Complaint made against top-tier civil servant ‘not upheld’
THE government has broken its silence on an investigation into a complaint made against a top-tier civil servant – after the issue was raised in the States Chamber on Tuesday.
On several occasions this year the government has refused to comment to the JEP on an external investigation that was launched following a complaint against the director general of Justice and Home Affairs, Julian Blazeby. The investigation has since been completed and, it was confirmed for the first time yesterday, the complaint was ‘not upheld’.
During States questions on Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Len Norman claimed he had had several requests to see the investigation’sfinal report rejected by States chief executive Charlie Parker. The comments led to questions from backbenchers, including former Assistant Home Affairs Minister Deidre Mezbourian, who said several Members wanted to know ‘who is running the show?’.
Following the publicity, a joint statement from Chief Minister John Le Fondré and Mr Parker was released yesterday. The pair said: ‘All employees have a right to privacy and confidentiality, and as an employer we have a duty of care to them to protect their privacy and confidentiality. That is why employment matters are always confidential, and why we do not comment on any individual cases. ‘However, in exceptional cases, and with the employee’s consent, we will provide some limited facts where this is necessary to protect the interests of an employee.
‘As a result of publicity and speculation over the past two days, we therefore confirm that a complaint was made against an employee in Justice and Home Affairs, that this complaint was investigated by an independent external party, that the investigation has concluded, and that the complaint was not upheld.’
Deputy Russell Labey, who also asked questions in the States yesterday about why the Home Affairs Minister had been denied access to the report, told the JEP that he believed Mr Parker had scored an ‘own goal’ by not releasing the report to Mr Norman.
He said: ‘I support the Home Affairs Minister totally. He should have access to the report. The minister is accountable to the public of Jersey, he is the political representative and the minister is responsible for the checks and balances – it is quite wrong he does not have access to the report.
‘I don’t like the Charlie Parker hate mob and I won’t jump on that bandwagon – it always makes me suspicious when the mob turn on someone. But I think Charlie Parker has scored an own goal here. Not letting the minister see the report is only going to fuel the flames of the fire that politicians are not in control and Charlie Parker is. All States Members should be concerned by this.’
Deputy Labey added that Mrs Mezbourian, as a member of the States Employment Board, had ‘every right’ to see the report as well.
On Tuesday, Mrs Mezbourian said up to 12 politicians had raised concerns with her about Mr Parker’s power as the Island’s most senior civil servant.
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