Below is my overall summary of the whistleblowing case that I took out against my managers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Below that are links to the two decision reports I was sent. The first was sent just three hours after the Sunday Times told BEIS they were writing a story about my case. BEIS had done nothing on the case for months but insisted this timing was pure coincidence!
I wish to thank Cathy James of Public Concern at Work for her tremendous advice and guidance during this case. PCAW is a charity that specialises in the whistleblowing legislation, and I highly recommend anyone who wants to expose bad management to seek them out.
Terry Edge's Summary of his Whistle-blowing Case Against his Previous Management at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (now BEIS) Please note: all names have been changed
- Case started in December 2015, final report delivered August 2016 (BIS said it would be 40 working days) - I provided 7 hours of oral testimony and around 400 documents of evidence Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) case officer almost certainly dropped out after a few months; not replaced - Final report provided just three hours after the Sunday Times approached BEIS; no evidence of any work done on it at all for the preceding 5 months - Final report just one page, with only two relevant bullet points, written by BEIS, not GIAA who were appointed to be the independent case officers - After my protest, another final report provided! - Second report clearly written by the BEIS policy team who my case was against, not GIAA - No external stakeholders interviewed; no investigative work undertaken - No witness statements or supporting papers provided with the report - Information redacted from the final report for unclear reasons - GIAA and BEIS each claim the other did the redactions - BEIS issues new public consultation document five weeks later which proves my case was correct - BEIS challenged to therefore re-investigate the case; promised a 'substantive reply' - did not provide any response other than to say 'case closed'
I first raised the issue underpinning the case in December 2015, offering to talk it through with BIS HR. They declined and I therefore raised it as a whistle-blowing case (18 Dec 2015). Then:
BIS HR take a month to tell me that their own whistle-blowing officer has turned the case down but will remain as my primary contact. I object on the grounds that he'd ruled himself out as inappropriate a) because he'd said he didn't understand the legislation, and b) because he'd claimed he worked too closely with one of my managers. BIS HR say they have appointed an 'independent' case officer from the Government Internal Audit Agency. (However, she is based in the same building as BIS and therefore likely to be in contact with the people my case is against.)
Despite my concerns about progress, it is another month before I meet the GIAA case officer (Laura Michaels) and her assistant (Alison Hughes) (February 2016), i.e. two months have passed before the case has even begun.
Two meetings are required to get through my testimony (seven hours in total). I provide the case officers with around 400 emails and documents in support of my case. I make the observation that this case is too big for two people to handle; that it requires a panel/tribunal. Nothing comes of this, however. Towards the end of the second meeting, I am concerned when Laura Michaels makes the observation that different people perceive things differently and therefore she can't make a decision on the rights and wrongs of the case. I remind her that this case is all about evidence, i.e. either the proposed new match test for the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 was ready to be implemented in August 2014 or it wasn't. I also stress that as a point of process it is very important that external stakeholders are interviewed, because they can confirm my story as independent witnesses. However, Laura Michaels is non-committal and in the event never does interview any external stakeholders.
This is the last contact I am to have with Laura Michaels other than a short email from her at one point to say that BIS HR are handling all enquiries about the case.
End March 2016, I retire from the Civil Service.
By mid-April, I have heard nothing from the case officers or BIS HR about the case. I email Laura Michaels to ask what is happening and whether or not they have been interviewing external stakeholders. I receive a reply from Alison Hughes to say she has passed my request to BIS HR for them to answer. This is in contradiction to the terms of engagement set at the start of the case, which is that GIAA were going to hold an independent investigation and that I should contact them with any queries, additional information etc. Laura Michaels is not copied in to Alison's email and I suspect that she has dropped out of the case - a suspicion that is only strengthened in the following months.
A week later, I remind BIS HR about the situation. They respond to say the GIAA investigation team is concluding its investigation and will let me know the outcome 'within the next few weeks'. (In fact it will be another four months before I hear the outcome.) I reply by asking three questions:
Is Laura Michaels still the case officer? Have external stakeholders been interviewed? Has any investigation work been carried out on the material I provided, instead of simply recording statements and then concluding there is no case (as happened with my Civil Service Code case)? I point out that if this kind of work isn't being undertaken, it's difficult to understand why the case is taking so long. (In the event, it's clear from the final report in August that no external stakeholders were interviewed and no investigative work was undertaken.)
HR BIS replies the next day to simply repeat that Laura Michaels is part of the GIAA team, and doesn't answer my second two questions. I reply to repeat my question re Laura Michaels, pointing out that she is not being copied in to any of BIS HR's emails. I also point out that this case was supposed to be independent yet BIS HR is now answering my questions about it. I also repeat my questions regarding external stakeholders and investigative work.
BIS HR responds five days later (26 April) to repeat the terms of the investigation for no apparent reason; also informing me that the concerns I'd put to the Permanent Secretary nearly seven weeks prior (11 March) were being included in the case and are under investigation. I respond the same day to point out that BIS HR still has not answered my questions; that my email to the Permanent Secretary was not part of the whistle-blowing case, and in any event why was I not informed about this earlier (I had not received a reply from the Perm. Sec.)? I also ask what specifically is being investigated re my email to the Perm. Sec. - in light of the fact I'd warned him that BIS management was continuing to delay changes to the Furniture Regs and thereby keeping the public at risk; also holding secret meetings with selected stakeholders towards justifying the delays.
BIS HR replies three days later. However, they still do not answer my questions. They tell me that GIAA has 'carried out its investigation'. (However, as said it will be another nearly four months before I receive the result.) They include an email purported to have been issued from the Perm. Sec's office shortly after I wrote to him, but I have never seen it before. BIS HR also blame 'timetabling' issues for the continuing delays to the case. I suspect that adding my appeal to the Perm. Sec. is simply another excuse for the delays.
The same day, I email Laura Michaels to inform her that I am not getting anywhere with my enquiries and ask her to confirm that she is the case officer. She replies only to say that it has been agreed that all enquiries should be funnelled through BIS HR (this was never agreed with me), i.e. does not confirm that she is still the case officer.
This is the only communication I received from Laura Michaels between February and the conclusion of the case in August.
The same day, I manage to reach Alison Hughes by phone. She will not answer my questions about whether or not Laura Michaels is still case officer, and whether or not external stakeholders have been interviewed. She says only that BIS HR will have to answer, so I write to them the same day. I point out the circular nature of the answers I've been receiving, i.e. GIAA saying that BIS HR will answer and BIS HR saying that GIAA have to answer. I repeat my questions.
I receive no answer and a month later write to BIS HR once again. I mention that the Public Accounts Committee has been investigating government Departments' poor performances in whistle-blowing cases.
BIS HR reply the next day (11 May). They ignore most of my questions. They say that they cannot tell me who has been interviewed (but do not say why or mention the fact that this was never agreed with me and the case officers). They say that Laura Michaels is the lead investigator (although this doesn't of course answer my question about whether or not she is actually still working on it or has in fact dropped out). I reply the same day to point out that I didn't ask them who had been interviewed, just whether or not external stakeholders had been interviewed (a question which they never do answer). I also repeat my question about what actual investigation has been carried out. I say that if they do not answer these questions, I will conclude that no external stakeholders have been interviewed and no investigative work has been undertaken.
BIS HR does not reply. I write again on 23 May. I point out that this case is about failure to implement public safety measures, which means while BIS/GIAA stalls, people are actually dying; that, if this case had been conducted in a timely fashion, BIS could have met the next implementation window of October 2016, but this has now been missed.
BIS HR reply two days later. They still don't answer any of my questions, just state that 'the investigation team' is finalising the report and it will be with me 'as soon as possible' (in fact it takes another nearly three months to arrive).
Two weeks later, I write to BIS HR to point out that they have not been able to answer my questions on process (interviews and investigation); therefore, the case needs to be re-started and handled properly.
Three weeks later, not having received a reply from BIS HR, I write to them and the Permanent Secretary, copying in two MPs on the PAC.
The Perm Sec replies promptly on 4 July. He says the GIAA is in the final stages of their investigation, following which they will be in a position to discuss further with me (no further discussion ever ensues). He says the long time taken is because the investigation has been undertaken seriously (however, the final report shows that no investigation beyond recording internal stakeholders' statements (not provided) was ever undertaken). Internal stakeholders were interviewed in the first month or so of the case opening, which means no work at all has been undertaken for around 4-5 months.
This is the last I hear from BIS HR/GIAA until the 4th August when, three hours after the Sunday Times approaches BIS, they send me the 'final report'.
This report constitutes just one-page mostly of background description with just four bullet points pertaining to my case, only two of which are relevant. One regards a very recent aspect of the case (raising my suspicion that the BIS policy team are trying to head off possible Sunday Times revelations about recent delays to the new match test) and is essentially a lie. The other simply states that the investigation has not found any evidence that a Minister was misled. It is signed by David Woolley of BIS HR, i.e. not by the GIAA team. Another bullet point is also misleading in that it states that the policy team had engaged a wide range of stakeholders to reach the formal consultation phase, i.e. attempting to cover the fact that no external stakeholders have been interviewed with regard to my case and also failing to point out (or not being aware) that it was me largely who'd consulted all those stakeholders, not my managers!
I challenge this report and the next day (5th August) Mr Woolley writes to say that it had merely been a summary of the GIAA's report (he hadn't said so at the time) and that I can see the full report if I wish. But if so, he will have to have it redacted of personal and confidential information (although that had never been agreed with the case officers).
I reply the same day to say of course I want to see the full report. I also point out that he had signed off the one-page report without answering the two questions I have repeatedly asked, re external stakeholders and investigative work. I say that I expect the final report to be signed by the GIAA investigative officer, accompanied by a timeline of the work she undertook. No such timeline was produced - instead a timeline of the history of the review of the Furniture Regulations was added to the end of the report. This is further indication that the report was actually written by the policy team leader, i.e. she did not want to include no timeline, since that is a reasonable request for me to make but neither did she want to make one up and thereby put outright against Laura Michael's name. Instead, she pretends to misunderstand (or rather implies that GIAA misunderstands) and provides an utterly pointless timeline of the regulations, not the case officer's work.
On 8th August, Mr Woolley sends a redacted report (author's name also redacted) that constitutes just six and a half pages. I reply along the following lines:
- There is no evidence that any investigation was undertaken. The document is simply a narrative written from the point of view of the policy team. - It fails to answer a single point I raised in the case. - There are many indications that most of this was thrown together in the past couple of days by the policy team, not Laura Michaels, e.g. a Word doc. creation date of 8 August 2016; all meta data stripped out; every comment in support of the team's actions; omissions regarding information that Laura Michaels knew (from my statement) that the team did not. - No external stakeholders have been interviewed, the nearest to such being a representative from LGC who is under contract to BIS and is largely not connected to this case anyway. - HR's claim that they had already received this report the day before the Sunday Times came calling is not only hard to believe, it makes no sense since no mention of it was made in the one page report I initially received and it was not originally presented to me anyway. - The report is written from the point of view of and in the style of one of the policy managers and suspiciously over-concentrates on very recent events that I did not even raise in my case, but which the Sunday Times may have been raising with their article to come. - Much of the information in the report covers events that occurred after Laura Michaels's interviews were conducted. Which means that either she re-interviewed the policy team on these new matters but if so, failed to re-interview me for my opinion; or this material was drafted by the policy team itself. Either way, this alone in my view renders the case conclusion invalid. - The section referring to the secret Technical Panel is largely lies, e.g. falsely implicating the Chief Scientific Advisor as being the cause of further delays to the new match test - something a GIAA case officer would clearly not have done and/or would have at least asked the CSA for a view before doing so (he was not asked). - I also list many other examples of material that could only have been written by the policy team, with the evidence and reasons to support my claims. - Crucially, I point out that this report, while biased and mostly written by the people the case is against, still does not ever tell me that I am wrong in my basic claim that the new match test was ready to go in August 2014, and therefore that lives are being lost because BIS has continued to delay its implementation unnecessarily.
Correspondence between myself and BIS HR and GIAA continues for a while but essentially, they fail to answer key questions, like why has information been redacted and who redacted it? GIAA claim that Laura Michaels's name had to be redacted from the report because she has a right to remain anonymous under the Data Protection Act. However, I point out that I know who she is and can always tell, e.g. the Sunday Times, if I want to. BIS HR claims at first that GIAA made the redactions, i.e. they say they received a redacted report from GIAA. However, after I point out that some of the data redactions could only have been made by the policy team, GIAA say that in fact BIS HR made the redactions. I point out that this surely proves the investigation was not independent, but BIS HR do not respond to this.
I ask GIAA several times to state that Laura Michaels was the sole author of the report, but they will not say more than that GIAA takes responsibility for the authorship of the report (which of course is not the same thing). Laura Michaels remains silent.
On September the 14th 2016 BIS (now BEIS) publishes a new consultation document, including a proposed new match test. This test is exactly the same as the one proposed in August 2014. On 16th September I write to GIAA and BEIS HR to point out that this confirms that the basis for my whistle-blowing is correct and that it should therefore be re-started. I also point out that the policy team, while finally admitting that the original match test is valid, have ensured further delays to implementation by including additional proposed changes to the Regulations that are non-comprehensive, inaccurate and contentious, and that this is against their own lawyers' advice.
Mr Woolley, BEIS HR, writes to me promising a 'substantive response' to this point but his final email doesn't even mention it.
BEIS HR and GIAA recommend that I take my case to the Civil Service Commission. I do so only to find out that the Civil Service Commission does not handle whistleblowing cases - something, surely, that the head of BEIS HR should know.
Please note, Laura Michaels is not the actual name of the GIAA case officer - I changed it for the purposes of the above summary.
The text in yellow shading in the second final report is what was redacted by BEIS or GIAA (as said, they each claimed the other made the redactions). I was told these redactions were made to protect the identities of case officers. I have therefore removed or changed any names that appeared. However, much of what was redacted had nothing to do with identity; more to do with concealing the truth about the delays caused by my managers in implementing the new match test.
More on the redactions:
The most obvious example of the fact this report was actually written by the policy team and not the case officer is shown in the redaction of Steve Owen's name from the report. Steve was BEIS's technical expert throughout the process of developing the new match test, and beyond. He has never expressed the slightest desire to be anonymous and did not ask to be treated so during this case; therefore, there was no need to refer to him as 'Person B'. Clearly, they did so to imply that Steve had asked them to do so.
The fact that 'Person B' was also redacted shows that the policy team authors were keen to make sure that no one could identify Steve by association with Person B's various mentions in the text - again, not to protect his identity but to disguise the fact that BEIS's own expert's advice was contrary to what they wanted to hear. They could not replace his name with anyone else's of course, since this would be an obvious lie exposed should the redactions ever be removed (as I did).
Incidentally, the fact they refer to me as 'Person A' is further proof that the report was drafted by the policy team. They are probably unaware that I told the case officer up-front that I had no problem being named in the report. Or, they were aware of this, but used Person A in order to make it look as if Steve and I both requested anonymity, where their lie would have been weakened if my name was used and not Steve's.
Let's look at some examples (original redactions in italics):
"Person A represented BIS on [British Standards] FW/6 and Person B had very recently been appointed as the new chair of FW/6. Suggestions of a conflict of interest with Person B, who was the initial adviser to BIS and main author of the work under discussion at the meeting, were resolved as Person B confirmed he had not worked with BIS since the roundtable discussion in February 2015 and did not take part in the discussion. The draft minutes for FW/6 recording the discussions were never agreed or finalised."
With the redactions, all that's said is that I attended FW/6 but the minutes of the key meeting were not finalised. If we know, however, that Steve Owen is Chair of FW/6, we are more likely to assume - accurately, as it turns out - that there was a very good reason the minutes weren't finalised. The reason being that British Standards decided that it wasn't their role to be working on government regulations. This meeting was key to my manager's justification for the delays to the match test. They had told the world that British Standards would be doing the 'further work' they had always said was necessary. In the event, FW/6 did not come up with any further work that needed doing and British Standards removed the meeting note from the record.
"We understand that the team wanted to get the match test paper peer reviewed in 2014 but Person A had disagreed with this on the grounds that Person B was the best expert and no-one could test his work. "
This is particularly indicative of the policy team being the actual author of this report. With redactions, it makes it look as if I simply refused the apparently reasonable request to have the match test paper peer-reviewed. Which is not what happened at all. Apart from anything else, I was the junior grade in the team and in the civil service, if senior managers want to do something they won't let someone lower in grade than them say nay.
As it happens, the only reason my managers wanted to get it peer-reviewed was to cause further delays. What I pointed out to them was that the paper had been extensively peer-reviewed for the previous 18 months; therefore, there was no need to in effect go out to the same peers again. What appears in the redacted passage is nonsense: while it's probably true that Steve Owen is the 'best expert', I did not give that as a reason for not further peer-reviewing; and I certainly wouldn't have said 'no-one could test his work', a) because it wasn't his work; it was BIS's, and b) because it already had been tested by, amongst others, FIRA.
The real reason a further peer review didn't go ahead is because my managers finally realised they would look pretty stupid instigating one.
"The central objectives of the new proposal remain unchanged, to correct the weakness identified by Person B in the current match test and to reduce where possible the use of flame retardants in meeting regulation requirements without compromising safety.
The drafting here is also clearly by the policy team in that it is a straight-up lie. The objective of the 2014 proposal was to correct the weakness in the current match test, and of course it did so. Here, the wording is implying that the 2014 failed to do so and therefore another consultation proposal was necessary. They've used the phrase 'identified by . . . ' followed by a redaction to imply that someone else/new has just identified a weakness in the current test. They didn't dare put anyone's name in here besides Steve Owen's, for fear that one day the redactions would be removed and the lie exposed. So they had to put 'Person B' but of course when we know this is Steve Owen, the passage is clearly deceptive, i.e. Steve Owen identified a weakness in the current test before the 2014 proposal which, as said, put it right. Why, therefore, would he bother to re-identify the problem for another later consultation. And, of course, the truth is that he didn't.
To give you some further examples of how BEIS 'deals' with genuine complaints, see below regarding complaint about how the 2016 consultation was handled.
----- Original Message ----- From: Martin Alan (BID) To: Terry Edge Cc: xxxxxxxxx (Strategy) Sent: Monday, December 19, 2016 2:21 PM Subject: RE: Response to BEIS consutation on the Furniture Regulations
Dear Mr Edge
Please find attached a response to your email of 11 November.
Alan Martin Assistant Director | Better Regulation Unit (BRU)
----- Original Message ----- From: Terry Edge To: Martin Alan (BID) Cc: xxxxxxxx (Strategy) Sent: Monday, December 19, 2016 2:56 PM Subject: Re: Response to BEIS consutation on the Furniture Regulations
Dear Mr Martin,
Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, I can't find anywhere in it any actual answers to my concerns. All you do is offer generalisms with no supporting evidence. One such example:
"As the earlier 2014 consultation did not receive a positive response to the new match test it was appropriate to apply a different approach and a revised proposal in this consultation. There is a link in the 2016 consultation to the 2014 consultation and supporting documents."
First, as Ms xxxxxx can confirm, the 2014 consultation received more positive responses than negative and none of the negative responses contained any evidence at all that there was any problem with the proposed new test. The fact you quote in this way is clear evidence that you are simply following the line given to you by the policy team and not doing any investigative work of your own. In short, please produce the evidence that the proposed 2014 match test justified negative comment; and if you cannot please have the decency to admit that I'm right. Second, as I've pointed out the 'revised' match test proposal is identical to the one proposed in 2014. Yet you glibly state in effect that it is different. Please provide your evidence of these differences.
One more example for now:
"The consultation process is meant to encourage comments on amendments from stakeholders and prompt them to suggest solutions. It is recognised that the proposals are a compromise package.
However, as said, these other amendments are in any case woefully incomplete or contentious. Over the period 2010-2014, the Department regularly consulted stakeholders to build up more than enough data to thoroughly amend the FFRs. But it's clear from this consultation that BEIS has not used this information in its new proposals.
The present consultation builds on the work of the 2014 consultation which developed the work done with stakeholders over 2010-2012. Subsequent information from stakeholders has been given considerations when developing the proposals in this consultation."
Why is BEIS prompting stakeholders for solutions on a proposed test which in 2014 it proved was entirely feasible and which nothing subsequently has proved otherwise? What do you mean by a 'compromise package'? The compromise as such is that BEIS officials have included random and contentious additional proposed changes which - as industry has already reflected to you - are not workable: a point you also haven't answered.
Again where is your evidence that the present consultation builds on the work of the 2014 consultation? I was the department's expert on these regulations during the key period and am telling you that nothing at all was 'built' during this time. I have provided plenty of evidence to this effect. You are not an expert on these regulations yet claim to know better on the basis of no evidence at all.
Again, what is the 'subsequent information from stakeholders' that has been given consideration in the new consultation? There is none. You cannot make this kind of statement without backing it with evidence.
Rather than go into any more detail at this stage, I'd appreciate it if you reply with actual evidence this time - on, say, the two examples I've given above - instead of resorting to vague and clearly biased general assertions that frankly are insulting to my expertise and contrary evidence.
And a follow up email:
----- Original Message ----- From: Terry Edge To: Martin Alan (BID) Cc: xxxxxx (Strategy) Sent: Monday, December 19, 2016 4:01 PM Subject: Re: Response to BEIS consutation on the Furniture Regulations
Dear Mr Martin,
I wish to address separately the final paragraph of your letter to me earlier today since this is in effect new information that you have presented:
"Your response to the consultation will be carefully considered with all other responses received. The Government Response, which will issue in due course, will summarise comments/evidence, and address relevant issues as part of the decision making process that has informed its final policy proposal and next steps."
Can you please reveal who exactly is going to carefully consider the consultation responses? I understand that the policy team now comprises of only new people, none with any experience of these complicated regulations - as they confessed recently at a stakeholder meeting. And, as noted in my consultation response, BEIS has been without a technical advisor on these regulations for over a year.Who therefore is going to consider my response or say the chemical industry's - which I've seen and can attest there is no one at BEIS with the experience to understand, let alone analyse.
You may be aware that many stakeholders and the press are watching this situation carefully. So, once again, can you please inform us who will be analysing the consultation returns, addressing relevant issues, and drafting the Government Response (that has led to you making such a confident statement). Please also provide their credentials and evidence that they will perform this function with the due concern for public safety that it requires.
From: Terry Edge [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: 16 January 2017 09:45 To: Martin Alan (BID) Cc: Xxxxxxx (Strategy) Subject: Re: Response to BEIS consutation on the Furniture Regulations
Dear Mr Martin,
Can you please let me know whether or not you intend to respond to my emails of 19 December 2016.
It seems to be common practice amongst BEIS civil servants dealing with this case to do the following:
1. Make pronouncements along the Word of God model, i.e. provide absolutely no evidence for the opinion given or reasons for why my counter-evidence is being ignored;
2. When I ask for further clarification, turn silent - the recourse of the coward, of course.
I appreciate you have your job to protect; that and your clear desire to do nothing that might upset your masters. But perhaps you could summon just a little bit of decency and courage to tell me straight that you have no intention of doing the right thing so that I don't have to waste time chasing you. You may or may not have noticed, but I am not a coward. I also tell the truth. You may have taken the decision to avoid the truth but if so, man up, and at least say so.
Thank you for your emails of 19 December 2016 and 16 January 2017. In your emails you express your dissatisfaction with the response the Better Regulation Unit have provided in respect of your complaint of 11 November 2016. I have reviewed your original complaint and your subsequent emails.
In response to your comments I am content that the ‘Furniture and furnishings fire safety regulations: proposed changes (2016)’ consultation was conducted appropriately and in line with current consultation principles. The 2016 consultation contained clear reference to the 2014 consultation, including linking to all 2014 consultation documents. With regard to consulting with stakeholders and how this feeds in to policy development, the consultation principles are clear that consultation is an ongoing process so not limited only to publication of formal consultation. Therefore engagement work with stakeholders conducted subsequent to the 2014 consultation would have informed the 2016 consultation.
I should point out that the Better Regulation Unit’s remit is limited to investigating that the conduct of the consultation has been carried out in accordance with current consultation principles. I now consider this matter closed in respect of your complaint into how the consultation was conducted.
We are unable to respond to issues that you raise outside of this area, but as stated in my previous letter your response to the consultation will be taken into account alongside the other consultation responses received. Yours sincerely
Subject: Re: Response to BEIS consutation on the Furniture Regulations
Dear Mr Martin,
I'm not sure if you actually read my last email. If you did, you seem to bear remarkably little shame about once again adopting the Word of God approach.
This is what I put to you:
"Your response to the consultation will be carefully considered with all other responses received. The Government Response, which will issue in due course, will summarise comments/evidence, and address relevant issues as part of the decision making process that has informed its final policy proposal and next steps."
Can you please reveal who exactly is going to carefully consider the consultation responses? I understand that the policy team now comprises of only new people, none with any experience of these complicated regulations - as they confessed recently at a stakeholder meeting. And, as noted in my consultation response, BEIS had been without a technical advisor on these regulations for over a year.Who therefore is going to consider my response or say the chemical industry's - which I've seen and can attest there is no one at BEIS with the experience to understand, let alone analyse.
This is your response:
'In response to your comments I am content that ‘Furniture and furnishings fire safety regulations: proposed changes (2016)’ consultation was conducted appropriately and in line with current consultation principles', i.e. I'm right because I say I am.
You don't address my claims about there being no one at BEIS capable of processing the consultation properly, i.e. to prove that your statement above is correct - instead you weasely imply that this is not the concern of BRU! If it isn't, how on earth are you in a position to deal with complaints about the way the consultation was run?
The usual tactics, in other words - switching between Word of God pronouncements - opinion stated as evidence - to Weasel Avoidance.
The bottom line is that BEIS undertook a consultation process in September 2016 that was, as I have proved, unnecessary, inadequate and irresponsible; and are now not even in a position to process the results anyway, in that you have allowed the only people with (albeit limited) experience to extricate themselves from the situation in order to cover their backs.
Sometimes, I wonder what your inner processes are like. Are you proud of this response? If so, it comes across very muted. Or is it more the case you're just pleased that you may have got away with it, at least for now. If so, all I can say is that's a truly spirit-deadening way to live a life.
From: Terry Edge [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 19 January 2017 20:51 To: Terry Edge; Martin Alan (BID) Cc: Rabess Angela (Strategy) Subject: Re: Response to BEIS consutation on the Furniture Regulations
And just in case it's not clear from my email - where are your details?
Thank you for your emails of 19 January 2017. This is to let you know that, as per my previous email, the Better Regulation Unit’s remit is limited to investigating that the conduct of the consultation has been carried out in accordance with current consultation principles. I reiterate that I now consider this matter closed in respect of your complaint into how the consultation was conducted. Please note that I do not intend to reply to any future correspondence on this particular matter.
I'll include your pathetic lack of any kind of actual response in my Civil Service Commission case, should I choose to open one. I'll also relay it to the press at the appropriate point.
Just to note finally: you have not responded to a single point I raised about the way the consultation was carried out, other than to keep repeating your omniscient, if somewhat unproven, view that it was carried out in accordance with current consultation principles. Apart from the fact it clearly wasn't, this is of course nothing more than a judgement based on 'because I say so'.
You appear to have trained your mind to follow the circular 'reasoning' of the typical civil servant who is intent on only one thing: preventing anything controversial affecting his personal career. In order to preserve this approach you have clearly also removed your conscience, or at least placed it somewhere dark and hidden where it is unlikely to come in contact with any decision requiring honesty, integrity, courage and a clear sense of public duty. Thank God, or the Permanent Secretary, that the civil service is one of the few remaining places where it is not only possible to succeed without a conscience, it's required.
Because, if I failed to mention before, the further delays that this consultation will inevitably lead to will mean more actual lives lost through house fires that could have been prevented by BEIS. And you. Also, thousands of cancers and other illnesses that didn't have to occur. So, while you are now no doubt congratulating yourself on having 'dealt' with this difficult situation in a way that will please your puppet masters and perhaps smooth the way to a long and successful trough-snuffling career, just remember that you are in part personally responsible for these deaths. And perhaps you might like to offer a prayer that no one in your family goes up in flames on a sofa that should have been flame-resistant but isn't thanks to BEIS civil servants covering their backs with a tenacity it's just a shame they never consider employing in the public interest.