Friday, February 15, 2013

Gary Walker and the ethics of gagging


From Brother Ivo:

It is always necessary to be very careful about commenting on legal cases until the full facts are known. We ought accordingly to be appropriately cautious about the case of Gary Walker, who asserted on the BBC Today programme this morning that his negotiations with the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust to settle an employment dispute included a provision that he must not disclose the terms of that agreement to the media.

The BBC has, however, placed into the public record the detailed terms of a gagging provision which it says was part of an employment law settlement of Mr Walker’s claim for unfair dismissal, and that it was required, as a precondition of financial settlement by the Trust, under the advice of solicitors DAC Beachcroft.

Brother Ivo has not seen the document and only comments on the premise that such agreements may be in currency within the public services. If such a silencing provision is true as reported, it discloses a most alarming state of affairs.

Sometimes a phrase acquires such currency that we fail to recognise the basic underlying concept. We are talking about public services. We are talking about public money and public servants. Those advising these bodies are also under the same moral penumbra of moral obligation as to how these considerable powers and resources are utilised.

These are not the matters of gift lying in the exclusive and unaccountable discretion of some medieval monarch or his chosen favourite.

The number of occasions when the use of public funds should be utilised to shield public bodies and public servants from our scrutiny ought to be very rare indeed. A functioning democracy requires accountability based upon the fullest information. The report suggests that in addition to the privileged governmental classes enjoying remuneration, pensions and expenses beyond the imaginings of ordinary subjects, they now seek to create a culture of secrecy at the heart of government so that what they do and how they protect those privileges shall not be known.

If the Government seeks to preserve its reputation as one of integrity, it needs as a matter of urgency to ascertain what has happened, who has created this constitutional outrage, when it occurred and who has known about it.

This is not a regional scandal but one which strikes at the very heart of democratic values. We may be habituated to such outrage in Brussels - but Lincolnshire?

There is a further aspect.

Mr Walker has apparently chosen to take the risk of disclosure. If so, Brother Ivo applauds him. But what if we had only secured a hint of this scandal by someone hacking into emails of the participants?

It perhaps warns us of what lurks beneath the surface of post-Leveson controls on the Press.

We live in dangerous times for the democracy bequeathed to us by our noble forebears. Principled men and women of all political persuasions must raise their voices loudly against this appalling usurping of the people’s right to know.

(Posted by Brother Ivo)

37 Comments:

Blogger David B said...

"It is always necessary to be very careful about commenting on legal cases until the full facts are known. We ought accordingly to be appropriately cautious about the case of Gary Walker, who asserted on the BBC Today programme this morning that his negotiations with the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust to settle an employment dispute included a provision that he must not disclose the terms of that agreement to the media."

Yes, indeed

"Mr Walker has apparently chosen to take the risk of disclosure. If so, Brother Ivo applauds him. But what if we had only secured a hint of this scandal by someone hacking into emails of the participants?

It perhaps warns us of what lurks beneath the surface of post-Leveson controls on the Press.

We live in dangerous times for the democracy bequeathed to us by our noble forebears. Principled men and women of all political persuasions must raise their voices loudly against this appalling usurping of the people’s right to know."

If the reports are accurate, yes indeed.

They do have the ring of verisimilitude about them, it must be said.

David

15 February 2013 at 10:26  
Blogger Tom O'Brien said...

Brother Ivo, Well said! Such is how we are mis-governed these days. Is it any wonder that the NHS is killing people but we mustn't be told!

My sense is that Mid Staffs is just the tip of a very bloody mountain!
http://bit.ly/XWzpRw

15 February 2013 at 10:44  
Blogger IanCad said...

Bother Ivo wrote:

"---Principled men and women of all political persuasions must raise their voices loudly against this appalling usurping of the people’s right to know."

Who are these people? Is there not an oxymoron lurking somewhere in this quote?
Names please!

15 February 2013 at 10:48  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Brother Ivo wrote;
"If the Government seeks to preserve its reputation as one of integrity"
The Government and the political parties of this country have little or no integrity. That’s why I stand up for Integrity.

15 February 2013 at 11:25  
Blogger Nick said...

We delude ourselves when we talk of having freedom of speech in this country. We are gagged just as much by the "establishment" as people were in stalinist Russia were.

My wife, who is Russian, is shocked at how little we can say on certain issues without some kind of retribution. She believes there is more freedom of speech in Putins Russia than here.

Both freedom of speech and democracy are steadily dying in Britain. At least those Russians who voted for Putin are getting what they expected to get.

15 February 2013 at 11:55  
Blogger John Chater said...

I listened to an interview with Gary Walker yesterday. What surprised me more than the effect of any gagging order (you can gag officials, but not patients) was the reported £1 million settlement that he was due to receive for services rendered.

£1 million? Of public money? If this is right, then you may be reporting on the wrong scandal.

15 February 2013 at 12:28  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Because we hold elections and we are constantly told by the politicians and their tame media supporters that we are a democratic country, it is easy for the non-political majority to still believe that we have freedom of speech, but in many ways, as is argued above, we do not any more. Supporters of freedom and therefore free speech need to win back the freedoms that have been compromised. But most MPs in the main parties have only a luke warm commitment to genuine free speech, although thankfully, a small minority do.

15 February 2013 at 12:56  
Blogger Simon Cooke said...

Non-disclosure clauses in settlements are very common in the public sector. These days Councils especially (and senior officers) are getting ever more obsessed with "reputation".

From memory, I can think of several such arrangements in Bradford.

You are right that non-disclosure - most commonly of the settlement amount and reasons for the original dispute - is a worry given that they can cover up wrong-doing and the expenditure f large sums of public money.

15 February 2013 at 13:27  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother John,

You may, indeed be right in what you say, and the passing reference to other areas of privilege amongst those in public service was not accidental.

The only way the paying public will ever have a chance to rectify any of these undoubted abuses, however is based upon their having a chance to know and complain.

Both these clauses and potentially the limitation of the press post-Leveson are calculated to advance the agenda of those who wish to profit at our expense through secrecy.

15 February 2013 at 14:26  
Blogger John Chater said...

How very true.

And all on the watch of a government that has vowed to put transparency and openness 'at the heart of everything we do'.

We are a much governed people.


15 February 2013 at 14:57  
Blogger Nick said...

Surely it only needs a small modification to the law to define the receipt of large payments in return for silence about serious issues having a direct effect on the public as "bribery and corruption". Much stricter rules apply to business. Why should the public sector be exempt?

15 February 2013 at 16:04  
Blogger John Wrake said...

YG,
While on the subject of secrecy and lack of accountability, might I ask for your support to end the practice of responses to complaints on government matters always being supplied by an anonymous spokesperson. I do not see why members of the Civil Service should not have their names attached to the statements they make to the public.
Those who criticise are required to give their names. Those who answer such criticism should meet the same standard.

John Wrake

15 February 2013 at 16:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

There was once a young secretary who took the minutes of a boisterous board meeting. Afterwards, the company secretary asked her to type them out, but to blank out the four letter words. She did exactly as she was told, and blanked out all of ____ .

On a serious note, in the nineteenth century, the British Empire was remarkably open about its business. For example, you could have written to the Admiralty as a concerned private individual, asking for the disposition of the fleet. And you would have received a reply. It all changed during the Dreadnaught race in Edwardian times, and the Great War finally put an end to it, and government secrecy was the order of the day thereafter.

But today ? Well, we have the terrorist threat, but details of a court settlement involving public money – hardly, what !

Just doesn’t seem to be the right thing to do, keeping it under wraps…



15 February 2013 at 17:35  
Blogger Roy said...

Gary Walker was supposedly sacked for swearing at meetings, not for whistle blowing. I almost never swear but I would be very tempted to do so for £1 million!

Is there anyone in this country who believes that a public body would offer someone a £1 million payoff because they don't like his use of swear words?

How many people are there in this country who do NOT believe that there are people in authority who would be prepared to spend £1 million of taxpayers' money (after all, there is plenty more where that came from) to buy silence in a scandal which, since it involves people's lives, is bigger than any on the banking scandals that have afflicted this country in recent years.

Finally, the lawyers acting for the NHS trust have written to Gary Walker threatening him with legal action which could ruin him, as well as rendering him unemployable in the public sector, for his public statements. In other words, the lawyers are acting to stifle discussion a large number of deaths that according to Gary Walker were needless.

One of the characteristics of professional bodies is that they usually have a code of ethics or some committee concerned with ethics. The Law Society is no exception.

Law Society Professional Standards & Ethics Committeehttp://governance.lawsociety.org.uk/committees/view=groupdetail.law?COMMITTEEID=11553

The Law Society received some bad publicity last year

Storm as Law Society bans conference debating gay marriage
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9260335/Storm-as-Law-Society-bans-conference-debating-gay-marriage.html

"The Law Society has banned a conference on family issues to be addressed by a senior High Court judge because debating gay marriage breached its “diversity policy”. Daily Telegraph, 11 May 2012

Perhaps the Law Society could explain why discussing maintaining the existing law on marriage infringes its policies but trying to intimidate a whistle blower who drew attention to what he claims were needless deaths does not infringe its "ethical" policies?

15 February 2013 at 18:19  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Brother Roy

You make sound points. To be strictly accurate, the function
of disciplining members of the Solicitors Profession has now passed to the independent Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

15 February 2013 at 18:32  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Roy, part of a barristers training is to resist bullying by the judge, which before the days of appealing the judgement for no apparent reason as happens today, was a surprisingly commonplace occurrence.

Which makes it all the more astonishing that the Law Society should allow themselves to be bullied by a group of desperately aggrieved homosexuals...



15 February 2013 at 18:36  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

OIG

The Law Society is nothing to do with the Bar, which is under the control of the Bar Council.

15 February 2013 at 21:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector is obliged to Ivo for his knowledgeable counsel.

But the fact still remains, why should the solicitors of this country be cowered by angry homosexuals. Surely, it cannot be the case that they wish to remain PC and not incur the wrath of these sexual degenerates ? After all, if there is an embargo on solicitors, who else would they turn to for legal advice ?


15 February 2013 at 22:11  
Blogger len said...

"So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.(Matthew 10:26)

It seems remarkable to me that the rate in which 'things which have been hidden are being revealed'.People and institutions once revered are being brought to the light.Banking, Politics,the Media,religion,have all been dragged(kicking and screaming) into the light.

It can only be God that is doing this exposing the corruption and the compromise which lies in the heart of man.

That is the negative side of things the positive side is that God has a solution and that is Jesus Christ, people would be advised to look to Him for a solution to the problems of mankind .

16 February 2013 at 08:01  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

OIG

Brother Ivo certainly agrees that any limitation of peacefully expressed opinion is wrong.

16 February 2013 at 08:25  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

This one is now up & running very well.
Both Dorrel & Hunt (!) are now appearing to line up with the Beeb & suggesting, very strongly that the LHT have something to hide.
I mean "swearing in meetings" is cause for a "gross misconduct" dismissal? Really? And the Moon is made of green cheese, honest, guv.
Incidentally, "Private Eye" have been on & on about NHS gagging-orders & the culture of fear for some time - I believe theor next issue will be ... interesting.

John Chater
HALF a million - but note the penalty clauses.
The (in my opinion) lying crooks @ LHT are now after that money-back + interst & penalties & have made the terminal mistake of threatening the Beeb.

GENREALLY
"Non-disclosure" is common, & understandable.
Gagging, to the extent of a superinjunction, which is what Mr Walker was subjected to are immoral & probably illegal.

Roy
Spot on.
It is so thin & tranparent, it won't stand up in public gaze.
Like the big pay-off, it's a mafia or church style trick - it works as long as everybody believes it or is scared enough. But it is too late now.
Your point about making an "example" of Mr Walker, to make sure no-one else spills the beans is all too true. However, see my note above about these legal thugs threatening the Beeb - could be interesting.

GENERALLY
This is nothing to do with Barristers - YET
It IS to do with Solicitors - & You can make a lot of money soliciting! (ahem)

Ien
Bleeding well grow up, pathetic little twerp.
Noting to do with BigSkyFairy & a lot to do with people with integrity & courage.

16 February 2013 at 09:02  
Blogger len said...

Bless you too Greg, Never too late (well it will be one day) to get saved.

16 February 2013 at 09:11  
Blogger David B said...

It seems to me that the basic issue is whether, when it comes to the spending of public funds, there should be an assumption that unless there is a very good reason for secrecy then the decisions and decision making process should be available to the public who pay the bills, as opposed to an assumption that unless there are good reasons for them to be made public then they should be secret by default.

An informed electorate needs the means to be informed.

Would it be hyperbolic to suggest that those who endeavour to keep what should be in the public domain private are, in effect, guilty of treason?

David

16 February 2013 at 09:22  
Blogger len said...

A bit 'off thread' but worth mentioning I believe.There a great many people who wish to' speak out'but are afraid of 'repercussions'.This is as true amongst the Christian World as the secular.In the Christian World 'Political Correctness' threatens to silence the preaching of the Gospel.This never stopped the disciples when there was a very real threat of being 'silenced' from speaking the Gospel.
There are many threats today from preaching the Gospel not the least the 'fear of man' or others(secular) opinions , scorn or ridicule. There are those who have an 'aggressive' secular response to the gospel.
It is somewhat amusing that God uses secular people to bless Christians(much as when Balaam tried to curse God`s people but could not and ended up blessing them instead)God does indeed have a sense of humour and will turn what the enemy intends for evil to good."Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.(Matthew 5:11)

16 February 2013 at 10:03  
Blogger D. Singh said...

The Walker case is nothing compared to what I know of what one family has been through: home intrusions. They have been distraught for a long time. Nothing is ever taken; windows left open, clothing rifled through, chess pieces broken, cash placed in the bin, credit cards taken then replaced the next day, endless lock changes.

If people don't believe this sort of thing happens in this country, just ask the former SAS hero Andy McNab as to what happened to his medals.

16 February 2013 at 10:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

There you are Gregory.

You really must grace these pages more often you know..

16 February 2013 at 15:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

“Gregorian rant” what !

16 February 2013 at 15:07  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

How typical
First reaction of Ien is TO BLACKMAIL ME

"You'll be sorry when you're dea & you meet Jesus"

BLACKMAILING EFFING LIAR

When I'm dead, that will be it - I'll get recycled, same as everyone else.

Got any evidence to the contrary?
Of course not.

Come on: "NO BigSkyFairy is detectable".
All you have to do is prove me wrong, and you can't, can you?

17 February 2013 at 09:16  
Blogger len said...

Greg... If you are really interested in learning the truth about God the evidence is there for all to perceive. It is all in Bible prophesy.
However much you might wish it when your body dies your soul and spirit will survive and will 'move into eternity'.Their eternal destination is decided by choices you make on this Earth.If you study Bible prophecy concerning Christ you will realise that this information could only have come from someone outside of time (namely God)The Bible was written by God through the hands of men.




17 February 2013 at 17:58  
Blogger len said...

G Tingey , perhaps this might help if you are genuinely interested?.

www.givingananswer.org/articles/prophecy.html

17 February 2013 at 18:11  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Ien
HOW MANY TIMES?

I know the book of Bronze-Age goatherders' myths called "the bible" very well, thank you!

Superb fiction-writing, especially in the "KJ" version I'm familar with.

Please demonstrate that I have a "spirit"?
Like BigSky Fairy, it should be detectable.

Anyway, according to all Xtian doctrine I've ever seen, no other animals have "souls", which means that I nHeaven, there are no kittens to cuddle, or play with.
You can stuff it.

You've fallen into the usual error, assuming that atheists don't know any religion.
Whereas we usually (from those others I've spoken to, at any rate) know a lot of it, because of the perpetual lies & blackmail put out by the believers.

17 February 2013 at 18:58  
Blogger len said...

Greg IF you studied(with a mind open to the truth) the truth would be revealed to you.

The mistake you have made[are making] is to let your presuppositions and prejudices stand in the way of the truth.

18 February 2013 at 08:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Rather like you then Len

heh heh !

18 February 2013 at 18:57  
Blogger len said...

Your' new identity'subconsciously reveals your true [religious] position Inspector?

18 February 2013 at 19:32  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Greg Tingey,

If you do know a lot about religion, then why do you post like a raving maniac who can't communicate his feelings to us in worlds of less than a couple of syllables? (perhaps you are unwell or have suffered a stroke or something?).

In any case, if your objection to a deity is that you think animals are excluded from 'heaven', I thought that the recent Pope had declared that animals did have souls and that he had lots of cats or something? (hopefully Dodo can clarify that point).

If Christianity doesn't float your boat, you could always become an ancient Egyptian, whose religion (I think) said that cats were the guardians of the 'underworld' and also they had a half dog-half man deity called Anubis [at least that is what I've learned from watching the Mummy and the Mummy Returns, LOL].

18 February 2013 at 19:46  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

18 February 2013 at 20:14  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Hannah,

As usual, on the ball. The Mummy and the Mummy Returns were classic throw your brains out of the window entertainment- I liked the bit when the toadying villain tries to get rid of the Mummy using various religious prayers and then uses a Hebrew prayer, which the Mummy recognises as 'the language of the slaves'...

(I think these films were the same Producer/Director as 'Van Helsing'?).

And Rachel W was in both films (an added bonus). Need one say any more?

As for Greg, well each to his own version of reality I guess (until he starts attacking male circumcision and other aspects of the Jewish faith...).

18 February 2013 at 20:20  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older