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Shocking report reveals toxic infighting at S4C

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THE FORMER Chief Executive of Welsh language broadcaster S4C created an atmosphere of fear at the channel, bullied staff and behaved “like a dictator”.

Those are the findings of an explosive report prepared for S4C by Capital Law, the Cardiff-based legal team hired to investigate misconduct allegations. S4C has around 120 employees; 92 spoke to Capital Law during its investigation.

A CULTURE OF FEAR

The report outlines several recurring complaints about Sian Doyle, who was sacked as S4C’s Chief Executive last week. Participants reported that Sian Doyle’s leadership style was: “dictatorial, creating a culture of fear”.

The report also records incidents when the former CEO spoke in a foul-mouthed and derogatory way about on-screen and backroom staff, belittled those who raised questions, and belittled staff in meetings.

Her “confrontational” behaviour reduced some to tears, caused others to suffer adversely with their mental health, and contributed towards staff leaving S4C.

One employee reported suffering “a major health event” at a management away day meeting in Llangrannog.

The employee described an animated conversation involving the Chief Executive and other senior staff members about the level of change required at S4C.

The conversation spoke about replacing many staff who were described as: “not worth worrying about” and that the Chief Executive suggested a lot of the staff at S4C did not have the skills or knowledge to justify being in their jobs. Sian Doyle reportedly suggested losing: “at least 50 of them”.

Conversely, several participants recognised that change is needed within S4C and that the general strategic direction Sian Doyle was working towards was positive. Investigators also heard from staff who spoke positively about her and described her conduct towards them as “supportive”.

Sacked: Report criticises former CEO Sian Doyle

STAFF IN THE CROSSFIRE

Making recommendations about S4C’s future broadcasting and commissioning strategy was far beyond the report’s remit. However, it is clear from the issues in the report that there is considerable tension within the organisation over its direction.

The report’s content permits the inference that different parts of S4C management were engaged in guerilla warfare against each other, and staff were caught in the crossfire between the rival camps.

That inference is strongly supported by a statement by the S4C Authority that said, “Participants recognised that change is needed at S4C and that the senior management team were intent on delivering an ambitious vision for the channel’s future.
“It appears, however, that the way some shared this with staff and the approach to managing change across the organisation was insensitive. “This often led to conflict and insecurity rather than creativity and a positive, inclusive transformation. It is clear that many S4C staff have been unhappy at work and that our organisation did not seem to have appropriate working practices to deal openly and appropriately with staff concerns.”

CHANNEL SAYS SORRY

The S4C Authority issued a statement: “The report paints a picture of a very difficult working environment for many at S4C. Participants described an unsettling workplace, with some individual members of the senior management team behaving inappropriately and with an approach that directly impacted the well-being of staff.
“As members of the S4C Authority, we would like to say sorry to those who have had to tolerate unacceptable behaviours in the workplace and for the upset that this has caused. We would like to thank you for your openness and honesty in sharing your experiences, enabling the failings highlighted in today’s report to be identified.”

The statement continued: “The S4C Authority is committed to ensuring that S4C is a place where our colleagues are happy and safe – a place where they feel able to perform at their best and thrive. We recognise that significant work is required to implement new working methods that will allow S4C to build a positive future with a supported and creative workforce.
“To do that, we need to restore confidence and trust amongst our staff, who have a crucial role in the organisation’s future success. Integral to that success is leadership focussed on collaboration and communication. As an Authority, we decided this would require new leadership at S4C, and we will shortly make further announcements about that process.”

SENEDD SUMMONS FOR S4C

The Senedd’s Culture Committee has called members of the S4C Board to give evidence on Thursday, December 14.

Delyth Jewell MS, Chair of the Senedd’s Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee, said:
“The continued allegations in the media related to S4C are deeply worrying.
“With rumours and speculation circulating, the Committee is keen for these questions to be answered publicly.
“We are inviting the Chair and a member of S4C’s Board to give evidence next week to bring clarity for the people of Wales.
“To restore public trust in the broadcaster, it is essential that they are open and transparent in this process.
“To this end, we welcome the report’s publication and will consider its contents before speaking to S4C next week.
“We know how important the success of S4C is for the Welsh language and Wales as a country and we will be doing all we can to get answers from the channel’s leadership over the coming weeks.”

Business

Tenby’s favourite Japanese restaurant Umi reopens under new ownership

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There’s great news for aficionados of Japanese cuisine in Pembrokeshire, the much-loved Umi restaurant, which closed its doors on High Street in Tenby in January, is now set to welcome diners once again under the new stewardship of Lok and Jen Cheung.

The couple, renowned for their culinary ventures including The Dragon Palace Chinese restaurant at Pentlepoir and Lokky’s and The Imperial Dragon Inn at nearby Wooden, are on a mission to redefine the Japanese dining experience in the picturesque Welsh town.

The grand reopening of Umi – which means The Ocean in Japanese – took place on Wednesday, February 28, has been the subject of much anticipation and excitement. “We are beyond excited to announce the grand reopening of Umi today,” Lok and Jen expressed, inviting customers to prepare for a “culinary voyage that will transport you straight to the vibrant streets of Japan.”

Umi’s commitment to quality and authenticity shines through in its offerings. The restaurant promises an array of fresh ingredients, expertly crafted sushi rolls, and mouth-watering Japanese delicacies. “From traditional favourites like sashimi and tempura to unique fusion creations, our menu is a true celebration of flavours,” the couple shared in a recent Facebook post.

However, Umi aims to offer more than just exquisite food. The restaurant’s serene and stylish ambiance is designed to immerse guests in the beauty and tranquillity of Japanese culture, making it an ideal venue for both intimate dinners and lively gatherings with friends.

Lok and Jen are no strangers to the hospitality industry. The busy parents of four have previously made their mark with the success of The Dragon Palace, followed by the opening of Lokky’s, which features cuisine inspired by eastern Asia. In June last year, they expanded their portfolio with the launch of The Imperial Dragon Hotel, notable for its themed rooms that include Indian, Japanese, and Chinese decor.

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed in the culinary world. The Dragon Palace was awarded the Best Oriental Restaurant in the Food Awards Wales 2022, and Lokky’s secured the title of Best Asian Restaurant in Wales at the Golden Chopsticks Awards 2022.

With such a rich background and a clear passion for enriching Tenby’s dining scene, the reopening of Umi under Lok and Jen Cheung is poised to be a gastronomic event that will further cement their reputation as pioneers of Asian cuisine in Wales.

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Business

McDonald’s thanks Milford Haven after a busy first day

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MC DONALD’S new restaurant in Milford Haven, which opened its doors for the first time today, February 28th, at 11am, has already become a hit with the locals, thanks to an overwhelming turnout.

The opening day saw the restaurant bustling with patrons eager to check out the new location.

Reflecting on the day, the McDonald’s team extended a warm message of gratitude. A spokesperson said: “Wow, you came to see us in your droves today!

“We certainly tried our best to provide good service to you all. Inevitably at times, service was a bit slower than we would have liked, but we hope to see you all again soon.

“Thank you from team Milford.”

Despite the busy start and not offering breakfast on its first day—a detail proactively communicated to customers—the franchise’s focus remained steadfast on ensuring everyone had a positive experience.

The commitment of the new McDonald’s restaurant to the local community extends beyond its menu. In partnership with the police and Port Authority, the franchise is actively working to address anti-social behaviour and improve traffic management around the new site.

These collaborations aim to create a safe and enjoyable environment for both patrons and the broader community, reinforcing McDonald’s dedication to making a positive impact, the company said.

The opening of the restaurant has also brought significant employment opportunities to Milford Haven, with 90 new jobs created.

This boost increases the total number of individuals employed by Lonetree Limited, the local franchisee, to around 1,700 across its 17 McDonald’s outlets in South West Wales.

As McDonald’s encourages residents to follow their social media for updates, the overarching message is one of gratitude and excitement for the future.

A local councillor said: “The successful launch day sets a promising tone for the McDonald’s restaurant in Milford Haven as it embarks on its journey to be more than just a place to eat but a valued community partner.”

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Business

McDonald’s opens new branch in Milford Haven today

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A BRAND new McDonald’s restaurant is opening its doors in Milford Haven today (Feb 28) at 11am, offering locals a fresh dining option with a promise of community engagement and attention to local issues. The opening marks a departure from the usual breakfast service, with the restaurant opting to start later on its first day, running until 11 pm, before resuming its regular hours of 6 am to 11 pm thereafter.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s Milford Haven expressed enthusiasm for the launch, stating, “We are excited to be opening at 11am! We are open all the way through till 11pm and can’t wait to serve all of you throughout the day/week. We hope no matter what time of the day or night you visit us that you enjoy your first look around our new store.”

The opening day’s late start means that breakfast will not be available, a point the franchise was keen to highlight ahead of time. “Good Afternoon, Our opening hours will be 6am-11pm. But however, on opening day we will be opening at 11am so no breakfast,” the company announced, setting the stage for what is anticipated to be an enjoyable experience despite this minor setback.

In a move that underscores its commitment to becoming an integral part of the Milford Haven community, McDonald’s has announced collaborations with local law enforcement and the Port Authority to address anti-social behaviour and ensure efficient traffic management around the new location.

This partnership, The Herald was told, aims to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for both patrons and the broader community.

The McDonald’s restaurant franchise encouraging residents to follow their social media pages for updates and to share news of the opening with friends and family.

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