and failed to interview Mrs Breckman's neighbour, road haulier, wholesale scrap merchant and part-time horse farmer Mr Andrew Thomas.

The obvious reason for this is that the Ombudsman was investigating the way in which the council had treated Mrs Breckman and her partner, and not the ins and outs of Mr Thomas's colourful planning history.

The council's attitude to the Ombudsman was very neatly set out in a very snotty letter about the case written by Meryl Gravell, then leader of the council, to Carl Sargeant, then minister for local government, in 2012. Roll forward a year, and the council had accepted the Ombudsman's findings, meaning that all of Meryl's confident assertions to Carl Sargeant must have been wrong.

Mr James is very keen for the politicians to see the affair as nothing more than a dispute between neighbours with the council caught in the middle, whereas the Ombudsman found an extraordinary catalogue of failures by the council to implement planning controls and the victimisation of residents who had brought those failures to the council's attention.


Even more striking are the many omissions and half truths contained in the letter.

Procedural Magic

The council did everything it could to prevent the Ombudsman's report from seeing the light of day. The chief executive even removed "Other Items of Business" from the agenda of meetings of full council to stop Cllr Cefin Campbell (Plaid) from asking when councillors would get to see and discuss the report's findings.

At that point the council had sat on the report for six months, and it even asked the Ombudsman for an extension to the deadline set for responding to it. In the end, the report never went before full council and councillors never received a copy.

As evidence that the council took the report very seriously, Mr James reveals that the council employed a barrister to fight it, or as he puts it, "I can assure you that the Council has taken this matter very seriously, including taking Counsel's Advice at the draft stage of the Ombudsman's report".


Eventually the report was "considered" by the Executive Board, and the Planning Committee was presented with a version of the report rewritten by the very same officers who were the subject of so many of the complaints. That was dealt with in closed session.

Bizarrely copies of the full report had up to then been freely available to any member of the public who wanted to read it - but not to councillors.

A Soft Option

After dragging its feet for more than six months, the council had found a way out. By accepting the Ombudsman's findings, the report was downgraded and no longer a Public Interest Report, but what Mr James describes in his letter as "the much softer option" of a Section 21 report.

The version of events described to William Powell AM and the real, extraordinary history of the report are entirely at odds.

Down on the Farm

One of the most glaring half truths and omissions in Mr James's letter concerns what he describes as a "cattle shed proposal".

There are now two very large sheds on the site.

The application for the first shed was for 'agricultural implements' and 'tractor and hay store'.  The planning officer, Ceri Davies, recommended refusal on the grounds there was no agricultural justification due to lack of agriculture.  It was refused.  Mr Thomas appealed, and the Appeals Inspector stated in her report amongst other things, that 'the council acknowledge the site is agricultural'. 

The Inspector was left with no choice but to approve it.

The second shed applied for was for 'agricultural implements hay and tractor store' as the implements were 'out in the open'.  The planning officer assigned to the case again recommended refusal on the grounds of lack of agriculture. It was refused.

The head of planning then overturned his planning officer's report and the planning committee's decision and approved the second shed using delegated powers.

In his letter to the Petitions Committee, Mr James writes that "Mrs B also claimed that its [i.e. the council's Ed] decision to allow the development of the shed was perverse". Mr James clearly did not think it was, but others may disagree.

A few lines later, and Mr James says that the Ombudsman formed the view that the process followed by the council was "flawed".

No mention of the head of planning's decision to overturn a decision by elected councillors.

The second shed was in reality used not for storing farm implements, but for Mr Thomas's road haulage business. The council rejected Mrs Breckman's complaints as "unfounded".

The fact remains that apart from about 30 horses, there is very little about Blaenpant Farm that most people would recognise as farming.

A "Dialogue"


Mr James goes on to mention that the council has been "involved in a multi-agency dialogue" with the police, the Police Commissioner and the Assembly Member (Rhodri Glyn Thomas).


What lies behind this rather bland assertion are very serious complaints about the way in which Mrs Breckman and her partner were victimised, with Mrs Breckman having been arrested in her own home at one point.


This aspect of the case is currently under investigation by West Mercia Police.


The extent to which the council mended its ways in the wake of the Ombudsman's report and sharpened up its planning enforcement can be seen in a recent post, Wild West Planning News.


Meanwhile, William Powell and other Assembly Members may feel that Mr James was rather "economical with the actualité" when he wrote to them last year.




41 comments:

caebrwyn said...

It's worth remembering, as you read Mr James' letter, that the planning inspector, speaking on BBC Week In Week Out in 2012 described this as the worst case he had seen in his 24 years in the job. He considered that the council's actions, or lack of action, over a ten year period were so inexplicable he could only conclude that they had repeatedly turned a blind eye to developments at Blaenpant Farm.

The Ombudsman concluded that the council had lost all objectivity over the matter, evident in their refusal to accept evidence and by placing the Breckmans on the Persistent Complainants Policy, improperly, for three and a half years.

As for Mr James' letter, it exudes the usual arrogance we've all become so familiar with, and that arrogance remains and pervades this council as the immovable barrier to proper scrutiny and good governance.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise

Anonymous said...

I well remember the two pensioners involved in the case which you have reported and after the last programme it was so clear how they had been treated by both council and police.It is unbelievable what has happened and thanks to you cneifiwr the wider public will at least know (even if they didn't realise then) the full extent of police and council's conduct

Anonymous said...

Hear! Hear!
What a very good blog about how the CCC behaves and how easily the Ombudsman and the Assembly are persuaded to ignore it's deep rooted toxic culture. Maybe there needs to be another petition set up to persuade the Assembly to look into how the CCC avoid following Complaints policies (including the statutory Social Services) POVA and whistleblowing policies. Love the word “robust” in MG letter to Carl Sargent. CCC is robust in it's actions but only in the context of protecting it's reputation not in protecting the public interest.

Because the CCC agrees to carry out all recommendations reports will not be published in the public interest see:  
http://online.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/agendas/eng/STAC20060607/index.asp

http://online.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/agendas/eng/STAC20060607/REP04-01.HTM

and executive summary

http://online.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/agendas/eng/STAC20060607/REP04.HTM
 
from Standards Committee  7th June 2006. 

Because of the above and how the Ombudsman regarded the report as not in the public interest the CCC were not expected to publish it for the public to see or even it’s own members and so were within their rights to try and cover the report up.  This is the fault of the Ombudsman who has, it appears, made a deal that if the LAs accept his recommendations, in full, then he will make sure their reputations are left untarnished and the matter hidden from the wider public.  It is no wonder Peter Tyndal discussed having the ability to take legal action against 3rd parties publicising these reports.   His promise to LAs concerning protecting them from having their wrongdoing made public if they accept his recommendations in full was being undermined by the publicity surrounding the Breckman’s report.  He must have been really tamping that the matter was being publicised against his wishes.  He no doubt could see that if his promise to file the reports as “NOT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST” was being over-road by the media etc LA’s would stop making their empty promises to accept his recommendations in full.  His success rate would go down with one fell swoop.  The Ombudsman’s self interest comes before the Public interest  (This is basically the reason he would not look into my/our complaint as it would show the CCC had not changed it’s ways after Delyth’s complaint to him).  He decided not to make public the report he made concerning the service user’s family’s complaint to him which was even more damning than Delyth’s.  Every report he makes should be in the public interest and should be made available to anyone interested at the click of mouse as is Delyth's report.  LA’s won’t change while they can rely on the Ombudsman’s protection. How many more complainants, service users and whistleblowers will suffer at the hands of the CCC when no one is willing to hold it to account. The public and their representatives must not have the CCC shenanigans hidden from them, we need to know.

Jennifer Brown (whistleblower)

Anonymous said...

How can CCC have allowed all that destruction on such an important site.They would have known what was happening and have the power to stop all works until the situation was reviewed.There are officers responsible for ecology and environmental issues and without a doubt would have realised seriousness of the works.What has really happened here is their inability to act without permission from above----not God but head of planning.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that our concerns are misplaced?
You can read in the letter from Mr. Mark James 28th Jan 2014, "The Council also continues to monitor activity at the neighbour's property."
If we are to accept that, then we must accept that they have been aware all along of the recent increased activities. I expect we could obtain sight of any reports of that 'monitoring' under The Freedom Of Information Act. However, it might help to ease our concerns to now hear what action is under way to actually STOP the activities?

Anonymous said...

The question has to be ..why is a CEO
involving himself in such issues. Fact and truth seem alien to this man, whereas misinformation appears to be his expertise.

Anonymous said...

economical with the acualité - I believe you mean economical with the actualité

That aside, the story beggars belief and I find myself wondering how long this circus of a county council will be allowed to continue. With mark james as the lion tamer and meryl grovel and co as the cast of clowns it truly would be funny were it not so seriously wrong and nefarious.

As you appear to indicate in earlier posts, it is more difficult to remove james et al from their positions than it is company chief executives. The fact he likens himself to them and his arrogance to anyone that fails to agree with him or dare questions his actions demonstrates his lack of ability and how so far out of touch he really is.

If we as a community had the means to remove these salacious people from their positions I would be in that queue. Surely there must be a way?

Exposure of the wrong-doings and misappropriation of funds (viz - barristers for advice) needs to be brought to task and shared with the community.

Only when more people are aware of these actions and, more importantly, a method of procuring their demise will something happen.

The linked letter from meryl grovel could have be written by a school child it is so immature in its presentation, but then, what should we expect from someone who has had little education? Sadly, it seems there are no people willing to stand against them in local elections, unless I am wrong and willing to be corrected.

They work for us..... apparently. As long as we don't question what they do!

Anonymous said...

I find the contents of the last paragraph of Mr James’s letter particularly ironic.

“..and put the Council to the expense of having to go to a public inquiry to defend its actions in one planning case…”
- A year later CCC were spending £1000’s in legal fees defending the judicial review of the planning case of the Daff Davies/Dylan Thomas memorial wind turbine. In addition to their own legal fees the council had to pay the claimants' full costs of £21,275.

“…the complainant could always have resorted to legal proceedings had she thought she had a strong basis for her complaint…”
- I’m sure we would all be eager to resort to legal proceedings if we knew our costs were to be indemnified by the council, wouldn’t we Mr James.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@17.50 The missing 't' has now been inserted.

Anonymous said...

Re "the complainant could have resorted to legal proceedings had she thought she had a strong basis for her complaint" is sheer two faced, arrogant and sanctimonious. Did you put your hand in your own pocket Mr. James to sue Jacqui Thompson?. No you did not. You used public money. I'm pretty sure Mrs. B. would have taken legal action if she'd had the funds to do so. Unlike you Mr. James she would have had to use her own money, not that of others.

Anonymous said...

What does appear to be a problem is any system which gives us an Ombudsman to deal with our complaints but does not then allow him to do enough about them.
If he finds 'guilt' (for want of a better description) perhaps it is right at the first stage to say "Now promise you will correct this and don't do it again."
However I am unable to find a much better solution for him from thereon.
I do not believe he (or his many hard working legal staff have any axe to grind in favour of any County Councils.
Following his findings and report and perhaps later finding he has been conned, I know of no suggestion that he is lawfully able to take a big stick and use 'bend over' tactics.
If we are to agree that corporal punishment is not the order of the day then what is next?
I believe what should be next are more powers for him and his staff. I can only imagine the massive frustration of all the Ombudsman and many of his staff who spend many hours on certain cases, then come to a fair conclusion, only to find that ultimately all their efforts and law degrees are almost as nought. Not through any failure on their part but because some County Councils, (one in particular) have become so arrogant from years of conditioning to actually KNOW that no matter what, no matter how many complaints are made, no matter how many of the outcomes prove breaches of their code of conduct, no matter how many conclude in The Ombudsman's decision (even of maladministration), nothing will happen to any individual anyhow.

Nothing will change whilst ever that situation stays.
The Ombudsman and his staff and their efforts would all be helped if after matters as serious as maladministration, or misconduct,
or undue favouritism towards a planning applicant is concluded, that they can actually act upon the crime.
If that could not be introduced because of legal issues then it is time some method of retribution has to be put into place. Any serious cases should be passed over to 'The Law' to handle. Give the Ombudsman a way of passing cases over to be prosecuted. Mistakes are a different matter.
However, I for one, do not believe it is any longer good enough to keep giving Carmarthen
Council the chance to correct things found to be maladministration or more serious.
That will never stop what they do. Only real investigation of individuals and if deserved, legal action should follow.
People will continue to behave as if the rules do not apply to them, only as long as they are allowed to.

Anonymous said...

All these senior people in CCC only have a veneer of respectability.Scratch the surface and you will find they are only self-serving weak individuals hell bent on suppressing uncomfortable truths.As far as I know this particular story has spanned many years.With cneifiwr on board plus the press I believe we are perhaps seeing for the first time a light shining in the dark murky corners of gaol hill.Bring it on I say.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that in the CE's letter to William Powell A.M. he states that they took 'Councel's advice at the draft stage of the Ombudsman's report as a result of which we secured some concessions from the Ombudsman'.

I received a first draft of my Ombudsman's report in January 2009. A second draft was received in July 2009, but some of the damning facts were removed by the second draft. When I challenged the Ombudsman over this, I was told by his Investigator that they were forced to remove these due to legal reasons. These were also removed from the final report which I received in Sept 2009,two weeks after going off on work related stress due to the way I was being treated.

The damning facts removed from my final report were included in the service user's family report, but despite this being a section 16 public interest report, neither the Council nor the Ombudsman published it. Despite the Ombudsman completely vindicating me, I believe there is far more he could have done to expose the officers who failed within the CCC, rather than in my view, ultimately protecting them.

Delyth Jenkins

Redhead said...

All over the country people are standing as REAL Independents in English district - though they sometimes form loose alliances so that they have electoral strength in numbers.

Until more ordinary, decent people who would never consider standing for council seats get off their butts and seriously challenge the incumbent councillors nothing will change: that's what they bank on.

Anonymous said...

I agree with other comments regarding the Public Services Ombudsman. The fact the Ombudsman can only investigate 'maladministration' clips his wings.
'Misconduct in Public Office' is far more serious and is a criminal offence. Even is he uncovers it, he has now power to expose it nor can he suggest a Public Inquiry should be the next step.
It is not surprising therefore that officers are more than happy to tell members of the public "if you don't like it then go to the Ombudsman". They have absolutely nothing to fear from anything the Ombudsman can do.

Anonymous said...

The Ombudsman most certainly should be afforded more powers.
Our only hope in attempting to expose alleged Misconduct in Public Office is for our A.Ms to push for a Public Inquiry. Which brings us to the letter from Mark James to the Petitions Minister. Wielding that kind of influence through the back door is a sure fire way to prevent any form of redress for any member of the public. Truly rotten. The Ombudsman must be given more powers. It is the only way forward.

Anonymous said...

I am not confident at all that giving the Ombudsman more powers would make any difference whatsoever, and as it stands, it seems a terrible waste of public money to carry out these investigations and produce damning reports, yet no one is held to account.

Anonymous said...

Why should the Council receive 'concessions' from the Ombudsman if he is independent and impartial?

Anonymous said...

I have read that some believe the OMBUDSMAN does not have enough power to control the CCC. I disagree, he could do a lot more with the power he has if he used it in the public interest. By not allowing his reports, which show the CCC's rampant disregard to follow their own very good policies and procedures (maladministration), to be made public he is actively protecting the CCC's reputation. He has the power to publish the truth of what his investigation found and his recommendations for actions to put matters right. Whether the CCC accepts these in full or not his reports need to be published widely so as the members and public can scrutinise them.. An LA cannot legally refuse to cooperate with an Ombudsman's investigation. If they do then that can also be in his report. I know the Ombudsman needs to be impartial but for years now he has bent over backwards to support the CCC into improving their practices towards complainants etc. but this has not worked.

The most powerful tool he can employ is to allow the members and the public access to his reports so as they can put pressure on the executive via those members to hold both officers and executive to account when they continue to disregard his recommendations and the public interest. We, the voters, will then know who cares about their constituents' interests and who is happy to just leave everything in the hands of the Officers and Executive without question. Electors can change the membership but unless made aware of what is taking place against their interests then nothing will change. If more of the public were aware of how many others were suffering from the misconduct in public office by the executive and officers of this LA they would be able to support each other in persuading the police to investigate this criminal offence. Complainants and whistleblowers could ask for information concerning themselves under the Data Protection Act from the CCC which could then be used as evidence of misconduct in public office. I personally have such evidence but if others also had such the police might be persuaded to look into the actions of the CEO and his officers.

There are three methods to try which might hold the CCC accountable and obtain change:
1) To persuade the Ombudsman who fails to utilise fully what powers he does have to start using them. 2) We with the knowledge of the wrongdoing of the CCC and lack of action by our representatives could vote for change which would accomplish nothing in the short term; or 3) we can somehow get together and approach the police with our own evidence of misconduct in public office and persuade them to look into the matter.

Jennifer Brown (whistleblower)

Anonymous said...

getting back to the destruction of a protected area.There are two people held responsible.Head of planning Eifion Bowen and the chief executive Mark James who has ultimate responsibility for the whole council.I am quite surprised that there has been no word from him.Is he lying low or perhaps organising a response with his
supporters---Kevin Madge Meryl Grovel (I love it) and Pam Palmer.

Anonymous said...

As a local person, I have been wondering why the Community Council has been deafeningly silent over the small issue of the total wanton destruction of a protected SSSI/SAC site on land at Blaenpant Farm, owned by Andrew Thomas. They clearly did not voice their concerns whilst it was taking place, nor after its eradication. Surely, as locals, one of them must have witnessed the bulldozing of this land, taking place over several weeks. It was clear to everyone who passed by. Why wouldn't they have asked questions? If I am reliably informed, Mr. E. Bowen's (Head of Planning and Enforcement)partner is the secretary of this local Community Council. Is it possible there is a conflict of interest here? After all, it is very strange that not one of them has had a word to say on this. I do hope that Andrew Thomas is ordered to put back some of the trees he bulldozed along with restoration of the flora and fauna he showed so little respect for.

Anonymous said...

I have seen the result of how "conflicts of interest" can put pay to any chance of impartiality during investigations etc. So Annon 13:31 you have made an interesting point. To prove that this is why the CCC are happy to allow this destruction would not be easy but what other reason could there be. We have seen how vindictive the CCC acted towards the complainants in the Breckman issue. Even so far as persuading the police to become pro the wrongdoer and anti the complainant. CCC are well practiced (past masters) in defaming complainants and whistleblowers to neutralise any form of criticism. There must be a secret NVQ "How to silence complainants/whistleblowers by utilising their own complaint/disclosure to discredit&defame enabling Persistent Complainants/Disciplinary policies to be enacted".

Jennifer Brown (whistleblower)

Anonymous said...

Has the local county Councillor made any comment ?
Anon 13.31 The Clerk to a small community council has no power and no influence the members make the decision and make and pass comments

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@20.44 The County Councillor, Cefin Campbell, was first elected in 2012 after this saga had been running for about 8 years. He tried hard to get the report discussed, and was blocked, and I believe he has been very supportive ever since.

The story is by no means over.

Anonymous said...

Who would want to discuss failings of the head of planning if the clerk of the community council is his partner.Has no one heard of pillow talk?
Councillor Cefin Campell I know has always taken seriously the issues relating to what has happened on Blaenpant.On the last programme regarding the shocking treatment meted out to the Breckmans I seem to remember welsh government member Rhodri Glyn Thomas suggesting what is needed is an inquiry to explain how the police came to their decisions.In this case I believe the police and council have serious questions to answer.

Anonymous said...

If the clerk is E. Bowen's partner, it would make it much more difficult for the members of the community council to speak freely regarding Blaenpant - it being a highly contentious site. You then have Mark James (CEO) influencing any further assistance the Breckmans tried to get, including letters going out to county councillors advising them NOT to respond to their letters. This is fact. The Assembly advised the Breckmans to seek assistance from all councillors, and this was the result. Why is the question. Clearly someone was worried they would be listened to.

Anonymous said...

If Mark James and co have nothing to fear and are totally innocent of all accusations levelled against them why the need to influence others and make spurious comments about people seeking truth.This should be dealt with now and by people with the integrity and will to do so.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it would be appropriate to be asking questions in an open letter.

First question could be, why did you allow A. Thomas two weeks of bulldozing land on a protected site, before serving an enforcement notice, which then gave him another four weeks to continue.

Surely it required a stop notice immediately, or did you decide to turn a blind eye as you have done in the past where A. Thomas is concerned.

There are many more questions that should be asked, as to be blunt it...........

Anonymous said...

I started the petition and I have to say that although I predicted that there would be absolutely no accountability, I thought I would give democracy a try.

A we all know, M James has adopted Vladimir Putin's ways of governance. The people of Carmarthenshire better hope that he never gets his hands on chemical weapons.

The only option left to the decent people of Carmarthenshire is to move out of the county, but where? Go west (Pembrokeshire, Bryn's country) and it is just as bad, go east (Cardiff or Caerphilly) and it isn't much better.

Surely it is time for the people of Carmarthenshire and those puppets at local council and county council level to grow a back bone instead of behaving like coelenterata.

Anonymous said...

Just as a matter of interest, Cadno in the Carmarthenshire Herald has written about this in today's edition. With a bit of luck, some of the other media will pick it up - it really needs to be widely publicised.

Alan Evans said...

http://reclaimcarmarthenshire.blogspot.co.uk/ Please check out my blog where you will find details on a move to change the way we elect councillors and much more.

Alan Evans said...

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryChronology.aspx?IId=8119&Opt=2

C. Adno said...

This is an issue which will not go away.
It is one to which I will be returning.

Anonymous said...

I have just sent this to http://www.oggybloggyogwr.com/2012/10/kings-of-their-castles.html as comment to his blog of 2012 concerning the Breckman issue :-

I was very interested in the Breckman saga as I, as a whistleblower, had found the CCC attempting to silence and control me by abusing the disciplinary policy. They had discussed, during my disciplinary investigation, whether the Persistent Complainants policy could be used against me; it was decided that some of it's principals might be used but really it was a way of controlling complaints from the public and the Disciplinary policy had more teeth in controlling an employee.  It was in 2011 this internal email discussion took place (unbeknown to me).

When I saw the Week In Week Out programme, I had already obtained a number of documents under data protection which proved to me the deviousness of the officers and the conflicts of interests being enacted in their successful  defence against anyone independent looking into their actions of coverup regarding institutional abuse and the criminal acts against a service user without capacity.  I was going through an Employment Tribunal at the time of this BBC programme and was unaware of you bloggers or how bravely you were all trying to keep us (the public) informed about the CCC's shenanigans.  I remember I felt an urge to be able to discuss with the those two complainants how the actions of the officers towards them was being repeated against whistleblowers (but did not).  Remember the Ombudsman's 2009 report concerning Delyth Jenkins (whistleblower) and his recommendations regarding maladministration.  I lost my claim against my unfair dismissal.  But am still continuing to push for an independent person or body (the Ombudsman refuses to look into it as I am a whistleblower) to investigate the CCC actions when they fail to follow Whistlblowing, POVA or the Social Services Statutory Complaints policies.  Our whistleblowing policy tells us to complain to the Ombudsman if the CCC do not handle our disclosures properly (yet he refuses to).

Many of the upper management, involved, have either left or are about to leave but I have been told that if an investigation into misconduct in public office did take place then having left their employment would not prevent them being questioned.  I take this to mean they could still be charged with the above criminal act.

Anyway both the Breckman and Delyth Jenkins' Ombudsman Reports are still being discussed as examples of the CCCs "Toxic Culture" as are other examples.  Lets hope one day soon the Welsh Assembly/Labour Welsh Gov. will actually set up an inquiry into the CCC.

Jennifer Brown (whistleblower)

Also http://jacothenorth.net/blog/week-in-week-out/ Blog written at time of the BBBC programme of 2012 is an interesting read.

C.Adno you are right this is an issue that won't go away.

Jennifer Brown (whistleblower)

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be worthwhile to organise a meet up of many of the very well informed and intelligent people commenting on here. I for one would like to meet and have a chat about a number of cases in Carmarthenshire. It is not only the county council acting with such contempt of the public. Many local councils do the same. I have a lot of evidence regarding one council's treatment towards members of the public including verbal and physical threats and abuse. Needless to say that the police took no interest in any of it as they were being used as harassers by the harassers. If anyone would like to meet up then please, let's get the ball rolling.

Anonymous said...

Since joining twitter I have become aware, also, that the CCC is not the only council or even the only public body which treat the public with distain. Whether complainants or whistleblowers public bodies look down on them but have to make a pretence of encouraging them so as they can learn lessons and nip problems in the bud. So many have found themselves becoming stigmatised for speaking out and receive no support from regulators, Ombudsmen or government departments who seem to prefer the status quo.

I don't know how these meetings would be arranged but I would be happy to show my evidence to see if others felt it to be as strong as I believe regarding the maladministration/misconduct of the CCC.

I would have to rely on Y Cneifiwr to give me a contact number in the first instance if that would be OK with him. Look forward to finding a way to persuade WAG into setting up an independent inquiry & I'm afraid I don't mean by the Ombudsman.

We'll see, I hope, WAG listening if enough speak up. These comments to this post have been a wake up call. Good luck to all of you!

Jennifer Brown (whistleblower)

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@23.35 Please contact me through the e-mail address shown at the top right of the blog. Unfortunately for family reasons the next couple of months are going to be quite difficult, and so I am not going to be able to take an active part in this, but I will do what I can.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Y Cneifiwr I will do just that. I hope you and yours are OK. I wish you all the best and a big thank you for being someone who speaks up and gives a platform for others to do the same. If @Caebrwyn is reading this it applies to you too and you do this in spite of suffering the full force of the CEO, his officers and the executive's vindictive acts against you as a critic of their actions against the public interest. I hope the CCC's actions to stamp out free speech and expression comes back to haunt them. Why should their misconduct/maladministration be kept secret away from ordinary members and the public. That is not what democracy is about.

Jennifer Brown (whistleblower)

Anonymous said...

Jac o'the North has been very quiet these days.In 2012 after the last programme exposing council and police involvement he stupidly suggested there might be more to what he called a neighbour dispute.I have personally read everything relating to planning and anti-social behaviour and
with more and more evidence being exposed to the wider public I would think Jac 'O the North should feel more than a little uncomfortable.He said the programme lacked balance in favouring the Breckman's but if he had contacted the programme producers he would have found they refused an interview.In spite of numerous cctv cameras on their neighbours'property the police never ever looked at it.Why would they it would only confirm the evidence produced by the Breckmans.
Lesson learned--don't form opinions until you have ALL the facts.

Anonymous said...

It is a well-known fact that something is seriously wrong, not only in planning but throughout the departments of Carmarthen council.It is the Breckman case relating to planning issues involving Andrew Thomas of Maesybont which has been of more than a little interest to me of late.My researches dating back to his purchasing of Blaenpant, his businesses of haulage scrap and horse breeding together with the way applications were determined by the head of planning make interesting reading.It seems he has always been allowed to carry out roadworks and quarrying at will. Not only that, Eifion Bowen has allowed him to complete a substantial road without planning permission the purpose of which could never be justified as agricultural.This new road runs from his huge industrial size sheds and links up with the scrap site which was the the subject of an enforcement notice.If this road is to serve his scrap business then he has been allowed to bring to fruition the plans set in motion from 2001.With his plan completed perhaps this would signal the retirement of Mr Bowen.