Sunday, 21 February 2010

Who are the National Bullying Helpline?

The BBC are leading on claims from Christine Pratt of the "National Bullying Helpline" that members of Gordon Brown's staff called them on "three or four" occasions.

Now this story immediately smelt funny to me. Why would a charity breach apparent confidences like that? And why have I never heard of this supposedly national organisation?

Well according to the original BBC report:

"Ms Pratt said the helpline was "a non-political organisation".

Now this may or may not be true, but the BBC did not appear to have made even the most elementary of checks before running the story.

In fact a quick look at NBH's website reveals:

  • A personal endorsement from Conservative leader David Cameron
  • One of their patrons is Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe
  • Another patron is Boris Johnson's Chair of the London Health Authority, Conservative Cllr Mary O'Connor
  • They have close ties to Conservative controlled Swindon borough Council.

There are also doubts about whether NBH is actually a functioning charity at all.

An even quicker look at the Charity Commission's register reveals that

  • They are 206 days overdue on registering their accounts.
  • They have registered just £852 pounds in expenditure since they were established.

Now this doesn't seem to be the operations of a national charity to me. In fact just a little more digging tells us that


All of this should have rung alarm bells at the BBC.

Unfortunately none of this was mentioned in the original report and only some of it has since been picked up by their Political Editor.

So why was this?

Was the story offered by Christine Pratt just too good for them to question?

104 comments:

MsMigot said...

It all seems rather fishy, especially the expenditure and late accounts. Leaving privacy issues aside, I don't know why the Beeb saw fit to give what is obviously a two-bit call centre sales machine the credibility of a genuine national charity.

Theo Blackwell's blog said...

Not the first time for the BBC news team in the run up to the election to be so sloppy - Andrew Marr had a go with the 'antidepressants story' now this...

If this fuly backfires then some news editor or another should be worried about their job.

James Ball said...

Coming to something when a supposed anti-bullying charity does something to expose callers to further workplace pressure.

Given it took less than five minutes to find the Charity Commission and HR Diversity links, it really does look like the BBC did little - if any - fact checking here before running the interview.

This could run for a while...

Zeno said...

They seems to be a bit tardy in submitting their account to Companies House as well.

James Ball said...

Zeno - they've actually used a legit extension to avoid filing at Companies House. they've got another 6 months before they have to file again (or not, as the case may be)

Albert Shanker said...

Lol - whatever happens National Bullying Helpline have nicely fucked themselves as a business - who would want to go to them in the future given that they've been so freely disclosing stuff in the press!

Zeno said...

James

Thanks for putting me right - it did seem a long time since their last submission. Is the delay normal, or do you think they are having issues?

Jess The Dog said...

They are as legitimate as the government requires anyway....recommended by HSE and by Mandelson's own department (as Nick Robinson points out).

AdamB said...

I saw that in Robinson's blog post. Does anyone know what this recommendation amounts to? Were they just included in a list of anti-bullying charities or is it something more than that?

Sunny said...

What should be added to this is that the BBC didn't even do that much digging on this to see whether:
1) They're legit
2) Whether they're playing political football.

They've run the story uncritically and it's an amazing failure of journalism.

Anonymous said...

Christine Pratt?

Breach of confidentiality?

That rings a bell.

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=339195&in_page_id=2

BLTP said...

It seemed on that a "confidential" service would release details of a case. If they are geniune it wouldn't fill anyone who had called them with much confidenceand could make the bullying worse in some cases.
Well done for looking into this in more depth than the BBC seem to have

Anonymous said...

Christine Pratt is either a liar so should resign or has betrayed the trust of victims of bullying so MUST resign.

Theo Blackwell's blog said...

I worked for a confidential helpline advising whistleblowers: no organisation or individual would have never been mentioned unless the case had gone through court, as it would undermine trust etc etc - bizarre that they have chosen to act in this way.

In fact what Pratt has done is to exploit any information she has (I am I am beginning to question whether she has it) for promotional purposes.

Re: BBC where can we complain to? Nick Robinson and new at 10 are at fault here should withdraw the allegation made until they check their sources properly.

BLTP said...

somebody has a complaint against the NBH can't say what's true or not but here's blog about them
http://thebullyinghelpline.blogspot.com/
obviously not proof of anything but I would have thought the bbc would have asked a few more questions before putting them on air to accuse the PM of serious matter.

polybore said...

A polybore post picked up on the same points you have outlined, Anther thing to consider is her husbands business interests. http://www.polybore.co.uk/2010/02/national-bullying-helpline-is-as-good.html

Anonymous said...

A brief look at the Internet Archive shows that between March 2007 and April 2007, the website transformed from the Company site to the Charity site.

Possibly just a tiny business looking for media coverage?

AdamB said...

Well spotted anonymous.

radiogael said...

Hi,

Really good spot Anonymous, and Adam, I think you're right. Aside from the absolute illegality of such a disclosure under the rules of the Charity Commission and the Charity Act 2006, it's clear that the issues of overdue returns and dodgy finances.

Also, the privacy issue is really important as it could cause the Beeb AND the Charity to incur a large fine. You'd think given that writers are being frozen to producing watered-down crap for the most part now that the Current Affairs team would have a slightly higher level of self-scrutiny.

Great post! :)

Tom said...

"recommended by HSE and by Mandelson's own department"

Which is a scandal in itself (what other organisations seek and use government backing in this way and do the HSE/DfB have proper checks in place?), but doesn't take away from the obvious nature of what the NBH was, nor does it answer the question posed earlier as to why they would apparently commit commercial and charity suicide to benefit the political party to which they've been closely connected.

Anonymous said...

A charity that exploits the bullied for their own gain?

http://thebullyinghelpline.blogspot.com/

Fishy

Graham Salisbury said...

And, is it coincidence or something more sinister that Andy Coulson (Cameron's Director of Communications) is a convicted bully whose actions cost the News of the World over £700,000 in fines?

http://hrcasestudies.blogspot.com/2010/02/bullying-gets-political-allegations.html

Anonymous said...

BBC Deputy political editor James Landale was the source on this story. It is down to poor judegement and rivalry between the BBC's deputy political editor and Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor.

Rachel Johnson said...

Theo:

You can complain here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/

This whole thing betrays some shamefully shoddy journalistic practices.

Gordon Rae said...

The Downing Street bullying story was on the front page of the Sunday newspapers. It's hardly a breach of confidentiality to say 'yes, we knew about that' under the circumstances. Nor can it have exposed workers in Number Ten to any more pressure than the Rawnsley allegations had put them under.

It's hard to disagree with Ms Pratt's point, which is that Lord Mandelson sounds like he is in denial and not taking the allegations seriously. You're all doing a brilliant job of making the the NBH look bad, but it still doesn't make the PM look good.

The BBC comes under fire all the time for its supposed "left wing bias". The idea that it could have fact checked the story and refused to run it on the grounds that the NBH are a bunch of Tories is absurd. They would never have been allowed to get away with that.

Gordon said...

I had a problem with bullying about a year ago and did a lot of research for help and information. I did not come across this organisation at all.

The whole thing is extremely fishy. Oh and I used to actually know Gordon Brown and I can honestly say I never saw any signs of this sort of behaviour from him (but that was 20 years ago).

Letters From A Tory said...

What, no mention of the fact that Mandelson and BIS/BERR have commended her charity to businesses in the past?

Anonymous said...

I shall be writing to BBC News to complain about the sloppy reporting of this story - it's really lazy journalism and they should know better. I hope other readers of this blog will do the same thing.

AdamB said...

Gordon Rae - Channel Four News held back on the story yesterday for precisely those reasons.

The Rawnsley allegations were already widely reported and rightly so. My question is whether the BBC should have taken Pratt at face value and given such high profile to these separate claims, when there were so many clear warning signs attached to them. They should at the very least, have checked them out before going to air.

Lfat - Do you know what this commendation amounted to? Were they on a list of recommended charities or was it more than that. All I've seen on this is the brief mention in the Nick Robinson blog linked above.

Tom said...

"What, no mention of the fact that Mandelson and BIS/BERR have commended her charity to businesses in the past?"

Apart from my comment at 7:51 quoting an earlier one? Do feel free to *read* things before commenting on them, LfoT.

Jed Keenan said...

And a complaint about the BBC to the Charity Commission too? I don't have a telly or a radio for that matter but being a target of bullying in the workplace that reaches out for help demands confidentiality.

Zeno said...

The BBC is reporting:

"Ms Pratt added: "Over recent months we have had several inquiries from staff within Gordon Brown's office.

"Some have downloaded information; some have actually called our helpline directly and I have spoken to staff in his office.""

When you request information (a step-by-step guide to dispute resolution), you are asked to give your name, employer and email address. How many people would be willing to name their employer to an unknown organisation? In fact, your employer is a required field! I wonder if anyone put No. 10 down just to fill the space?

Or perhaps the NBH have the IP addresses of these people and have verified that these requests came from PCs in Downing Street? Then again, who would make such a request from work, knowing that your emails and Internet traffic was being monitored? You'd do it from home, wouldn't you?

The form says:

"We never share your details with anyone else. All correspondence is confidential."

Well...

Once you've submitted the form, you are told:

"Thank you for enquiry we will be in touch shortly."

You are not told that the guide will be emailed to you, but that they will be in touch.

Anyway, why do they not just put this guide on their website? It does seem like they want to gather names and email addresses. And employers names.

Too many unanswered questions.

Theo Blackwell's blog said...

Not sure whether being on BIS's website makes it "recommended" as outside agencies are usually put up as a resource people can go to depending on their circumstances. These usually carry a disclaimer. Wonder if Nick Robinson checked this before his rather snotty response?

BTW Pratt has just been cited in the news as disclosing some more info: the PM was not the subject of the allegations reported. Wasn't that a basic question the bbc shouldve asked?

AdamB said...

Very good points Zeno.

The BBC are now reporting that one of the patrons has resigned over the apparent breach of confidence. They haven't said which one.

Zeno said...

They are saying it is Prof Cary Cooper.

Rob said...

It's Cary Cooper that resigned - he's just been interviewed on Sky News.

Zeno said...

This all just smacks of the usual piss-poor reporting that masquerades as serious journalism these days and a willingness to believe and print any innuendo and slur, regardless to whether it has any basis in fact.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Great piece, good work, very informative, as are the majority of the comments here; a useful thing to know while as this posturing and smearing goes on.

Anonymous said...

Can simeine help me to find that recommendation on the BIS/BERR website. Their own search engine apparently can't

AdamB said...

Thanks Daniel

Not surprised that it's Cooper that has resigned given his position. I wonder whether fellow patrons "Celebrity TV Presenter Sarah Cawood and Celebrity Singer Mz Bratt" will follow suit.

Rob said...

Anonymous at 10:19, try here.

AdamB said...

Thanks for that Rob. It was included as a link on the list of useful organisaions then.

Prince Rock said...

First time I've visited this site, excellent and impressive work. On checking the National Bullying Helpline website myself, I couldn't help but notice the tiny number of references to homophobic bullying therein. Really, it just feels like the bare, legal minimum requirement - a mention on the homepage and one in the 'legal' bit. Nothing I could find anywhere else. Couple that with the large number of religious sponsors, the right-wing endorsements, the prize won from the Mail on Sunday, and, well, for me the story of their affiliation is all told.

Rob said...

Yeah, that seems to be the extent of it. On similar lists on various local authority websites and the HSE website.

National Bullying Helpline on gov.uk websites

Zeno said...

So, the phone calls didn't even say it was Gordon Brown who was doing the bullying!

DespairingLiberal said...

Amusingly, if you call "H & R Diversity Management" in Swindon on their published number of 01793 338888, the overflow goes straight through to - the National Bullying Helpline! These are supposedly separate organisations, the former a commercial company and the latter a registered charity!

Glad that Cary Cooper has resigned as he is a decent guy and probably just got caught up with these self-servers without realising their true bona fides. Always pays to check.

BBC journos are making a point of saying they have investigated and found no connection between Christine Platt and her outfit and the Tories - pretty bizarre given that the front page gives two well known Tory patrons - but it would be intriguing to know if there are links between Swindon Conservatives and either Christine or David Platt. The offices of NBH are next door to those of Swindon Conservative Association.

Iain Dale is letting the odd adverse comment through but is as usual cheerleading the smear over on his blog.

Theo Blackwell's blog said...

Hang on the link is to advice for organisations, not individuals (if you go back through the chain from useful references it's about advice for employers).

This is what it says:

"Here you will find a list of some of the organisations working in diversity who have specialist knowledge of the six diversity strands. They provide information, advice and examples of interesting practice for organisations looking to expand their understanding and improve their practice."

So all it is is BIS saying to employers, you can get training and advice in this field, which is consistent with some of the allegations made that the charity/trading company primarily has an employer focus (rather than an employee one): which again makes it all the more strange that individual employee concerns are being debated in public.

AdamB said...

Zeno - Yes apparently so

Despairing Liberal - there are links between Pratt and the Conservative council (see above). The fact that they're neighbours with the local Conservative association is another interesting snippet, although it may just be a coincidence. Certainly something a major news organisation should be investigating though.

Anonymous said...

Careful lads, is this really a professionally organised 'front' for the Tory party or a rather tatty attempt to cover a commercial operation with a charitiable front? Trying to grab some opportunistic publicity/more money?

One would have hoped the conservative party was more competent than this is smearland. The Tories are bad but can usually be relied on to be rather good at being bad.

Albert Shanker said...

Anon 10:49

It can be shades of both (not sure anyone's saying it's a Tory front. But we can see which way they are facing), and there's no legislating for being rubbish!

Lol - the BBC should make up for their errors by putting the NBH and HR Diversity up on Dragon's Den - get Peter, Theo etc or that hardcore American bloke to give them a good grilling about what they actually do./how much they value their comapny at...

Zeno said...

Why is Nick Clegg saying (on BBC News) that Gordon Brown needs to clear all this up: No. 10 has said there is not a bullying problem and Pratt has said the calls didn't point to Gordon Brown?

Tom (iow) said...

Is this the first New Con sleaze?

Tom said...

"Careful lads, is this really a professionally organised 'front' for the Tory party or a rather tatty attempt to cover a commercial operation with a charitiable front? "

Tom said...

"Careful lads, is this really a professionally organised 'front' for the Tory party or a rather tatty attempt to cover a commercial operation with a charitiable front? "

Occam's Razor and the principle that the purpose of a system is what it does suggests the latter, but the Tory connections are probably what propelled it to front-page BBC news.

A casual observer said...

From Gary Gibbon's blog at Channel 4:

"I asked if she had received any complaints from people working for David Cameron or Nick Clegg and she said a categorical “no.”

She then told me as she was leaving that “of course, I can’t know that because all our callers have confidential calls that stay confidential.” "

Now that is classic.

http://blogs.channel4.com/snowblog/2010/02/22/christine-pratt-still-vague-on-downing-street-bullying-claims/

Anthony said...

I have never read this site before, but found it via a Twitter search on bullying....Obviously you had raised important points at the outset yesterday, and many intriguing and interesting posts follow. Quite independent of all this, and just stirred up by hearing items on the news this morning on the BBC, I wrote to Radio 5 Breakfast live as below. On one angle, how on earth can concerned and intelligent people like Prof Cary Cooper and Ann Widdicombe be so foolish as to endorse a charity like this, at any time: the most cursory look at material on their site and the charities register surely sets anyone's alarm bells ringing? (I note you criticise the BBC journalist for not even the most basic enquiry) And a point not previously mentioned: the helpline in question does not have the National Helplines Assoc kitemark. Why not?

QUOTE
Dear Whoever
I am a regular listener, and have been intrigued by all the material on the alleged bullying style of the PM and the curious intervention
of a charity. Might I suggest you should be being more investigatory
about the self-styled National Anti-bullying Charity. Who are they and
what weight should be given to them? ........

Thus if, as I have just done, you look at their entry on the Charities Register you find that they are very small. I have no idea of their status but it seems small? And who exactly are the trustees?

As to the very important matter of confidentiality: if you announce that you have had callers from an identifiable workplace or location, you are indeed breaking confidentiality, not least because you are
allowing the possibility of identification or pursuit. Good counselling and confidentiality practice ensures that NO identifying details are ever divulged.

My locus in this is once upon a time I was CEO of a (national) charity CEO which held confidential information on people; and that many many
moons ago I used to be a national adviser for the development of (youth) advice and counselling services. (I have never had anything to
do with this particular charity nor did I know anything about it or indeed of it before this news item.)

My interest is not only as a listener with a general interest in thenews, including politics, it is also as someone who thinks Mrs Pratt's
actions ... risk people's confidence not only
in her helpline, but in helplines in general; and also not just in her charity, but in charity in general.

Anthony Lawton

AdamB said...

I just had to reject a couple of potentially libelous comments about Cary Cooper and Christine Pratt. Keep it nice please.

Chris Paul said...

Please to be looking at my early hours post HERE and also my first post HERE which went up at about the same time as your own Adam.

Breaking this morning has been them being neighbours to Swindon Conservatives, and Christine Pratt admitting no calls since 2007 and not all from Number 10. Vague but climbing down.

Most notable thing I found last night was mass resignation of Directors/Trustees January 2008 and current sole Director/Trustee appearing to be the husband.

Christine Pratt also works as a Committee Chair for Conservative Swindon Council - don't know whether that is remunerated. I posted a link to that in both the posts above.

Comment at my blog echoes stories that HR & Diversity Management Limited may have batted for both sides in disputes and actually even tried to make complaints go away or get timed out. Which if it were true would be damning. Perhaps HR&DM would like to comment?

Surely Tory politicians O'Connor and Widdecombe and the two showbiz Patrons MUST join Prof Cary Cooper and make a sharp exit?

crossland said...

They have links with local tory councillors. from early on http://www.haydonwickintouch.com/news/1151/
The Swindon Tory PPC is Justin williamson who also endorses them.

Marshall said...

Congrats to adam and others for working on this, shame the BBC doesn't do it. It is not even challenging Cameron over his demand for an inquiry while he employs and defends Coulson, who was involved in bullying a journo who won a £700,000 payout. what a joke.

crossland said...

Christine pratt was a secretary who took BAE systems to a tribunal and argued they reneged on deal. she then got into work place bullying issues.

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=339195&in_page_id=2

Southpawpunch said...

Baby and bathwater anyone?

A really quite brilliant PR fightback by Labour - switch and divert – supported by this and many other bloggers, tweets etc.

Sure, the helpline does look dodgy although the CEO, Christine Pratt, looks no more Tory linked than Labour linked.

She has endorsements from Tory MPs but also had same from a Labour MP, Anne Snelgrove although the latter did later resign because of her concerns.

But these links are nothing.

If you look at a website of many organisation - e.g. group of British X cultural society (where X is their homeland), Nat Assoc of Y (where Y is some charitable group). you will often find a beaming photo of Cameron and a minister and a local MP and maybe Brown or a royal.

It means nothing; it’s not a Tory or Labour ‘link’; MPs (etc) are just happy to write a standard letter of support to just about any registered charity.

So back to the main issue.

Is Brown a bully or not?

Don’t let Labour throw you off the trail and look askance at authors who facilitate this.

Gkit said...

what does it possibly matter who or what the charity is? there has been no denial that they have had calls from staff in the Prime Minister's office. Is this not shameful? Are you really all so blindly partisan that you have lost sight of what is honest and decent in human behaviour? To abuse one's position of authority to make other people's lives a misery is unforgiveable. This is a standard we hold school children to - surely those in government should be held to at least the same standard? Bullying results in suicides, depression, mental breakdowns, ruined lives. Its defenders on here should be disgusted with themselves and look hard in the mirror.

gkit said...

and yes I mean you Theo Blackwell who has worked for "Public Concern at Work" and "acting teacher and youth worker" Daniel Hoffman-Gill.

Zeno said...

Gkit

There has been a denial of bullying, certainly, but how would anyone know if an employee had made a phone call to the NBH three years ago?

As far as the allegations of bullying are concerned, all we have is a journalist saying someone told him that Gordon was a bully.

Downing street has denied it.

We also have a woman, possibly breaching confidentiality, saying that they had calls from No. 10 (but has provided no evidence) but that those calls did not mention Gordon Brown.

We need far more than that before we can be sure the accusations are based in fact.

Anthony said...

Gkit. Do you not think you are a little blinkered? To speak of the importance of professional helpline practice re confidentiality, and of professional charity practice re accounting and regulation (as I did), is not to condone bullying. Had I and others been defending bullying, we would indeed need to be 'disgusted' with ourselves, but we haven't so I'm not! In fact the whole point of urging the importance of the confidentiality issue (which journalists would and should too) is to ensure that people who are bullied, suicidal etc feel trusting of sources of help

Soutpawpunch. What is a 'main issue' depends upon your perspective. Someone currently in touch with a service that has promised confidentiality may be much more concerned at the moment in the light of all this about whether or not that service will be as cavalier as NBH, than they are about Mr Brown's behaviour. Those whose world is politics, or journalism, should keep one eye on how that world induces a partial take on what is 'main'!

Paul Rice said...

I have replied to your comments http://bit.ly/dt2FSG . You might want to revise the context of your quoted stats.

AdamB said...

Paul - All the facts and links I have are above. The Charity Commission register shows that the accounts are overdue with them and the ones they do have registered are very small scale. I don't see any reason to change that analysis.

BTW I Just caught this very revealing Channel Four News interview with Pratt in which she repeatedly claims the organisation had "three or four" calls from the PM's office and the Deputy PM's office over the past 18 months. Gary Gibbon points out that there hasn't been a Deputy PM for the past 18 months. She replies that she will have to "check out the dates and the details"

link to video

Worth watching their report tonight I think.

Anthony said...

re Paul Rice comment:

(You are) correct to distinguish between accounts registered with Companies House, and those submitted to the Charity Commission, but Adam is not wrong to seek to draw some conclusions from what has and has not been reported to the Charity Commission. In my view (and that of many working in the charity world, and the world of donors large and small) the point is this: a reputable charity of any size takes seriously its responsibilities (formal and informal) to the community in general, and the community of charities, and does submit in a timely way financial accounts (and in some case something called a SIR which is a narrative report) to the Charity Commission. Timely here means as defined by the Charity Commission in respect of the reporting expectations to it as regulator of charities.

Being 208 days overdue with this expectation is an indicator which should make you sit up and wonder why and be cautious about the charity without of itself being a killer ‘fact’. Taken with the indications of the content and style of its website, and the behaviour of its CEO, it provides more than sufficient grounds for the hypothesis that this is a charity whose grandiose name overstates its importance, and whose practice displays scant regard for the professional standards one should require both of helplines and of charities. And journalists might usefully have been rather more questioning at an earlier stage about the credibility and significance of the source of some headline grabbing statements of hearsay.

rwendland said...

Has anyone noticed that the charity's Data Protection Act registration has Purpose 5 as "The sale, hire or exchange of personal information." Seems a bit odd for a charity, but maybe there is a good reason other than providing info onto the associated company.

To see the DPA entry enter Registration Number Z1295207 at:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/ESDWebPages/search.asp

Anonymous said...

i urge people to report this highly irresponsible so called "charity" to the charity commision

AdamB said...

"The Charity Commission has confirmed it will be speaking to the NBH after receiving "a dozen-or-so complaints". The charity's latest accounts were nearly seven months late, it said."

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/news/Article/985472/National-Bullying-Helpline-condemned-breach-confidentiality-No-10-complaints/

Anonymous said...

Another National Bullying Helpline patron resigns -

FT's Jim Pickard reports -

"I've just come off the phone from Mary O'Connor, another patron, who has also just resigned within the last half an hour."

http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2010/02/exclusive-another-resignation-from-the-anti-bullying-charity/

Karl said...

This makes interesting reading -

http://thebullyinghelpline.blogspot.com/

Sorry if its been posted before. Never seen so many comments!

AdamB said...

So O'Connor has jumped ship and Ann Widdecombe is putting on her lifejacket?

What will "Celebrity TV Presenter Sarah Cawood and Celebrity Singer Mz Bratt" do I wonder?

Karl said...

I think they'll resign, oh, I think Sarah Cawood has gone now according to a tweet.

AdamB said...

Yes Sarah Cawood has gone now. The BBC jut showed pictures inside offices. They only showed the two Pratts at work though.

Tony said...

Cawood just resigned too.

Anonymous said...

You probably have this link, but seems like an (ex)insider or scarred (ex)client...

http://thebullyinghelpline.blogspot.com/

nicely done roundup btw.

Anthony said...

Ann Widdicombe has also now resigned (source: Radio Five Live - just now 18:52!)

Hackney Hive said...

Widdecombe has jumped ship too.

I wonder if thier phone lines were busy with clients today?

Anonymous said...

Tory Media Unit is going all out pan-blogosphere to smokescreen the real story here; talk about shooting themselves in the foot :-)

AdamB said...

Widdecombe's gone.

Now the Guardian reveals more details of her shoddy practices at NBH:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/feb/22/profile-christine-pratt-bullying-helpline

(Includes account from our unhappy blogger above + repeated requests for info from the Charity Commission)

Appealing of Ealing said...

"Who are the National Bullying Helpline?"

How about a more pertinent question....like:

Is Gordon Brown a bully and a deranged nutjob?

Answer: yes.

If the same allegations were levelled at a relatively minor politician like, for example, "aggressive and rude" Brian Coleman, I believe you would be making a different point today, rather noisily.

Given your record on Coleman (which I largely agree with), it makes your silence on Brown all the more deafening.

AdamB said...

I know nothing of Gordon Brown's behaviour, other than what I've read in the Observer. I know plenty about Brian Coleman's (including first hand experience).

You obviously know Brown better than me.

Anonymous said...

From "Still Going". My first post to your brilliant blog, although I did email you this morning Adam at 11:11 with a run down on how the Pratt modus operandi works. Can I make it clear that the Charity Commission have been warned repeatedly - but did not a lot. Also Cary Cooper was warned yonks ago, but he too did nothing. It took the airborne brown stuff to hit the fan before the resignations came just as thick and fast... and for the Charity Commission to finally get its act together.

Anonymous said...

What is with this the Bullying Helpline accounts are shown 207 days overdue what a way to run a charity (No 1117852). Just go and look up the figures!! Credible? I think NOT

GavinR said...

The reason why Nick Robinson, the BBC's Political Editor may not have picked up on the scandal is because in the past he was to do with the Tory party in his youth. I already knew this, but a bio on http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Nick_Robinson confirms this. He was (according to the webpage) the President of the Oxford Universty Conservative Association and in 1986 spent a year as national chairman of the Young Conservatives.

So much for BBC impartiality.

AdamB said...

The Daily Mail have been told the same stories that I've been told over the past 24 hours. Christine Pratt is clearly a serial litigant and exploiter of victims of bullying:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1253047/The-truth-multiple-litigant-Mrs-Pratt--high-priestess-victimhood.html

Appealing of Ealing said...

"I know nothing of Gordon Brown's behaviour, other than what I've read in the Observer."

Is that all you know?

Brown's maladjusted tantrums are an open secret -- so say even the more sympathetic lobby journalists. But then you know that already. Looks like Alistair Darling agrees with me.

Well done for sticking up for the bully.

AdamB said...

I haven't stuck up for anyone. By the same standard I could accuse you of sticking up for a con merchant.

Do you defend using a charitable front and vulnerable people to drive money to your business? You haven't condemned it so you must do (so your logic goes)

Anonymous said...

It has been suggested to me by someone who has had dealings with NBH that the 2008 resignations by the charity's Trustees were because of concerns that Pratt wouldn't take guidance from the Trustees, and wasn't transparent about the links between the charity and her business. One Trustee reportedly wrote to the Charities Commission with his/her concerns. Has anyone else heard this? Is there any way of checking this with the Charities Commission?

Briar said...

Well, Mrs Pratt is now A Celebrity. Max Clifford is representing her, and has urged her to dig up her emails so she can prove her allegations. Whoever sent them must be shaking in their boots.

Appealing of Ealing said...

"I haven't stuck up for anyone."

Well, if you say so. Funny though, because everyone else I've heard who has sought to expose this particular alleged con merchant has done so on behalf of the bully. I guess you're different.

"Do you defend using a charitable front and vulnerable people to drive money to your business?"

If you really cared about vulnerable people you wouldn't be finding all manner of excuse (for you and your readers) not to criticize Gordon Brown's well-known unacceptable behaviour.

AdamB said...

"Funny though, because everyone else I've heard who has sought to expose this particular alleged con merchant has done so on behalf of the bully. I guess you're different."

So the Daily Mail, Channel Four News and Bullying UK are all secretly working for Gordon Brown now are they? I think it's time to wrap another layer of tin foil around your head old chap.

Appealing of Ealing said...

"I think it's time to wrap another layer of tin foil around your head old chap."

...while you refuse to condemn a bully. Noted.

Anonymous said...

National Bullying Helpline:
Unit 15 Dorcan Business Village. Murdock Road. Swindon. SN3 5HY.

Swindon Conservatives:
Unit 17, Dorcan Business Village, Murdock Road, Swindon, SN3 5HY

Go figure 8-)

AdamB said...

"Noted."

I bet you've got a notebook as well haven't you? Go on, admit it.

Anonymous said...

No. I only use notebooks for gentle pursuits like sketching and poetry.

I live in Swindon and believe the local conservative leaders here to be, shall we say,'blind to the scrutiny of others'. Would be intrigued to know if the name Rod Bluh is connected to this in any way.

Enough said, and thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Appealing of Ealing said...

"I bet you've got a notebook as well haven't you? Go on, admit it."

Of course I do, and here's a page from it.

(Don't show this to anyone)

Anonymous said...

James Landale broke this story. Turns out he's an Old Etonian and contemporary of Boris Johnson and David Cameron. Small world.

Appealing of Ealing said...

Who could have imagined ...this?

£15,000 says the much smeared Ms. Pratt was telling the truth.

L said...

Well, Appealing of Ealing, seems like someone on here owes you £15,000. And I think it should come from a combination of all those who tried to smear her. I know Christine, and seeing all of you drag her name through the mud over this was heartbreaking. All she ever wanted to do was help, and people like all of you on here make that extremely difficult. Have you ever thought that by posting all of this on a website you are in fact cyber bulling her? Ironic isn't it.

She helped me at a time when I suffered greatly at the hands of my employers when I was just 16. She gave me the strength to fight, and to continue fighting injustices against others.

I was the youngest person at the launch of the charity at the House of Commons, one of just four special guests who had been helped by the actions of this woman and the organisation. I have always known her innocence of this PR scandal - which it is because there are a load of MPs under Gordon Brown who have since revealed the extent of bullying in Downing Street - and now there is proof. Shen has been officially exonerated of ALL allegations by the Charity Commission, and I should hope as someone who started all of this off YOU Adam set this right and issue an official apology.

The truth is out, and all of you should be ashamed for what you wrote about her.

http://www.swindonlink.com/news/national-bullying-hotline-founder-exonerated

L

AdamB said...

Thanks for letting us know about the Charity Commission findings. They conclude that:

"a) the statements made by the Charity, as a result of the media story, had the clear potential to undermine trust and confidence in charity, the reputation and work of the Charity, and other helplines;
b) by making the statements there was a risk that individuals may have been identified although this risk has not been realised (see paragraph 18);
c) the statements were contrary to the Charity’s own Code of Conduct (see paragraph 21) and its published position on privacy (see paragraph 20);
d) the trustees did not take sufficient steps to assert their authority to protect information provided to and held by the Charity as a result of the operation of the Helpline; and
e) there is no evidence to suggest the statements were politically motivated"

and:

"a) the Charity was not operating in accordance with its governing document and the trustees did
not take steps to remedy this; and
b) over a period of time the trustee body lacked cohesion and confidence and individual trustees did not act collectively and were unaware of their role and responsibilities."

Hardly an "exoneration" is it?

In fact given these findings, I think the questions I asked were more than justified.

Perhaps you'd like to apologise for accusing me of "cyber bullying"?