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Tuesday 11 February 2020

If at first you don't succeed, try again

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Scrutiny is launching a second attempt for a Tribunal of Inquiry having been stifled in its efforts for a "full and frank review" into the controversial appointment of a Head of Curriculum and Standards.

The Scrutiny Management Committee is submitting "for a second and final time" a policy letter recommending that a Tribunal of Inquiry be convened to investigate the circumstances around the appointment of Clare Sealy.

It was reported at the time that ESC President Matt Fallaize interfered in the recruitment process, threatening to resign after a local headteacher was offered the job instead of his preferred candidate. The originally successful applicant withdrew their acceptance of the job and it was eventually filled by Ms Sealy, who had impressed Deputy Fallaize when she applied for the Director of Education position months earlier. 

Scrutiny President Chris Green said his committee has been attempting to get an effective independent review of this matter since early September, following the States' decision not to fund a Tribunal of Inquiry. 

"However, despite best efforts, very limited progress to date has been made to date. The Committee has acted in good faith in trying to progress an effective review, but now firmly believes that this option is unlikely to result in the publication of a transparent, meaningful and conclusive report that represents value for money."


Pictured: Deputy Fallaize said his committee had been waiting to submit unredacted documents to Scrutiny for a long time.

"Due to Data Protection and other legal concerns, the Committee has not been able to gain access to the complete set of documents in un-redacted form. Further, a recent modification to the Data Protection Law has potentially created further difficulties regarding the publication of a full and frank report at the end of the review."

Deputy Fallaize said his committee had submitted all the requested documents to the SMC a couple of months ago.

"They contained some redactions, mostly of personal data, because at that time that is what was required by the law. In January a new Regulation was made and we recently received legal advice that it is now lawful to provide the SMC with all material relevant to the review in un-redacted form. This is good news because we have been wanting to submit everything to them for a long time.

The terms of the new Regulation mean it would be lawful to submit in un-redacted form only if the SMC has provided an undertaking that it will not then publish the material. We have asked the SMC for that undertaking. As soon as they provide it we will willingly re-submit all the material we have already submitted but free of any redactions which do not allow the reviewer to carry out the task set.”

school education Coffey James Godley

Pictured: Ms Sealy joined other senior figures in Education when she became the Head of Curriculum and Standards. 

Deputy Green said an independent review of this nature would not be able to include all the relevant facts and would not be the best use of public money. He said a Tribunal of Inquiry would not be stymied by any of these concerns and would cost the same amount of money. 

My Committee believes that a Tribunal of Inquiry is now the only course of action to deal with this matter," he said. "Despite my Committees best efforts the independent review has faced significant obstacles at every turn, particularly in terms of data protection which have brought us to the conclusion that the only effective resolution would be a Tribunal of Inquiry.

"My Committee hopes that the States Assembly will support its second submission of the Policy Letter to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion.”

Pictured top: Deputy Chris Green.

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