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Calls for Bryn to resign over council paedophile scandal

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backed brynTHERE are fresh calls today (Tuesday, July 15) for Wales’ highest paid council chief, Bryn Parry Jones, to resign. This time there is mounting pressure on him over the way Pembrokeshire County Council dealt with allegations about a former senior council youth worker who went on to be jailed for six years for sexually abusing a child.

And as a result of a BBC Wales Week In Week Out investigation into the case, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales says he wants to re-open the case files at the Council to discover whether children were left at risk. Children’s Commissioner Keith Towler told the BBC:

‘I’ll take look at it because I think what you’re raising there are very serious allegations. That probably needs an independent look. In terms of my responsibility as Children’s Commissioner, if I take the view that things happened to children in the past could help to improve the lives of children today then I certainly have got the powers of remit to take look at it.’

In 2005 a whistle-blower warned bosses that Mik Smith was behaving inappropriately with children and could pose as a risk – but Smith, from Haverfordwest, was given a verbal warning.

mikeThis month paedophile Smith was jailed for six years for sexually abusing an eight-year-old boy.

The offences happened after he’d been sacked. Whistle-blower Sue Thomas – who originally warned bosses about Smith’s inappropriate behaviour – thinks that the Council made a serious mistake when they gave Mik Smith a verbal warning in 2005:

‘I still can’t get my head round it because there were so many good hard-working professional people that came forward with complaints – I cannot understand why we were not listened to.

I can’t comprehend what type of person in management wouldn’t listen to it and wouldn’t be concerned and wouldn’t want to deal with it – I’m lost for words.’

Further complaints were made about Smith in 2009 and 2011, and he was eventually sacked in 2012 after a re-investigation was ordered by the Welsh Government.

Mik Smith’s recent court case has prompted questions about whether the Council should have sacked Smith sooner and whether it did enough to protect children who he came into contact with.

The Council’s Chief Executive Bryn Parry-Jones said that there were significant failings in the disciplinary standards used to handle the case. The Council says that its investigation at the time revealed no evidence of criminal activity, but it regretted that there were significant failings in the disciplinary standards in its education directorate in 2005 when allegations were made about Smith.

joyceJoyce Watson AM says this is the latest in a series of failures by the Council to properly protect vulnerable children. She wants Bryn Parry Jones – who earns more than the £228,000 a year – to step down. She told The Heralds:

‘I think it’s time for him to go and I’m not shy of saying that – he has been the permanency in all of the negative reports that have been there and there have been a number of them. You cannot be the highest paid Chief Executive in Wales because you are worth that money, and reside over failure. Repeated failure.’

The programme has spoken to an independent social worker who investigated the allegations against Mik Smith on behalf of the Council in 2005. The social worker told the BBC that she was “surprised” that Smith had been dealt with by way of a verbal warning at the time.

Bryn Parry Jones said that the council’s investigation at the time revealed no evidence of criminal activity and that since that time the Council has completely changed its procedures and management of the Education department and is confident that past failings would not be repeated now. The Council also said that no manager from the former Education directorate involved in the decision-making in 2005 is currently employed by the Authority.”

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Helen mills

    July 15, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Mr Parry be true to the wonderful people of pembrokeshire & more so to yourself & step down. No one in the sector you work in should be awarded the salary you take from these wonderful people who pay your salary be honest tell me what you do in a day to get this amount as you have minions that work for you so you sit back feet up as you can all see in this article.
    A young lad scared for the rest of his life but Smiths gratification in minutes & forgotten about until the next time, terror runs through that young lads body how dare you & Smith get away with us h behaviour?
    People of pembrokeshire need to shout louder.

  2. Tomos

    July 15, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Does any one think he’ll do the DECENT thing?

    There’s been no sign of that “weakness” in his personality, just sharp elbows getting to that tax funded trough and s** the weak,the disabled and the poor – who I always thought the state was there to help and support.

    Now we find out our children were not safe, we’ve had enough from the IPG about paying the most to get the best ** HOLLOW LAUGH** , PCC are just going from one calamity to the next –

    surely the memebers of this “party” must be SO ashamed of what has been done (or not done) in their names to get their special responsibility allowances – now they’ve found this sort of information they MUST get a back bone and think about the ppl of Pembrokeshire

  3. Peter Warrender

    July 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I know is salary and pension pot plus car allowance are an abuse to the council tax payers of Pembrokeshire. The councillors who allowed this abuse should be sacked. On the paedophile front the buck should stop with him, he is the CEO so must take full responsibility for what happens within the PCC. What else is he being paid a massive salary for?

  4. Roy Mcgurn

    July 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    The Chief Executive is several layers removed from this case. His culpability, if any, stems from his cost cutting of council spending, particularly Social Services. Scandals such as this can hit even high spending authorities, so it is difficult to prove cost cutting is a direct cause of this case. However, in cutting costs, a culture of denial has permeated the authority, as some of their antics do not stand up to detailed scrutiny. (The recent irregularities in grants awarded in Pembroke Dock being an example.)If an investigation did indeed determine that this culture of denial was a primary cause of children being put at risk, then his position should be untenable.

  5. Paul Hill

    July 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    The man has a brass neck, he is’nt going to walk away from his gravy train, he’s surrounded himself with allies and they are all in the trough, they will just ignore this as usual…

  6. Lofty

    July 15, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    I was part of that investigation back in 2005 and witnessed first hand the inappropriate behaviour that monster carried out on our vulnerable young boys in his care. He lied, deceived and manipulated many to serve his own disgusting crime. I am pleased that all those who managed him have been removed from their posts and quite rightly so. We went through hell and lost a good colleague in the process – sacked due to his lies! I just hope and pray that justice will finally be done and BPJ is finally removed from his office too.

  7. Tomos

    July 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I’m not discussing this case, only the principle – It looks as though ppl who did nothing when Cyril Smith or Jimmy saville was guilty of dreadfully corrupt things, may well have their or their families reputations shredded or may even go to jail for doing nothing when they are caught possibly 20/30 years after the guilty are long gone – only warning those who think they afre safe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. woody

    July 16, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Watched the documentary last night…Unbelievable! That the chief executive on 220k+ huge benefits per annum can wash his hands of this because he stated he was on holiday!!!!….Also he should be on his knees apologising to the very brave whistle blower after writing such a bombastic chauvinistic condescending letter in reply to her concerns. She lost her job over this and had to move out of the County while Bryn just went on holiday..Bryn Parry Jones needs to be pushed as his arrogance won\’t allow him to resign….No other institution in there right mind would leave this man alone in charge of washing dishes let alone being left in charge of managing millions of pounds of rate payers money …..Bryn Parry Jones and his cronies are a shambolic bunch of opportunistic amateurs riding the red wine jus gravy train.This is not the only scandal to hit Bryn and his lap dancing generals at the PCC…..when will the Welsh Assembly take a REAL interest in the internal incompetence and downright deceit that dogs this Council. I know of no one person who has a good word to say about this bunch of cowboys.Also was it true a memo went around the Council that nobody was allowed to talk to Bryn Parry Jones if they passed him in the council corridors as \”his mind was always on far greater and important things\” ?????..And does he really have a private lift installed to his own office????

  9. Milford Matters

    July 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Teflon man will escape again – nothing sticks to this guy – he will supported by his Council Cabinet Colleques and survive till the next election.

  10. Keanjo

    July 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Failure ,failure ,failure crisis, crisis ,crisis .When will it stop? When will someone assert their authority and help us ?

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Protest over animal welfare concerns at Bramble Hill Farm

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LOCALS held a peaceful protest at the site of a Pembroke Dock farm, where over 200 animals were removed after a multi agency response to animal welfare concerns last month.

Around 100 worried locals from Pembroke and Pembroke Dock gathered at the entrance to Bramble Hill Farm last Friday (Feb 15) at 4pm. Those present believed the farm owners are still in possession of dogs, which they cited as the reason for the protest. Head of Environment and Public Protection at Pembrokeshire County Council, Richard Brown later confirmed that there were two dogs left on the farm, but explained they were elderly and looked after. Locals hoped the protest would mean the removal of any animals still left at the property and a ban imposed to prevent any further animals being kept at the property or by the owners.

Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police were present, with the Herald reporter in attendance being told that the police were ensuring it remained peaceful and to keep traffic congestion to a minimum. There was evident hostility towards to the local authorities and RSPCA amongst the protesters, with many feeling that their concerns about the farm were not dealt with soon enough by the relevant organisations.

Speaking to the crowd, Richard Brown said: “So the idea of what we do is, we are proceeding with our enquiries and get the case together. If we get a successful conviction, it’s an opportunity to get a ban on keeping animals. Without that conviction we can’t get a ban.”

He was challenged numerous times on whether Sean Burns, owner of the farm, has been prosecuted for animal cruelty. Mr Brown then confirmed that ‘he has been prosecuted previously’.

He added: “We have to be careful not to prejudice any case. All of our interests is animal welfare. We can’t just go in and remove animals because people want us to. We don’t have those powers.

“There is a range of offences being investigated and a range of individuals being investigated.”

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Neyland woman imprisoned for driving while disqualified

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A 35-YEAR-OLD woman who was caught driving while disqualified twice in four days days has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Victoria Anne James, of College Park, Neyland, was stopped by Dyfed-Powys Police roads policing officers in Johnston on Friday, February 15. She was reported for the offences and her Alfa Romeo car was seized.

James was stopped a second time by police on Monday, February 18, for driving while disqualified while driving another car.

She was arrested and charged with two counts of driving while disqualified and two counts of driving without insurance.

She was convicted at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Courts that same day and received a six month prison sentence, and received a further 24 months Driving Disqualification.

Sergeant Justin Williams said: “Police intelligence led officers to stop Victoria Anne James on February 15 where she was reported for offences and her car was seized. For her to commit the same offence two days later shows her disregard for the law.

“I hope this targeted, swift work from roads policing officers and the courts, which has resulted in a prison sentence serves as a stark warning to James and others considering flouting the laws on our roads. We are monitoring our roads and we will take robust action to ensure we keep other drivers on our roads safe by upholding the law.”

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Boy took his own life after failure to refer him for psychiatric support

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THE INQUEST into the death of 14 year-old Derek Brundrett, who was found hanged at Pembroke School in December 2013, has found that there were individual failings in efforts to get psychiatric support for the teenage boy – who then went on to take his own life.

Derek had seven different social workers and record keeping by social services was in a “shocking state of affairs” leading up to his death.

Returning a narrative verdict, the Assistant Coroner, Paul Bennett, said: “That Derek Brundrett took his own life and intended to do so in circumstances where, despite efforts to refer him for psychiatric support there was a failure to do so.”

Although no systemic failures were found, the Assistant Coroner ruled that there was a failure to refer by a social worker, a failure by a GP to provide extra information when referrals in 2012 and 2013 were declined, and a further failure to provide the relevant information on the appropriate referral form of a Looked After Child.

Derek’s death was in the context that he had been returned to foster care and was concerned about a return to the Pupil Referral Unit.

Derek’s actions were not considered to be a cry for help but rather a deliberate attempt at self-harm, the Coroner’s report stated.

The inquest had previously heard there were numerous failed attempts to refer him to mental health services.

A social services referral plan was not completed by Derek’s social worker because “she believed him to be happy”.

The inquest also heard Derek’s GP had made “routine” referrals for mental health treatment in 2012 and 2013.

Angela Lodwick, head of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for the Hywel Dda University Health Board, said they had to “prioritise children with severe mental health disorders”.

She added requests for more information about Derek’s condition went unanswered.

But she told the inquest that, at the time, CAMHS was not proactive in seeking more information.

Ms Lodwick said CAMHS would have probably “taken him on referral and made an assessment” if they had known about Derek’s risk-taking behaviour and talk of suicide in 2013, such as when he climbed onto the school roof.

She told the inquest the system had been inadequate and “the position was that everyone sat on their hands waiting” but CAMHS has since made improvements.

A spokesman for the Pembrokeshire County Council said: “The death of a child is a profound loss and all the professionals involved in this tragedy feel great sympathy for Derek and his family and friends. We would like to repeat our sincere condolences to them at this time.

“Derek’s loss is deeply felt by those individuals who had formed close and caring relationships with him.

“We would like to thank the Coroner for his thorough investigation and consideration of the case.

“We will, of course, reflect upon all of the issues that have been raised during the Inquest, and consider what lessons can be learned with a view to continuing to ensure the safeguarding and well-being of all children and young persons served by Pembrokeshire County Council.”

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