Apology 'not enough' - couple spied on by council

'SINISTER': Kevin Shaw's wife Kim was under surveillance

TEACHER: Kim Shaw, from Blackwood who was subject to surveillance with husband Kevin

First published in News
Last updated

THE way a Gwent council set up procedures to spy on staff suspected of wrongdoing appears "not to have been appropriately controlled and formalised," a critical report concludes.

There is also "little evidence of oversight" of Caerphilly council's development of its employment surveillance activities, states the report of a review carried out for the Wales Audit Office by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

The report comes more than a year after concerns were raised about the council's surveillance processes.

Blackwood man Kevin Shaw, who did not work for the council, was subjected to three days of surveillance in 2010, with wife Kim, who was on sick leave from her teaching job.

“I’ve been awaiting this report. They can’t appease me. I wasn’t even working for the council. What were they hoping to achieve?" he said.

“I’ve always maintained that sometimes an apology is not enough, and in this case, it is certainly not enough. With this report they’ve highlighted a complete disregard to the law from the council.

“I’d like accountability for the officers of Caerphilly county borough council for the mismanagement of public funds. It’s sinister what they did. I’m still taking legal advice.”

Due to changes in the law, the council's legal and human resources services began to design a new process states the report, "which included a requirement to complete an application for surveillance to be undertaken from January 2012.

"However, as at July 2013, there were still no written procedures covering the process to be followed to initiate, consider and authorise employee surveillance."

PWC also confirmed that, "historically there was no formal documentation in place to evidence consideration of an impact assessment when employee surveillance was being proposed."

Such documentation now exists, but the review identifies an instance of employee surveillance set up and approved before the new processes were introduced, in which the council was "unable to provide any documentary evidence that clearly showed such an impact assessment had been undertaken."

There were still no formal written policies and processes setting out what is required in relation to considering the appropriateness of employee surveillance by last February, when the report is dated.

An independent review into the procurement of the main contractor used by the council to carry out employee surveillance services, Blackwood-based Conquest Surveillance Services, is till to report.

But PWC notes that internal auditors' findings "indicate that proper procurement processes were not followed in relation to letting this contract, which we understand has cost the council £209,000 over a six-year period, with over £150,000 having been spent in the three years to the end of 2013.

"This latter element of spend means that EU (European Union) procurement rules should have been followed to let this contract."

The council has already accepted that the letting of the contract did not comply with its own standing orders for procuring services, and the PWC report states: "It will be important for the council to understand root cause of the failure to comply... and to put in place actions to prevent a reoccurrence."

The council has not carried out employee surveillance since April 2013. A spokesman said it "has been awaiting these findings prior to engaging with the trade unions to update relevant policies and procedures."

"Similarly, a formal procurement process will be undertaken," she said.

"We are committed to good corporate governance, and the report's findings primarily reflect internal investigations on the issue that were concluded last year."

Comments (22)

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6:00am Tue 24 Jun 14

Dai Rear says...

Oh but you can't deprive the public sector of its most important role, the fomenting of petty spite
Oh but you can't deprive the public sector of its most important role, the fomenting of petty spite Dai Rear
  • Score: -11

6:42am Tue 24 Jun 14

Realist UK says...

Caerphilly authority are penny-pinching at the moment, blaming "Tory Cuts" & yet distance themselves from investigating potentially fraudulent activity by some of its officers to the tune of £200k. Who on earth at the council justified the surveillance of these people and for what good reason? I agree with Mr Shaw, thiere is something very sinister & unsavoury acting within our council & the labour councillors are too weak to bring thiose officers to account, why?
Caerphilly authority are penny-pinching at the moment, blaming "Tory Cuts" & yet distance themselves from investigating potentially fraudulent activity by some of its officers to the tune of £200k. Who on earth at the council justified the surveillance of these people and for what good reason? I agree with Mr Shaw, thiere is something very sinister & unsavoury acting within our council & the labour councillors are too weak to bring thiose officers to account, why? Realist UK
  • Score: 20

7:36am Tue 24 Jun 14

KarloMarko says...

Caerphilly Council - "We are committed to good corporate governance". CAERPHILLY! And he said it with a straight face! Years of intensive training.
Caerphilly Council - "We are committed to good corporate governance". CAERPHILLY! And he said it with a straight face! Years of intensive training. KarloMarko
  • Score: 18

7:58am Tue 24 Jun 14

Woodgnome says...

Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything. Woodgnome
  • Score: 17

9:03am Tue 24 Jun 14

Realist UK says...

Woodgnome wrote:
Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed. Realist UK
  • Score: 6

10:08am Tue 24 Jun 14

Woodgnome says...

Realist UK wrote:
Woodgnome wrote:
Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.
You don't know that at all, it does not say it was unlawful it says procedures were slack and you also you don't know what it turned up.
In any event it seems the teacher was sacked because of unfair dismissal claim so the Council obviously watched here for some reason.
[quote][p][bold]Realist UK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.[/p][/quote]You don't know that at all, it does not say it was unlawful it says procedures were slack and you also you don't know what it turned up. In any event it seems the teacher was sacked because of unfair dismissal claim so the Council obviously watched here for some reason. Woodgnome
  • Score: 5

10:21am Tue 24 Jun 14

Realist UK says...

Woodgnome wrote:
Realist UK wrote:
Woodgnome wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.
You don't know that at all, it does not say it was unlawful it says procedures were slack and you also you don't know what it turned up. In any event it seems the teacher was sacked because of unfair dismissal claim so the Council obviously watched here for some reason.
The epitomy of "a little knowledge is dangerous".
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Realist UK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.[/p][/quote]You don't know that at all, it does not say it was unlawful it says procedures were slack and you also you don't know what it turned up. In any event it seems the teacher was sacked because of unfair dismissal claim so the Council obviously watched here for some reason.[/p][/quote]The epitomy of "a little knowledge is dangerous". Realist UK
  • Score: 4

10:37am Tue 24 Jun 14

KarloMarko says...

"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" - Strange that never applies to the "watchers".
"Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" - Strange that never applies to the "watchers". KarloMarko
  • Score: 10

1:29pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Woodgnome says...

Realist UK wrote:
Woodgnome wrote:
Realist UK wrote:
Woodgnome wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.
You don't know that at all, it does not say it was unlawful it says procedures were slack and you also you don't know what it turned up. In any event it seems the teacher was sacked because of unfair dismissal claim so the Council obviously watched here for some reason.
The epitomy of "a little knowledge is dangerous".
That's magnanimous of you - I certainly agree that you have little knowledge on this one Realist.
[quote][p][bold]Realist UK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Realist UK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.[/p][/quote]You don't know that at all, it does not say it was unlawful it says procedures were slack and you also you don't know what it turned up. In any event it seems the teacher was sacked because of unfair dismissal claim so the Council obviously watched here for some reason.[/p][/quote]The epitomy of "a little knowledge is dangerous".[/p][/quote]That's magnanimous of you - I certainly agree that you have little knowledge on this one Realist. Woodgnome
  • Score: 4

1:29pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Woodgnome says...

Realist UK wrote:
Woodgnome wrote:
Realist UK wrote:
Woodgnome wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.
You don't know that at all, it does not say it was unlawful it says procedures were slack and you also you don't know what it turned up. In any event it seems the teacher was sacked because of unfair dismissal claim so the Council obviously watched here for some reason.
The epitomy of "a little knowledge is dangerous".
That's magnanimous of you - I certainly agree that you have little knowledge on this one Realist.
[quote][p][bold]Realist UK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Realist UK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.[/p][/quote]You don't know that at all, it does not say it was unlawful it says procedures were slack and you also you don't know what it turned up. In any event it seems the teacher was sacked because of unfair dismissal claim so the Council obviously watched here for some reason.[/p][/quote]The epitomy of "a little knowledge is dangerous".[/p][/quote]That's magnanimous of you - I certainly agree that you have little knowledge on this one Realist. Woodgnome
  • Score: 7

3:34pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Realist UK says...

Woodgnome wrote:
Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Whatever they were "watching" the sick teacher for shouldn't include covert surveillance of her husband who does not work for Caerphilly Council. This article is about Mr Shaw. Perhaps Woodgnome should read it again without blinkers.
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Whatever they were "watching" the sick teacher for shouldn't include covert surveillance of her husband who does not work for Caerphilly Council. This article is about Mr Shaw. Perhaps Woodgnome should read it again without blinkers. Realist UK
  • Score: 2

5:04pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Woodgnome says...

Realist UK wrote:
Woodgnome wrote:
Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Whatever they were "watching" the sick teacher for shouldn't include covert surveillance of her husband who does not work for Caerphilly Council. This article is about Mr Shaw. Perhaps Woodgnome should read it again without blinkers.
Perhaps realist should stop pontificating on facts he knows nothing about. The article is about defective processes that are now in place. Of course the husband is piqued - his wife has been sacked.
[quote][p][bold]Realist UK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Whatever they were "watching" the sick teacher for shouldn't include covert surveillance of her husband who does not work for Caerphilly Council. This article is about Mr Shaw. Perhaps Woodgnome should read it again without blinkers.[/p][/quote]Perhaps realist should stop pontificating on facts he knows nothing about. The article is about defective processes that are now in place. Of course the husband is piqued - his wife has been sacked. Woodgnome
  • Score: -2

7:38pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Nig says...

KarloMarko wrote:
Caerphilly Council - "We are committed to good corporate governance". CAERPHILLY! And he said it with a straight face! Years of intensive training.
This happened under Plaid Cymru labour are clearing up the mess , Plaid were in power but not control from 2008 to 2012 with the Independents
[quote][p][bold]KarloMarko[/bold] wrote: Caerphilly Council - "We are committed to good corporate governance". CAERPHILLY! And he said it with a straight face! Years of intensive training.[/p][/quote]This happened under Plaid Cymru labour are clearing up the mess , Plaid were in power but not control from 2008 to 2012 with the Independents Nig
  • Score: 3

7:41pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Nig says...

Realist UK wrote:
Woodgnome wrote:
Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Whatever they were "watching" the sick teacher for shouldn't include covert surveillance of her husband who does not work for Caerphilly Council. This article is about Mr Shaw. Perhaps Woodgnome should read it again without blinkers.
The school asked for the Governors asked for surveillance
[quote][p][bold]Realist UK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Whatever they were "watching" the sick teacher for shouldn't include covert surveillance of her husband who does not work for Caerphilly Council. This article is about Mr Shaw. Perhaps Woodgnome should read it again without blinkers.[/p][/quote]The school asked for the Governors asked for surveillance Nig
  • Score: 4

7:41pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Nig says...

Realist UK wrote:
Caerphilly authority are penny-pinching at the moment, blaming "Tory Cuts" & yet distance themselves from investigating potentially fraudulent activity by some of its officers to the tune of £200k. Who on earth at the council justified the surveillance of these people and for what good reason? I agree with Mr Shaw, thiere is something very sinister & unsavoury acting within our council & the labour councillors are too weak to bring thiose officers to account, why?
This happened under Plaid Cymru labour are clearing up the mess , Plaid were in power but not control from 2008 to 2012 with the Independents
[quote][p][bold]Realist UK[/bold] wrote: Caerphilly authority are penny-pinching at the moment, blaming "Tory Cuts" & yet distance themselves from investigating potentially fraudulent activity by some of its officers to the tune of £200k. Who on earth at the council justified the surveillance of these people and for what good reason? I agree with Mr Shaw, thiere is something very sinister & unsavoury acting within our council & the labour councillors are too weak to bring thiose officers to account, why?[/p][/quote]This happened under Plaid Cymru labour are clearing up the mess , Plaid were in power but not control from 2008 to 2012 with the Independents Nig
  • Score: 3

7:42pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Nig says...

Woodgnome wrote:
Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Th e school governors asked the for the surveillance
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Th e school governors asked the for the surveillance Nig
  • Score: 4

7:43pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Nig says...

Realist UK wrote:
Woodgnome wrote:
Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.
Blame the school they asked for the surveillance
[quote][p][bold]Realist UK[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Whatever the reason for the surveillance it was conducted outside the legal framework. Apparently, what "turned up" was nothing other than unnecessary expense to tax-paying residents & distress to those who were covertly followed & filmed.[/p][/quote]Blame the school they asked for the surveillance Nig
  • Score: 1

11:26pm Tue 24 Jun 14

edwolf88 says...

An independent review into the procurement of the main contractor used by the council to carry out employee surveillance services, Blackwood-based Conquest Surveillance Services, is till to report.
But PWC notes that internal auditors' findings "indicate that proper procurement processes were not followed in relation to letting this contract, which we understand has cost the council £209,000 over a six-year period, with over £150,000 having been spent in the three years to the end of 2013.
Dayton Griffiths, who was appointed chief executive of Blackwood-based Conquest Surveillance Services in 2012, was previously head of the council’s insurance claims department – which itself was responsible for commissioning the surveillance work.
Mr Griffiths has confirmed contracts had been awarded to Conquest without following a competitive tender process – a practice he defended.
CORRUPT CORRUPT CORRUPT CORRUPT CORRUPT
An independent review into the procurement of the main contractor used by the council to carry out employee surveillance services, Blackwood-based Conquest Surveillance Services, is till to report. But PWC notes that internal auditors' findings "indicate that proper procurement processes were not followed in relation to letting this contract, which we understand has cost the council £209,000 over a six-year period, with over £150,000 having been spent in the three years to the end of 2013. Dayton Griffiths, who was appointed chief executive of Blackwood-based Conquest Surveillance Services in 2012, was previously head of the council’s insurance claims department – which itself was responsible for commissioning the surveillance work. Mr Griffiths has confirmed contracts had been awarded to Conquest without following a competitive tender process – a practice he defended. CORRUPT CORRUPT CORRUPT CORRUPT CORRUPT edwolf88
  • Score: 4

1:29pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Realist UK says...

Nig wrote:
Woodgnome wrote:
Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.
Th e school governors asked the for the surveillance
If this is true what are Caerphilly authority going to do about it? Moreover, have schools in Gwent the power to spend public money on a whim without accountability? What school would ask for such treatment of a member of their staff?
[quote][p][bold]Nig[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Procedures were poor true, but the report says nothing about why the Council were watching the "sick" teacher or whether this watching turned up anything.[/p][/quote]Th e school governors asked the for the surveillance[/p][/quote]If this is true what are Caerphilly authority going to do about it? Moreover, have schools in Gwent the power to spend public money on a whim without accountability? What school would ask for such treatment of a member of their staff? Realist UK
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Wed 25 Jun 14

-trigg- says...

There are two issues here, both of which need to be fully investigated.

The first is the decision to use covert surveillance not only on the employee, but also for this surveillance to include her non-employed partner. Although there may have been justification for the former (I don't know enough detail to judge), it would seem unlikely that there would be a legitimate reason to conduct surveillance on Mr Shaw.

the other and completely separate issue relates to how surveillance services were procured. We have already been informed that this did not follow the agreed process. The question now remains whether this was due to incompetence or corruption.
There are two issues here, both of which need to be fully investigated. The first is the decision to use covert surveillance not only on the employee, but also for this surveillance to include her non-employed partner. Although there may have been justification for the former (I don't know enough detail to judge), it would seem unlikely that there would be a legitimate reason to conduct surveillance on Mr Shaw. the other and completely separate issue relates to how surveillance services were procured. We have already been informed that this did not follow the agreed process. The question now remains whether this was due to incompetence or corruption. -trigg-
  • Score: 2

2:00pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Realist UK says...

-trigg- wrote:
There are two issues here, both of which need to be fully investigated.

The first is the decision to use covert surveillance not only on the employee, but also for this surveillance to include her non-employed partner. Although there may have been justification for the former (I don't know enough detail to judge), it would seem unlikely that there would be a legitimate reason to conduct surveillance on Mr Shaw.

the other and completely separate issue relates to how surveillance services were procured. We have already been informed that this did not follow the agreed process. The question now remains whether this was due to incompetence or corruption.
I think the PWC report states "little evidence of oversight" which suggests it was a deliberate act. I'm more concerned that the labour controlled authority haven't the minerals to deal with these cavalier officers within the council.
[quote][p][bold]-trigg-[/bold] wrote: There are two issues here, both of which need to be fully investigated. The first is the decision to use covert surveillance not only on the employee, but also for this surveillance to include her non-employed partner. Although there may have been justification for the former (I don't know enough detail to judge), it would seem unlikely that there would be a legitimate reason to conduct surveillance on Mr Shaw. the other and completely separate issue relates to how surveillance services were procured. We have already been informed that this did not follow the agreed process. The question now remains whether this was due to incompetence or corruption.[/p][/quote]I think the PWC report states "little evidence of oversight" which suggests it was a deliberate act. I'm more concerned that the labour controlled authority haven't the minerals to deal with these cavalier officers within the council. Realist UK
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Realist UK says...

Nig wrote:
KarloMarko wrote:
Caerphilly Council - "We are committed to good corporate governance". CAERPHILLY! And he said it with a straight face! Years of intensive training.
This happened under Plaid Cymru labour are clearing up the mess , Plaid were in power but not control from 2008 to 2012 with the Independents
Wasn't the procurement process and disregard for the legal requirements made under the tenure of the current Acting CEO who labour councillors insist "has done a great job".
[quote][p][bold]Nig[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]KarloMarko[/bold] wrote: Caerphilly Council - "We are committed to good corporate governance". CAERPHILLY! And he said it with a straight face! Years of intensive training.[/p][/quote]This happened under Plaid Cymru labour are clearing up the mess , Plaid were in power but not control from 2008 to 2012 with the Independents[/p][/quote]Wasn't the procurement process and disregard for the legal requirements made under the tenure of the current Acting CEO who labour councillors insist "has done a great job". Realist UK
  • Score: 0

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