Our politi­cians should set a de­cent ex­am­ple

Western Mail - - WM2 -

WE have seen much gov­ern­men­tal leg­is­la­tion and pol­icy con­cern­ing stan­dards in pub­lic life, equal­ity and work­place be­hav­iour.

Your ar­ti­cle of Novem­ber 13 by the Western Mail’s chief re­porter sug­gests that these of­ten in­sti­tu­tion­alised and cul­tural is­sues have been per­mit­ted to go un­chal­lenged in the very heart of our As­sem­bly.

My ca­reer in pub­lic ser­vice was much af­fected by a re­port fre­quently quoted within pub­lic-sec­tor guide­lines, Nolan’s Prin­ci­ples of Pub­lic Life. Un­for­tu­nately for me, its pub­li­ca­tion was not a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, for clearly like many oth­ers in the wake of sim­i­lar re­views and re­ports I be­came af­flicted with a “ter­mi­nal” naivety in which there was a be­lief gov­ern­ment re­ports ac­tu­ally sig­ni­fied mean­ing­ful sup­port to im­ple­ment cul­tural change.

I, like many some­what de­spair­ing “or­di­nary folk” now re­alise, via their own and the well-re­ported ex­pe­ri­ences of oth­ers, that there is a cav­ernous gap in what our mech­a­nisms of jus­tice ex­pound and what is ac­tu­ally de­liv­ered to us when try­ing to chal­lenge poor stan­dards of be­hav­iour.

In re­al­ity, rais­ing con­cerns in the work­place more of­ten than not re­sults in trau­matic marginal­i­sa­tion, con­flict, poor men­tal health and se­vere pro­fes­sional dam­age. It is 20 years since Nolan, and even on the heels of two UK gov­ern­ment-com­mis­sioned re­views, “The pa­tro­n­is­ing dis­po­si­tion of un­ac­count­able power” and “Thriv­ing in the Work­place”, it seems the sys­tem­atic tools of ig­nor­ing com­plaints, ex­clu­sion, op­pres­sion and ha­rass­ment still avail­able to those in po­si­tions of power within our pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tions re­ceive con­sid­er­able sym­pa­thy and suc­cour within the very in­sti­tu­tion pur­port­ing to rep­re­sent us.

We ex­pect lead­er­ship from our politi­cians, who should set the mark for pro­fes­sional stan­dards of be­hav­iour. Frank Kitt Capel Isaac, Car­marthen­shire

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