Scrutiny is not working in Wales

by cymrusofren

Scrutiny-examining-magnifying

During the last five years, Cymru Sofren/Sovereign Wales has been petitioning the Welsh Government on various important matters and also asking the scrutinising bodies in Wales to investigate official complaints. It has sadly become obvious that scrutiny in Wales simply isn’t working. It is failing all the citizens of Wales.

The following are ten official complaints jointly presented by Cymru Sofren/Sovereign Wales and Hawliau/The Welsh National Rights Movement, to the relevant bodies in Wales over the last six months. The complaints deal with the various aspects affecting all our lives in Wales and also with the lack of effective scrutiny of the Welsh Government and our public funded bodies in general..

The scrutinising bodies that these were sent to are The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, the Wales Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee.

All three scrutinising bodies have refused to look into these complaints citing various reasons which themselves do not stand up to scrutiny. Even when it has been stressed over and over that many issues dealt with in the complaints are issues affecting the health and well being of people and children in Wales, still the public bodies have declined to investigate the complaints.

The role of both the Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office is to ensure that proper and thorough scrutiny is given to Welsh Government and public expenditure as fully explained in the Welsh Assembly’s Standing Orders, Chapter 18. Most if not all of the mentioned complaints concern Welsh Government and public expenditure in one form or another. Both the Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office have refused to look further in to these official complaints.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales’ role is to consider complaints about public bodies. This they have also refused to do, citing contradictory reasons and constantly being evasive and moving the goalposts when asked to explain their reasons for refusing to investigate the complaints. There are no other obvious official bodies in Wales that can be approached to ask to investigate these serious matters.

Details of all of these complaints have also been sent to every single Welsh Assembly Member with a letter asking them to look into these important matters as our political representatives and as public servants answerable to us, the people. No member has yet replied, responded or taken up any of these complaints themselves.

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All the original petitions from Sovereign Wales going back to 2012 can also be found on the Welsh Assembly petitions site which can be found by searching in the search box:

http://www.assembly.wales/en/gethome/e-petitions/Pages/e-petitions.aspx

Alternatively you can follow each individual link/s seen with these complaints.

As two Welsh campaigning/lobbying organisations, we are seriously concerned about the failure of these appointed bodies to investigate these complaints and take appropriate action where needed after being urged to do so for the sake of accountability and transparency. These factors are crucial for effective, healthy Welsh democracy and governance.

Our Welsh representatives are also supposed to be holding the Welsh government to account but they are failing to do this as can be seen by the failure to tackle the important issues seen in theses complaints. This leads to crucial issues being skirted around, contained or ignored. This also leads to the alienation and ultimately the endangering of the Welsh citizens whom they have been entrusted to protect and speak up for.

Our politicians, scrutinising bodies and press have a duty of care as well as a moral duty to address these complaints and to take appropriate action against the Welsh Government and the relevant public bodies where necessary. However this isn’t happening.

It would therefore have to be surmised that scrutiny in Wales simply isn’t working and therefore urgently needs to be thoroughly rebooted with a root and branch overhaul.

It’s worth reminding ourselves of a famous quote by Welsh American Thomas Jefferson, the founding father of the American republic and principal author of the declaration of independence, who made famous the quote:

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

The following paragraphs are a synopsis of the ten complaints which have been sent to the Public Ombudsman for Wales, the Public Accounts Committee and the Wales Audit Office.

For more details please look at the supporting information, correspondence, evidence and research to be found with each specific complaint. The history of all the relevant official correspondence between Cymru Sofren/Sovereign Wales, the petition panel and respective Welsh Government Ministers can be followed via the links to the Welsh assembly petition site for each specific petition referred to in the complaints.

Public Ombudsam Services for Wales, Nick Bennet

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennet

1. A request for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office to hold a full investigation in to why the Welsh Government has failed in its duty of care to ban the growing and selling of all GMO seeds, foods, animal/fish feeds in Wales because of their inherent dangers to health including cancer risks. As seen in countless peer-reviewed papers as outlined by GM Free Cymru here: http://www.gmfreecymru.org.uk/crucial.html  See a link to the petition and all official correspondence on the petition site here.

2. A request for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office to hold a full investigation in to why the Welsh Government has failed in its duty of care to not go ahead with the proposed draconian compulsory microchipping of dogs which, as admitted by Welsh Assembly Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans, and as peer-reviewed papers show, can cause tumours and other illnesses in dogs, is needless, expensive and which won’t improve the unification of dogs with owners, as testified by evidence from the equivalent microchipping legislation in northern Ireland seen in this link: http://www.chipmenot.org.uk /news.asp#story15. See the Sovereign Wales article on this here and see a link to the petition and all official correspondence on the petition site here.

Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans

Deputy Welsh government Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans

3. A request for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office to hold a full investigation in to why the Welsh Government has failed in its duty of care to have a full investigation in to the fact that new housing in Wales caters to UK needs and not solely Welsh needs as is the legislative devolved remit.  This as admitted by former housing minister Carl Sargeant correspondence and shown in other research which demonstrates that it is a UK housing directorate and planning inspectorate  (part of the UK’s DCLG/Department for Communities and Local Government) that decides on new housing numbers for Wales rather than an exclusive Welsh directorate catering exclusively for existing Welsh needs.

This has led to the Welsh Government, directed by the UK government, announcing that 190,000 new households are needed in Wales for UK needs from 2011 to 2036 – an incredibly disproportionate and unsustainable amount (also see downloadable report here). It’s taken Wales over 3000 years to have the 1.3 million households it has now yet the Welsh government thinks a 15% increase in households for non Wales residents in 25 years is appropriate. Previous projections had pointed out the need for an even more staggering  320,000 new households for a similar time period until it was pointed out to the Welsh government by  individuals and groups including Sovereign Wales that their own projection figures and formulas were flawed and massively exaggerated.

There is no difference from this plan to the Israeli government forcing the building of new Israeli settlements in Palestine lands-it is effectively a soft genocide approach in both cases. In fact, the enforced new housing settlements in Wales are more extreme that the situation between Israel and Palestine in this regards.

Mersey Dee Alliance - a completly unnacountable, non democratic cross border group supported by the Welsh government

Mersey Dee Alliance – a completely unaccountable, non democratic cross border group supported by the Welsh government

In 2009, Wrexham’s Deffro’r Ddraig group delivered the most signed petition the Welsh government has ever received, with 24,000 signatures calling for them to stop the local development plan which includes the new mass housing plans. The Welsh government didn’t listen to the democratic voice of north-east Wales, they merely avoided the issue and focused on carrying out an even more destructive plan with the west Cheshire/north east Wales sub-regional strategy which seeks to suck up north-east Wales as an overspill area for the mass building of 20,000 new housing catering for the needs of west Cheshire and Merseyside.

This all without any democratic process, scrutiny or discussion in the Welsh Assembly. The Welsh government therefore has instantly broken their devolved remit under the Government of Wales Act 2006 which forbids them to make decisions in any other country other than Wales. Yet here they are, directed and overseen by the UK government against their own Welsh devolution remit, entering in to a sub regional strategy with north-west England and building 20,000 new households to cater for the needs of Cheshire and the Merseyside region and 190,000 ‘for UK needs’ in the rest of Wales.

Peter Schofield, Director-General for Housing and Planning for the UK government

Peter Schofield, Director-General for Housing and Planning for the UK government and which directs disproportionate mass housing projections for Wales based on UK needs rather than Welsh needs.

From the international legal definition of the crime of genocide as found in Article II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide , which includes the protection of a national group meaning ‘a set of individuals whose identity is defined by a common country of nationality or national origin’, this mass housing and sub regional plan could be termed genocidal by both the Mersey Dee alliance partnership and the Welsh government.

Whether it is deliberate or not, it will actively destroy the Welsh identity of this area and its people – an identity that can be found in many guises and layers. Based on this, there is surely a clear case for legal and lawful action against the perpetrators of these planned mass housing settlements in Wales.

Tony Thackett, Head of Planning Inspectorate for England and Wales

Tony Thickett, Head of Planning Inspectorate for England and Wales

Perhaps this is something that will not particularly bother many. But  it is a principal that should be fought for and protected for the sake of everyone in the world. For when they come for you who will speak out for you? Many activists and campaigners will rightly demand and fight for the rights of the people of Tibet, Palestine and the Kurdish people for example. But these same people will not consider that the nations of Britain deserve the same protections. Wales needs new housing but new housing should be built to cater for local need first and foremost, and most should be priced in proportion to local wages. See a link to the petition and all official correspondence on the petition site here.

Former Housing Minsiter Carl Sargeant

Former Welsh government Housing Minister Carl Sargeant

4. A request for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office to hold a full investigation in to why the Welsh Government has failed in its duty of care to have a full investigation in to the inherent health risks of wireless and mobile phone technologies including in all schools in Wales. This as seen in countless scientific peer-reviewed papers which outline cancer risks, loss of fertility and DNA damage, especially in children, as seen in these Wi-Fi papers. Please note, this is an ongoing petition at the Welsh Assembly. See a link to the petition and all official correspondence on the petition site here.

Welsh Assembly Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford has been personally handed over this information by hand and has refused to look in to it further even though he is by now fully aware of the serious concerns about wi-fi technology, especially for children. Worryingly and bizarrely, as can be seen here, he has also stated that Public Health England are responsible for advising the Welsh Government on such issues even though health is devolved to Wales under the Government of Wales Act 2006.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford

5. A request for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office to hold a full investigation in to why the Welsh Government has failed in its duty of care to have a full and independent investigation in to the safety and effectiveness of all vaccines administered in Wales.

As well as this, it is demanded that there is an investigation in to how and why Public Health Wales gave out exaggerated and misleading figures for people with measles in the 2012-2013 Swansea measles outbreak. The number of cases reported by Public Health Wales and in the media were often up to three times the actual number, as seen in this Sovereign Wales article on the matter. This resulted in a mass MMR vaccination campaign aided by a corporate mainstream media frenzy in Wales. The MMR vaccine is one example of a vaccine that remains highly controversial with numerous questions remaining about its safety and effectiveness.

See a link to the petition and all official correspondence on the petition site here. (page 44) Welsh Assembly Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford has been personally handed over this information about the need for an independent investigation and has refused to look in to it further even though he is by now fully aware of the serious concerns about vaccines and how they are pushed.

Dr Tracey Cooper Chief Executive for Public Health Wales

Dr Tracey Cooper Chief Executive for Public Health Wales

6. A request for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office to hold a full investigation in to why the Welsh Government has failed in its duty of care to have a full and independent investigation in to any non transparent training organisation/s, consultancies and charities working within the Welsh government and public bodies in general.

Unaccountable leadership training organisations such as Common Purpose, consultancies and charities using public money should be refrained from any such activity without being fully transparent and providing full disclosure of what their courses entails and what the cost is to the tax payer and the public in general. According to FOI requests and the Welsh Government’s disclosure log, £115,346.50 has been spent on training courses for staff by the Common Purpose training organisation alone. See one of the FOI’s here.

See a link to the petition and all official correspondence on the petition site here.

Common Purpose founder and chief executive Julia Middleton

Common Purpose founder and chief executive Julia Middleton

7. A request for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office to hold a full investigation in to why the Welsh Government has thus far failed in its duty of care to stop the proposed second Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station at Ynys Mon and instead develop clean coal power using carbon capture technology and/or using the plentiful renewable energy of Wales. The manifesto of Ynys Mon’s campaign group PAWB has demonstrated that viable and safer alternatives to the nuclear station plans could mean that up to 3000 new permanent jobs could be created for the local population as opposed to the few hundred permanent jobs created by a nuclear plant.

The German Government, after the Fukushima disaster and after their research showed increased rates of childhood cancers and leukaemia around nuclear sites in children under 5 especially, is closing all its nuclear power stations by 2022 and embarking on a massive programme of building 12 new coal-fired stations by 2020. The Welsh Government has a duty of care to follow suit and not risk the lives of children and people in Ynys Mon, the rest of Wales and beyond with nuclear power. See a link to the petition and all official correspondence on the petition site here.

8. A request for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office to hold a full investigation in to why the Welsh Government has thus far failed to establish a public bank of Wales. Under schedule 7 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, it is a legal devolved responsibility of the Welsh government to ensure economic renewal and regeneration for Wales.

A Welsh public bank with a capital investment of £1 billion pounds could leverage out £10 billion pounds in loans to SME’s in Wales and also be used for Welsh infrastructure and energy projects, transforming the economy of Wales overnight. A £2 billion capital investment could be leveraged out to £20 billion pounds etc.

The recently proposed Development Bank of Wales would be of some benefit but it is currently still mothballed and is limited in its scope seeing as a genuinely transformational public bank could be set up to transform and renew the Welsh economy. See a link to the petition and all official correspondence on the petition site here.

Current chair of the Welsh Assembly's Public Accounts Committe Darren Miller

Current chair of the Welsh Assembly’s Public Accounts committee Darren Miller

9.  Although not strictly an issue to do with policy, as part of these complaints, the Welsh National Rights Movement also wished to urge the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales to urge the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales to change their respective logos/emblems as currently used. At the moment both organisations use a white dragon. This symbol is seen on the Senedd building and is used extensively on publications and billboards. The national symbol for Wales is of course a red dragon which is well established.

10. A request for the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Public Accounts Committee and Wales Audit Office to hold a full investigation in to why the Welsh Government has failed in its duty of care to have a full and independent investigation in to stratospheric aerosol spraying (also known as geo-engineering and/or chemtrails) over Wales. See original Sovereign Wales article on this here.

The original petition to the Welsh Assembly petition panel was denied as the topic was deemed as ‘non devolved’ one. We believe that this is very relevant under the devolved remit of health as well as the environment. The original petition can be found here (page 43-44)

Wales Audit Office's Wales Ayditor General Hugh Vaughan Thomas

Wales Audit Office’s Wales Auditor General Hugh Vaughan Thomas

The refusal to look in to any of the complaints by the bodies in Wales which are supposed to provide scrutiny and accountability has sadly demonstrated that there are no ways for Welsh citizens to ensure suitable accountability and due process when it comes to scrutiny of government and public bodies in general. There is simply is no avenue for concerns to be properly investigated. This is very worrying and a serious reflection on Welsh democracy and accountability that there is no other independent public body that can be turned to look in to these very important matters.

The mainstream press and media are by now mostly bought and paid for and do not provide genuine scrutiny. Independent and alternative media provides a small role but it’s a limited one at the moment. Any effective future scrutinising body has to be truly independent to be effective and fit for purpose. Independent from the crown, from the UK, the Welsh and EU government. Essentially, we the people have to set these up in order to scrutinise our own governments effectively.

Suncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England - the body that tells Public Health Wales goes to for advice on various health issues even though health is a devolved matter for Wales

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England – the body that Public Health Wales goes to for advice on various health issues even though health is a devolved matter for Wales

However, there are other ways and these ways have to now be looked at as well. One of them is using the law. If the scrutinising bodies in Wales can’t do their job, the citizens of Wales have to start using the law and taking legal action against those corrupt bodies and individuals in Wales. This could involve statute law which also involves the need to find large sums of money to pay often extensive legal fees.

But perhaps more appealing is the prospect of setting up common law courts. Common law is still the law of the land in Britain and countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Common law can be traced back to the Welsh Britons and the Brittonic king Dyfnwal Moelmud and Cyfreithiau Moelmud/Molmutine laws which he is believed to have established in Britain around 500 BC, later to be revisited by Hywel Dda.

By establishing grand juries, groups of responsible citizens can get together to prepare cases where accused parties are then called to appear in a common law court and put on trial. This is a court of the people and is perfectly lawful. This is one way our Welsh government and our public bodies can be held to account where necessary. Some money would be needed to cover costs but above all, expertise is needed in order to advise and set up such Welsh courts and conduct fair and proper trials. Hopefully there are people out there with expertise in this field who could help set up such courts and conduct trials.

Scrutiny in Wales has little if no public credibility and is simply not working at present. The Welsh public have to demand for themselves a way to ensure accountability and justice when the system has failed them. This will need to change and change quickly.