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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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News

Coastal car parks at beauty spots remain closed

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THE RECENT changes in regulations reinforce that movement is restricted to your local area.

This has been identified by the Welsh Government as an approximation of a five mile radius from your home.

Members of two separate households from the same local area (not travelling more than five miles) can now meet outdoors, as long as they maintain social distancing.

You should aim to meet another local household as close to your home as possible. Always take care to maintain social distancing and hand hygiene.

Pembrokeshire County Council car parks at attractions and beauty spots (including public toilets) currently remain closed so you should check before travelling.

They remain closed as a clear message that travel remains restricted, and associated tourism amenities remain closed.

A critical point for all to note is that lifeguards are not currently patrolling beaches and toilets and other facilities are not open.

Full details of the car parking facilities which remain open for the local community can be found on the Council’s website:
https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/emergency-planning/service-changes

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure said: “The emphasis is on careful, structured unlocking, and not to put in danger any of the recovery measures that relate to public health and not to undo the safeguarding that lockdown has delivered.

“We will continue to review and monitor this carefully and take cautious, measured steps only to provide the benefits of the eased regulations without putting our residents at risk.”

Motorists are reminded not to contravene parking restrictions – such as yellow lines – where they exist as parking enforcement is still being undertaken.

As with other service areas, car parks will be reviewed in line with current advice.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Leaders coronavirus update

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PEMBROKESHIRE County Council Leader, Councillor David Simpson, has provided a further coronavirus update for Tuesday, 2nd June, as follows:

‘I want to thank everyone for the continued support to myself, Elected Members and officers of the Authority.

‘We have all experienced many challenges over the years but this continued struggle is very testing for all. We continue collectively to work together to ensure we, in Pembrokeshire, remain safe and avoid catching Covid-19

‘It is clear that we still have to remain “local”. There is no remit for travelling outside our local community. You will have read and heard clear guidance on only travelling five miles from home.

‘As always and where you can, please exercise from your home. The more we can do to reduce the spread of the virus, the better we will all fare in the long term.

‘I want to highlight that today marks the 50 th anniversary of the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge. This was indeed a tragedy as lives were lost and it is a sad chapter in Pembrokeshire’s history.

‘As in any incident, people can, and do, rebuild and also learn lessons. After Covid-19 the new “normality” will look different from what we were used to. But we will all move forward and regain Confidence.

‘I’m sure, like you, I question how I should be tackling this issue. Should I be doing more? The answer is simple and direct – we need to ensure social distancing is maintained; wash our hands regularly and listen to the advice given by experts.

‘Remember: ‘Stay Strong and Stay Local.’

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‘Check in, Catch up and Prepare’ All school’s in Wales prepare to enter next phase

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ALL children will have the opportunity to “Check in, Catch Up, Prepare for summer and September”, the Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced today as she published details of the next phase for schools in Wales.

It is proposed that all schools will start the next phase on 29 June, with the term extended by a week, therefore ending on 27 July.

In the next academic year, beginning in September, the intention is that the autumn half-term break will be expanded to two weeks.

In each school there will be a phased approach. Year groups will be split into cohorts with staggered starts, lessons and breaks. It is expected that this will mean, at most, a third of pupils present at any one time, though schools may need time to reach this level of operation.

There will be much smaller classes, providing secure dedicated time with teachers and classmates. This time will include online and personalised classroom experience, getting children and teachers ready for a similar experience in September.

Next week, the Welsh Government will publish guidance to support schools, as well as further and higher education institutions. This will include information on managing their facilities and logistical arrangements, including buildings, resources, cleaning and transport.

The Government is also today publishing a paper from its COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group, representing the latest understanding of the virus with respect to children and education.

Further Education colleges are ensuring that appropriate measures are being taken to re-open for face-to-face learning from 15 June. They will prioritise those students requiring licence to practice assessments and vulnerable learners. This follows close working with Government and the joint trade unions.

Guidance for childcare providers will also be published in the next week, supporting them to increase the numbers of children in attendance alongside schools.

Kirsty Williams said:

“My announcement today gives schools three and a half weeks to continue preparing for the next phase.

“We will use the last weeks of the summer term to make sure pupils, staff and parents are prepared – mentally, emotionally and practically – for the new normal in September.

“29 June means there will have been one full month of test, trace and protect, which will continue to expand. I can also announce that teachers will be a priority group in our new antibody-testing programme. As we continue to keep Wales safe, this approach will be critical.

“The evolving science suggests that warm weather and sunlight gives us the best opportunity to ensure more time in school. Waiting until September would mean almost half a year without schooling. That would be to the detriment to the wellbeing, learning progress and mental health of our young people.

“This is and has been a worrying period for us all. I know that many will feel apprehensive. We have not rushed this work and this decision.

“The three and a half week period before the next phase also gives us time to keep watch on developments elsewhere and provides further check-points to review evidence and the roll-out of testing.

“This is the best practical option that meets my five principles which underpin my decision making.

“I am also convinced that it is only by returning to their own school that we will see increased attendance from our more vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

“Working together we will secure equity and excellence for pupils as they check in, catch up, and prepare for summer and September.”

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