Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Playing Dead
Following on from our post of 12 July, which reproduced a letter that had been sent to the MCA and DfT on the subject of the flawed Gaul Investigation, we can now inform you that, although the statutory time for a response is 10 working days, the addressees have still delivered no reply.
Consequently, another email had to be sent to remind the Department for Transport of their Policy on the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1998 which is contained in HRAN (2006/1) and under which “employees of the MCA can bring matters of public concern to the attention of the relevant authorities”.The above-mentioned policy is meant to cover the reporting of several types of malpractice:
●A criminal offence that has been, is being or is likely to be committed
●Failure to comply with a legal obligation
●Health and safety risks relating to any individual, including members of the public
●Damage to the environment
●A miscarriage of justice
●Possible fraud and corruption
●Deliberate concealment of information relating to the above matters.
The same guidelines also provide for the manner in which such matters are to be handled by the MCA and implicitly the DfT:
8.2. Within 10 working days of you raising a concern, you will be advised either by the person you approached or one of the named contacts at steps 2 and 3 that,
●Your concern has been received and is being actioned. If action is not appropriate, this will be explained to you
●How we propose to deal with the matter
●The name of the person responsible for carrying out any investigation and how you can contact them
●Whether we need more help from you
●An estimate of how long we expect it to take to provide a final response
●Provide you with information on staff support services
●Let you know whether any further investigations will take place, and if not, why not.
However, in practice, the DfT do not appear to follow these rules; they seem instead to be guided by that old piece of popular wisdom, which says: when all else fails, play dead - and hope that we will abandon them for livelier prey.
Simple, comfortable and hygienic…

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