‘I was unable to verify documents’
THE States has refused to allow a central witness in the head of curriculum and standards appointment investigation to see documents with her name on to check they are authentic.
It was Amanda Singleton’s decision to go public through the Guernsey Press with concerns about political interference in what she has described as a ‘sham’ recruitment process that eventually led to Scrutiny launching an independent review into what happened.
But its work has been hampered by Policy & Resources only handing over redacted documents and Education, Sport & Culture not yet passing on anything to the committee, having been asked to early in August.
Mrs Singleton was the States’ HR representative on the recruitment panel in April and was so disgusted with what happened that she resigned from a job she loved.
She later receiving a settlement from the States before her unfair dismissal claim went public.
She said that since her resignation on 26 April, the first contact from anyone within the States came on 3 October when a HR director emailed asking if she would consent to her details being passed to Scrutiny. She said yes the same day.
On 25 October the same person asked her to confirm if she consented to her name remaining in both Policy & Resources and the Education, Sport and Culture submissions to Scrutiny.
‘After taking legal advice, I went back on the same day and confirmed that I was but only if I was able to review the documents for authenticity first,’ she said.
‘I did not want fabricated documents submitted bearing my name.’
On 4 November the HR director reiterated the question again.
The same day she wrote back and said: ‘I have no issue with my name being disclosed but what I have an issue with is not having sight of those documents to agree that my name should be on them and that they are genuine,’ she said.
‘As you can appreciate, throughout this process, there has been a lack of transparency about what has taken place. As a result, I do not believe that it is unreasonable to ask to see documents that you wish to disclose before they are disclosed.
‘I do not want any documents presented with my name that have been falsely created or otherwise. That is my concern and, having taken legal advice, not an unreasonable one in the circumstances. Therefore I do agree to my name being released and welcome this but would request sight of those documents so I can be assured nothing has been fabricated in this process.’
Two days later she was told that there would be no falsification but that neither Policy & Resources nor ESC were prepared to agree to her request and had decided to submit them with her name redacted.
‘I have also heard nothing from Scrutiny itself throughout any of this. Interestingly when this all became public back in July I did receive a friend request on Facebook from Deputy Green [Scrutiny’s president]. Perhaps he can explain at the hearing why this happened. Scrutiny will be aware that I hold documents including my tribunal claim and the States of Guernsey response that should form part of this but, to date, nothing has come from them.
‘It’s as though the longer they leave it the more the furore dies down and that this can be forgotten. How do I forget resigning from a job I love over political interference? This has been ongoing for eight months now and the lack of progress is telling of the inertia of the States of Guernsey in acknowledging and addressing the gravity of the situation.’
Both Mrs Singleton, late in July, and former headteacher Peter McGovern, early in August, have gone public with similar accounts of what happened in the recruitment interviews.
‘Perhaps it is time other panellists, and those interviewed and involved in the interview process, were given the opportunity to publicly disclose their views on this process.’
Politicians from Education handed ‘all information’ they hold to their officials two weeks ago and to the law officers, but not to Scrutiny because they say there are data protection concerns as some participants have not agreed to their personal data being disclosed.
Scrutiny has submitted what information it has got for an independent reviewer to decide if there is enough to go ahead with a meaningful investigation.
This will examine whether there was undue political interference in the appointment, which unfolded with resignation threats from Education president Deputy Matt Fallaize after his preferred pick was not chosen by the appointment panel and the successful local candidate pulling out weeks after accepting the job and putting plans in place for it.
Problems with the appointment only came to light after an email from Deputy Fallaize was obtained by the Guernsey Press.