Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html en-gb 30 Mon 04 May 2015 04:00:17 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html keepitsimple http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=99#comment109 #107 liz - sorry to hear about that, depending on the nature of it, at the very least the head [if you have gone that far up yet] should be willing to listen to you and to explain what decision has been taken to do or not do what, & why, and if there is anyone you can complain to outside the school if you are not satisfied. meanwhile it is a good idea to keep a diary of incidents and photos of any evidence of physical bullying. ultimately physical assault is a crime which is punishable in law.the other thing you can do, depending on your child, is to see if there are any ways your son can either learn to ignore, not take so seriously, or even fight back....name calling & other verbal buse is very unpleasant but as they say 'sticks and stones...'. comedians have to learn how to deal with hecklers, maybe your son will turn into a famous comedian as a result. similarly if he finds some 6ft friends to hang out with these bullies may be less likely to try. or if he does well in a school sports team he may gain their respect.sorry if all very obvious & i appreciate I dont know the detail of your son's circumstances, what i am saying is that it must be difficult if teachers are not being fair to all the children, your next steps seem to be either to find ways to escalate to the head ot to an outsider or to deal with in other ways....what matters about adverse situations is not always necessarily whether you are able to solve a problem but how you react to it, right or wrong there are nasty people in the world and we all need to find and learn ways to deal with them at different points in life..and tho terribly unfair there sometimes isnt an outsider who is an independent judge.hope that helps and good luck with your son's case Sun 07 Mar 2010 11:26:35 GMT+1 Andrew Taylor http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=98#comment108 Correction: It commanded little or no respect within the anti-bullying field. Fri 05 Mar 2010 16:26:56 GMT+1 ghost http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=97#comment107 Dear Mrs Pratt, You have been selected as a scapegoat? Not once did you release any privilaged information. I believe that you were trying to raise awareness that bullying occurs even at the highest level. At last someone has brought bulling out into the open. If by what you said encourages at least a few more people to phone needing help/advise about the living hell they are enduring because of being bullied at work then you have done a great service. You need to show if the call rating has increased or remained the same, this will prove what you said has highlighted a good SERVICE & free advertising you have done for the cause. Please don't you or Professor Cary Coope resign, otherwise it shows that if you two won’t stand up to bullying, what little chance do we have! Was "outing" of the government’s expense scandal wrong? was the public not grateful? I'm involved in a bullying court case & I need to feel that the government is taking bullying seriously!!! Sun 28 Feb 2010 16:58:04 GMT+1 liz http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=96#comment106 agree with all 'angel in transit' has said. also, my son is being verbally and just occansionally physically bullied at school, but they cannot recognise it or do not want to 'the bullies' parents both work within the school. so imagine the difficulties if it is no 10! true or false, it needs to be investigated by a confidential outside source if there is such a thing. Sat 27 Feb 2010 03:12:11 GMT+1 Angel_in_Transit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=95#comment105 #103"The rest is hot air."You said it, buster. Fri 26 Feb 2010 08:40:31 GMT+1 keepitsimple http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=94#comment104 #99 angel in transit #100 statist - Statist misses the point entirely - everybody, no matter how tall, small, stupid, intelligent, or lacking knowledge of particular facts deserves to be treated equally with respect and understanding, and if possible a positive helpful engagement. Publicly dismissing those you disagree with as 'ignorant' or 'weak witted' based on the flimsiest evidence - 'facts' that are your interpretation of somebody's understanding based on a few very short lines - demonstrates intolerance and arrogance, a lack of tact and a lack of any empathy with fellow humans. You would not use such language face to face. Teachers explain, provide facts, persuade, rather than dismissing students as ignorant if they have questions or different perspectives-at least if they are good at their job. I have noticed that Statist whilst always claiming to want to be helpful, appears never to make a single comment supporting or agreeing with anybody else nor accept anybody else's point of view in part or in whole- what does that tell us about this individual? It is rather sad actually. I expect this feedback - meant constructively - will get dismissed or attacked and it is comment based only on a selection of entries on this blog on a variety of different topics not just this one on bullying - but it is a good deal more important for all of us to reflect on how we can improve our personal behaviours - none of us is perfect nor always right - and the example I cite is illustrative - there are many negative critics on all these blogs - and Statist may be a lovely charming bright and cheerful person in real life, always ready to assist others, explain issues and genuinely listen to others' point of view - but that's not the impression that comes across, unfortunately. Fri 26 Feb 2010 08:38:11 GMT+1 Adie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=93#comment103 seems like everyone that tries to disagree with Gordon Brown gets trashed. You either shut up or you get the "forces of hell" coming down o your neck. What a way to run a country Thu 25 Feb 2010 21:51:49 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=92#comment102 102. Angel_in_Transit - OK, I've tried to be helpful and it's clearly not been appreciated. Just remember, there is no such thing as 'truth' per se, but there are true and false sentences (i.e. statements), and those statements have to have physical predicates. The rest is hot air. Thu 25 Feb 2010 14:50:50 GMT+1 Angel_in_Transit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=91#comment101 #101"You are using dictinaries to define truth?"No, I use them to define words, as in the language you are using. It is called English. You use the words "errors" and "erroneous" to mean what exactly, and will I find it a dictionary, or are you just trying to "prove" you are better than me? If the latter then "no contest". Can you will find the "truth" in that? Thu 25 Feb 2010 12:56:59 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=90#comment100 99. Angel_in_Transit 'In context, the same means "identical, unchanged", whereas equal means "with the same rights". A short lady has the same rights as a tall man. The dim child in the corner has the same rights as the bright child at the front. The adjective is applied by YOU, the observer, from your personal experience and your personal reasoning.'You are using dictinaries to define truth? Meaning is not defined, or prescribed by dictionaries, dictionaries just capture and record conventional usage. Truth, or pursuit of matters of fact, is not immanent (subjective). One of the greatest diservices to youth in the past couple of generations has been the promulgation of a great untruth, namely, the primacy of intentionality or consciousness. What psychology actually reveals are the ways that people misbehave in pursuit of truth, i.e how people make errors. Psychology is largely the study of erroneous behaviours. It is the business of science to state person invariant objective truths in observation conjunctions or laws. That these can be, and are, made more useful, i.e more predictive, over time, through research, does not render truth subjective, or context specific.Many people have been very poorly educated. Thu 25 Feb 2010 12:14:20 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=89#comment99 99. Angel_in_Transit 'The dim child in the corner has the same rights as the bright child at the front.'The same 'rights' to what exactly? To 5 x A-Cs? Abilities are Normally Distributed in the population. Do you fully understand that? Yet in our schools, many have as much as 50% who are SEN (non statemented).I fear you have completely missed the point and until you think this through very carefully, you will tacitly continye to contribute to the problem that I am talking about. That is how this insidious, pernicious problem operates. People mean well (as I'm sure you do), but they do harm through omission. Through not understanding complex issues. Thu 25 Feb 2010 11:32:13 GMT+1 Angel_in_Transit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=89#comment98 #97In context, the same means "identical, unchanged", whereas equal means "with the same rights". A short lady has the same rights as a tall man. The dim child in the corner has the same rights as the bright child at the front. The adjective is applied by YOU, the observer, from your personal experience and your personal reasoning.We get into what is "success" via this route, and then it becomes a question of "who knows what success is". I have an idea of what it means but I cannot possibly know whether I am right or wrong, and so I cannot make others meet my ideas of success without bullying them.Bullying - intimidation of a weaker person. Note the word "weaker" since it is constructed from the reason for the bullying, which is to make a person feel and be "less than you". Making yourself feel more important is something we do when we are inadequate, and, regrettably, we have become much more inadequate via a process called "progress" which is once again a "what does it mean" word.Politicians, who start as ordinary people, make their profession out of "what does it mean" words. Language standing in the way of showing someone what they mean. Language - that truly great way of bullying someone. It gets in the way of saying "please help me I am inadequate". Thu 25 Feb 2010 10:33:39 GMT+1 Dave Cheadle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=88#comment97 I'm not sure how much of this is real and how much of it is just media froth. This is yet another story without any verifiable facts behind it - just a series of anonymous claims and counter-claims which no-one has enough evidence to take to a serious place. In way (oddly) it reminds me a little bit of the "Morrisey is racist" hubbub of a few years back.The pattern goes like this: a rumour percolates around a figure that they have an unsavoury aspect to their personality (who doesn't?) Journos root around till they find people with an axe to grind who are prepared to make a statement so long as they aren't identified. And then before long, the rumours are so large and high profile that they become fixed as fact in the public mind.And all the while there is not a scrap of solid proof.It's this kind of thing that makes me feel uneasy about the way the media operates. On the one hand, we want to know what's going on under the surface. On the other hand, without substantiation the constant media blitz can easily create a 'story' out of what amounts to unattributable comments and we are never allowed to peer behind the curtain.Is this just my ignorance of the media process, or is there something more solid behind it that journalists just feel they can't report? Thu 25 Feb 2010 09:40:28 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=87#comment96 96. Angel_in_Transit 'Treating people as equals is not something you can tamper with when it gets in the way of what YOU want, and when you force others to be less equal than you are, you are a bully.'No. People are not equals - for instance, they differ in height, weight, proness to illness, and yes, especially cognitive ability (see SEN in our schools, our SATs etc, OECD PISA etc). Treating people as if they are all the same is in fact ignorance. Pointing out stupid behaviour is not offensive behaviour, it is healthy discrimination, i.e intelligent behaviour. Abusing people is offensive however. Abuse is something different again. Telling someone they are bright is not a compiment, it si genetic. It is a description. Telling someone they are stupid is also a description. Words tend to acquire odd connotations over the years. is an interesting one. Many think we now live in an idiocracy.Failure to point out, and to correct/deter stupid/idiotic behaviour, is in fact socially irresponsible behaviour. That this irresponsibility is endemnic, is preciley why we are in such an economic mess today. In fact, this irresponsibility has been encouraged by those who want to promote anarchism (the free-market) as it is the state which thwarts (regulates) the free-market. Statism acknowledges diversity and tries to cater for it as a biological fact of life. It does not ignore it by treating everyone as the same or as equals. Equality before the law, of course, means something quite different.Here are some statistics from the most socialist (Stalinist) nation on the planet. Please note the inequality. It highlights a biological differenece in cognitive (and other) abilities, not oppression or bullying. Thu 25 Feb 2010 09:39:11 GMT+1 Angel_in_Transit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=86#comment95 #93,94,95 An array of comments that, within their personal styles, shows the dirt covering the lens that focuses on our frustrations, anger, and inadequacies.We vote in representatives who mainly progress through a machine that is driven by bullies hiding behind the banner of "political correctness". The expedience of positive discrimination achieves an aim that runs counter to "treating people as equals" and yet it is quickly buried under the mantra "if you will not do this voluntarily we will make you do it". Is it bullying?Is the bill to force smokers to smoke outside bullying, or is it a sensible and sensitive approach to "conflicting life style choices"? Treating people as equals is not something you can tamper with when it gets in the way of what YOU want, and when you force others to be less equal than you are, you are a bully. The expenses scandal is another example of bullying where the fees office, overloaded with claims, is forced to accept a less than perfect solution. Packaging in shops, designed to be theft proof, bully us into having to accept less shop assistants and more rubbish in our bins that we have to pay for. We are told by companies that "this is what customers want" as they bully us into accepting foreign call centres etc, inadequate customer service, no face-to-face impact.Bullying is everywhere you turn. Every so often YOU may get courageous and even brave and face the bully with a new found assertion. Little do you know that at that moment you are doing the whole world a favour. Thu 25 Feb 2010 08:21:24 GMT+1 keepitsimple http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=85#comment94 Ironic how many comments have been made so far which personally insult others concerning their mental ability or on the grounds of their ignorance or misunderstanding....actions which are typical of bullies and which any right thinking person would not dream of doing deliberately face to face to anybody they know but which appear acceptable online to anonymous others who are not known personally. Aside from being a poor way to win an argument it lowers the tone and is a long way from the level of decency that might be expected in a discussion about bullying or alleged bullying. I hope that none of you would stoop to such a level if you were appearing in an audience on Newsnight trying to make the same points, why do you feel it is acceptable online...shame on you, you know who you are, perhaps you should think more before you type. Emails are difficult to get right and to get the tone across but they can still be useful if used with tact, grace and understanding that none of us are perfect, not even the know-alls among us.have a great day and i hope that gives some of you some pause for thought on how you could behave in a less offensive way towards others. :) Thu 25 Feb 2010 01:47:34 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=84#comment93 93. Luvimwhydontcha 'Why have so few people failed to grasp this and made Ms Pratt a target for unwarranted abuse?'It doesn't matter why. Most people are pretty stupid. What more people should focus upon is the sorry scope of the Charities Act 2006 and how people today can, and do, make money all too easily out of other people's suffering and stupidity. It's the same with homeopathy, alternative medicine, psychotherapy, and no end of other snake-oils.This is the cost of anti-statism, i.e. de-regulation (privatisation and The Third Sector). It's the true ugliness of caveat emptor, where there is no level playing field in terms of cognitive ability, everyone is encouraged to think they are equals and to denounce authority. To some this is a licence to take candy from babies. It's social-fascists (i.e. social-democrats) who are behind all this political correctness, which, looked at closely, is essentially a venal divide and conquer, market strategy. Wed 24 Feb 2010 17:33:40 GMT+1 Luvimwhydontcha http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=83#comment92 On the TV interview that I saw, Ms Pratt insisted she was not calling the man BRown a bully, nor did she disclose any information about the people who had consulted her helpline.She got involved only because she identified that Mandelson was denying that anybody had talked to the helpline. Any worthy citizen would have done the same in the face of untruths by a public figure.Why have so few people failed to grasp this and made Ms Pratt a target for unwarranted abuse? Wed 24 Feb 2010 16:46:13 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=82#comment91 91. jon112uk - Here's another contribution to your enlightnment grass-hopper:- Life's not about 'debate'. That's just nefarious political/legal rhetoric,a nd modern obsessin with it is why we are in trouble. What really matters is pursuit of truth, and you presently have absolutely no grasp of that, nor do you appear to be willing to be instructed. Now that's not very bright. Don't trade enlightenment for appearances. Learn to listen. Wed 24 Feb 2010 15:15:27 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=81#comment90 #89. StatistI think I'll leave you to it - sometimes there can be some good debates on here, but unfortunately it isn't going to happen today.(Have a closer look at #86. It makes a point without insult. It is well said. It is a comment which allows others to respond with a counter-argument. That's the sort of contribution that facilitates the debate.) Wed 24 Feb 2010 14:22:37 GMT+1 Angel_in_Transit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=80#comment89 #89In mentioning the darker side of a person's nature I am reminded of Mandelson's "very demanding" description of the PM which would hardly take pride of place in a book entitled "How Not To Be A Bully"."I demand you stay late tonight.""I demand that you go to your desk, shut up and get on with your work.""I demand that you complete that report now."Bullying is obvious especially to the person on the receiving end. Wed 24 Feb 2010 14:20:37 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=80#comment88 86. Angel_in_Transit 'The presence or otherwise of intelligence doesn't come into it - ever.'Surely you aren't implying that the PM is thick? ;-) He has a PhD in history, I remind you, which, as we all know, qualifies one to run a country and especially a deregulated economy (just like a PhD in Aritotelean metaphyics qualifies one to head up the UK Statistics Authority).PS. I have it on very good authority that Gordon Brown is not a chocolate eclair (although he may be a Satanist), and that this point is not a non sequitur nor an instantiation of bullying. ;-)88. jon112uk 'That's an example of an insult.' No, it's an instantiation of logic, and it's educational. Being bright is not a compliment, it's just a description. Only our hopelessly narcissistic culture has made it otherwise. Wed 24 Feb 2010 13:50:11 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=79#comment87 85. Statist ..."You are not very bright. Is that an insult, or is it a true assertion?"=======================That's an example of an insult. It's a tricky concept I know, but keep at it and hopefully you'll understand. Have a look at other people's contributions and see how they discuss GB and bullying. Hopefully it will eventually sink in. Wed 24 Feb 2010 13:03:19 GMT+1 Fade 'n' Die (No Relation to Shake 'n' Vac) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=78#comment86 Interesting press release on the website. Starts with"Our Patrons have resigned at a time when we needed them most. It is a shame that not one of them ever visited our charity offices to see how we operate or meet with our Volunteers and Trustee's, despite request."So it's the patrons' collective fault that they have abandoned the charity and not Pratt's behaviour that has undermined the charity's integrity. And it's not the fact that this charity recommends callers talk to the anti-bullying consultancy run by her husband.Naughty ex-patrons, can't you see the damage that you and not Ms Pratt has caused??In all seriousness I can't see how the charity's release of this information has helped the No 10 employees who felt that they had to turn to a helpline to address their concerns. Wed 24 Feb 2010 12:45:11 GMT+1 Angel_in_Transit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=77#comment85 To jon112uk and StatistYour "debate" is all very well as an example of how not to be "bullied" into giving way, but actually no Prime Minister is ever "elected" by the people. He or she is appointed by the Queen or King, "traditionally" as "leader" of the party with the majority of MPs. Of course, if he or she dropped dead at the shock of being appointed PM, the Queen (or King) would find someone else to do the dirty job.The presence or otherwise of intelligence doesn't come into it - ever. Wed 24 Feb 2010 12:41:12 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=76#comment84 84. jon112uk 'If you have some information as to when Brown was elected or subject to any form of vote as our national leader then please tell me.If not - then he is 'unelected' This is not rocket science.'You are not very bright.Is that an insult, or is it a true assertion? Wed 24 Feb 2010 11:56:57 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=75#comment83 #81.(Statist)Unfortunately you haven't got the point about the insults. Never mind, it's an open forum so people of all levels of intellectual ability have a right to participate. It wouldn't be fair to pick on you.In #49 I referred to Brown as 'our unelected PM'Blair had a mandate from a general election. Major had a mandate from an election within his own party. Even Hamid Kazai probably had SOME Afghans vote for him as their national leader.If you have some information as to when Brown was elected or subject to any form of vote as our national leader then please tell me.If not - then he is 'unelected' This is not rocket science. Wed 24 Feb 2010 11:35:57 GMT+1 Framer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=74#comment82 What about a story, Mark, on how Ed Balls has singlehandedly cut the teenage pregnancy rate and will NOT be meeting the ambitious government target despite masses of expenditure on youth sexual health?Of course the BBC website headline simply records the small rate drop not the main failure and the foolish target culture. Wed 24 Feb 2010 11:11:29 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=73#comment81 78. Lucy S 'If they did truely care about bullying they wouldn't resign but instead would stand up, repremand Christine Pratt, demand an appology and resignation and then use this situation to give the work against bullying the profile it desperately needs. (e.g. finally get the antibullying law through parliment)'This would just amount to yet more Ambulance Chasing Legislation. That's what all this anti-bullying lark is about. It is used by devious parents to move kids between schools too. Sadly, bullying is a fact of human life, it always has been and it always will be. What we are seeing highlighted here is a) deregulation b) Ambulance Chasing c) business opportunism and d) the corruption of the notion of charity ....In a few words:- privatisation, self-centredness, individualism, narcissism - the very stuff which bullying thrives upon. Wed 24 Feb 2010 10:24:02 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=72#comment80 79. jon112uk 'Likewise #66(Statist) Please tell me when this voting for Brown as national leader or party leader occurred? If you can't get your facts straight you should not come on public blogs criticising others, are you both weak witted?'Several people have correctly pointed out that you have got this all wrong and need to look into the nature of British Parliamentary democracy rather than your own ill-informed/half-baked preconceptions. The electorate doesn't decide who the PM is, or the membership of the Cabinet or who Government Ministers are to be. That is Party business. The Labour Party decided who their leader was to be and if enough of them were not happy with the change-over, they would have had a more successful 'Leadership Challenge'.You are just arguing from ignorance, which is an irrational thing to do. It is also a rather cheap, offensive, way of try to become better educated whilst alienating those who are better informed. You have been politically corrected/enlightened, just be grateful. Wed 24 Feb 2010 10:17:21 GMT+1 Angel_in_Transit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=71#comment79 #56This I can both agree with, and recommend to others.The original on line bullying services were all run by unpaid people, initially, if my memory serves me well, as a Yahoo group, via emails and telephone services at the "users" choice. Several people gave up their time to help others with the "legal" side of Employment Tribunals (ET). There were meetings, people giving case law details, how to obtain the help of your GP in getting the case to an ET, the pitfalls within the process, and how to deal with your employer while all this is going on. It is a very difficult, onerous and stressful thing to take something to an ET.Bullying has been increasing at a horrendous pace since employers know that the "law is weak", and "bullying" can break a "normal" person down in months if not weeks. In fact you can "entrap" a "nuisance" (whistleblower) simply by pincer movement and even if the whistlebower has witnesses and support, the lives and wellbeing of all of them will be put to the "how far will you go?" and "how long will you last?" test.In governments these "tools" become even bloodier and even less constrained. After all, just "who" can a minister call on? People who are determined to go after the PM within this blog simply have not woken up to the idea that even if the PM isn't a bully, s/he is most likely to be surrounded by them. Wed 24 Feb 2010 09:51:45 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=70#comment78 75. At 11:24pm on 23 Feb 2010, Tony Geo wrote:You are being silly!...You vote for an MP and a party elects a leader as you well know....Please do not trivialise the British Constitution with such blinkered banalities.===========================Sorry, when did the labour party vote for Brown as leader? Did I miss that one?Likewise #66(Statist) Please tell me when this voting for Brown as national leader or party leader occurred? If you can't get your facts straight you should not come on public blogs criticising others, are you both weak witted?(See, we can all make childish insults. It doesn't progress the debate though. I think that is why most serious posters don't take that approach.) Wed 24 Feb 2010 08:59:58 GMT+1 Lucy S http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=70#comment77 What is hugely disappointing is that the high profile trustees are resigning. If they did truely care about bullying they wouldn't resign but instead would stand up, repremand Christine Pratt, demand an appology and resignation and then use this situation to give the work against bullying the profile it desperately needs. (e.g. finally get the antibullying law through parliment) Wed 24 Feb 2010 07:56:51 GMT+1 lkgreenwell http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=69#comment76 My firm policy in this matter is that Quean Boadicea must always pay in advance for a good rogeringThe same, of course, applies to the Prime Minister (there are no unfortunate come-backs, then) Wed 24 Feb 2010 02:05:04 GMT+1 bill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=68#comment75 The Chief Executive is not only named Pratt, she has also acted like a prize one. Irrespective of her motives for doing so, her disclosure, no matter how limited, over calls from staff at No 10 have totally gone against the rules of any responsible counselling organisation and she should resign forewith and hang her head in shame.Bill Gordon Tue 23 Feb 2010 23:46:52 GMT+1 Tony Geo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=67#comment74 57. At 10:51am on 23 Feb 2010, MaxG wrote:People voted for a labour party headed by someone called Blair. No one has ever voted for Brown - either as party leader or as PM. The only people who have voted for Brown are 22,000 people in an obscure constituency in Scotland. He rules over a country of over 60 million. Less than one person in every 2700 have voted for him. Even Hamid Karzai has more of a mandate as national leader.--------------You are being silly! You vote for an MP and a party elects a leader as you well know.Major only became PM because his party elected him and because of an obscure Cambridgeshire town voting him in as MP. Cameron if elected will be in the same position.Please do not trivialise the British Constitution with such blinkered banalities. Tue 23 Feb 2010 23:24:37 GMT+1 Tony Geo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=66#comment73 It seems that even the Daily Mail is critical of the NBH's leading officer. Normally I would expect this sort of research from the BBC. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1253047/The-truth-multiple-litigant-Mrs-Pratt--high-priestess-victimhood.html Tue 23 Feb 2010 22:48:28 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=65#comment72 72. Andrew Taylor - The entire 'Third Sector' idea needs to be examined far more critically by what is now a far too trusting/complacent public. Tue 23 Feb 2010 22:31:13 GMT+1 Andrew Taylor http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=64#comment71 The Charity/Company has been subject to complaints to the Charity Commision dating back three years. The issues and problems at the charity have been documented and a cause for concern by other anti bulling support organistions. The issue of confidendiality is central to a helpline of this nature. As allegations can cause problems for all parties and compromises any legal redress as the organisations procedures are bypassed. Ms Pratt has failed completly to appreciate this point. The patrons and trustees were given these serious allegations some time ago. Indeed the PMs PPS Ms Snedgrove Severed contacts on receipt of such info. What alarms me is that this charity has operated for so long. Tue 23 Feb 2010 20:50:31 GMT+1 Buck_Turgidson http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=63#comment70 There's another interesting blog about the NBH here:http://thebullyinghelpline.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-not-to-ask-for-independent.html Tue 23 Feb 2010 19:29:25 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=62#comment69 69. virtualsilverlady 'It's quite obvious she is just one niaive lady who thought she was doing her duty. No sign of outside interference at all.'But is it obvious? Look into her/her partner's HR sideline.How many 'charities' today are, in fact, fronts to soliict revenue for other means. How many for jollies etc? Tue 23 Feb 2010 18:02:57 GMT+1 virtualsilverlady http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=61#comment68 What I find so disturbing about this whole affair is the way that this government machine has gone into full swing to destroy this lady. It is just downright malicious.It's quite obvious she is just one niaive lady who thought she was doing her duty. No sign of outside interference at all.Once it became political the patrons had no alternative but resign.Feel sorry for those who need that service at this moment in timeIt will put the fear of god into anyone even thinking of making a complaint now. Tue 23 Feb 2010 17:02:21 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=60#comment67 When thinking about 'regulators', just think about the ratio of regulators to those needing regulating (think FSA). Stretch that ratio, and what do you get? Answer: A sinecure.Now, New labour will argue (they're good at that, so are the others mind), but that's the harsh reality. It's great liberal-democracy isn't it? But only if you are one of the favoured few who know how to abuse it at the expense of the (child-like) vulnerable. If you point out that inequality/relationship (i.e. low ability is like being child-like) you risk serious attack/bullying for being 'offensive', not because you are in fact being offensive, but because you seriously risk exposing just how venal the predators actually are and damaging their market-share! Tue 23 Feb 2010 16:32:04 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=59#comment66 Followup: if one critically looks into these conflicts of interest, te get very stinky indeed - it use dto be the case that Commission investigations were published and staed at their website. Now they disappear after a while. Try to find the one on RM/Fisher Family Trust from a few years back. The fact is that the new 2006 Act makes the notion of 'a charity' not what it once was at all, but rather a good means of doing business at the expense of the state and at the expense of a gullible, trusting, public See also: 'regulators' and 'corruption'. Tue 23 Feb 2010 15:34:32 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=59#comment65 65. jon112uk Surely you've had this explained to you? You are wrong.You should go and learn something about how British politics works. You should also try to benefit from constructive criticism, or not post at all, as persistence of error in the wake of helpful correction is just evidence of poor intelligence/bad behaviour/lack of insight. Tue 23 Feb 2010 14:52:21 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=58#comment64 57. At 10:51am on 23 Feb 2010, MaxG wrote:#49Personally I have no great love for our unelected PM, but this does sound a bit shady.Unelected PM?, the old ones are always the best, when was the last time you voted for a PM, it just happens that the leader of the party with the overall majority in Parliament becomes PM.================================================People voted for a labour party headed by someone called Blair. No one has ever voted for Brown - either as party leader or as PM. The only people who have voted for Brown are 22,000 people in an obscure constituency in Scotland. He rules over a country of over 60 million. Less than one person in every 2700 have voted for him. Even Hamid Karzai has more of a mandate as national leader. Tue 23 Feb 2010 13:53:29 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=57#comment63 62. DisgustedOfMitcham2 'there is something deeply fishy about the NBH'There's something 'deeply fishy' about the scope of The Charities Act 2006 and 'The Third Sector' altogether! It's all part of New Labour's continuation of The Conservative's long term strategy to dissolve the state in favour of anarchistic 'market forces', but few still grasp this, at least, not enough to make any difference. Lib-Dems are no alternative by the way. They're all the same - that's the thing to really grasp.BBC - your days are numbered, sadly. You can't even speak out... Tue 23 Feb 2010 13:48:24 GMT+1 FedupwithGovt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=56#comment62 62.This is just a smoke-and-mirrors distraction from the main story, namely that Gordon Brown is a bully.================================I think perhaps the smoke and mirrors is coming from the blue corner in this little spat. If I were an advisor to the Tory hierarchy I would be telling them to take a large step back from this as I can see them ending up with a large amount of egg on their faces. Tue 23 Feb 2010 13:45:29 GMT+1 DisgustedOfMitcham2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=55#comment61 Well, it may well be true that there is something deeply fishy about the NBH (I'd love to know how they run their operation on just £852 per year), but so what? This is just a smoke-and-mirrors distraction from the main story, namely that Gordon Brown is a bully.I don't think anyone seriously doubts that, and we shouldn't be distracted from it just because one of the many people who is saying so seems a little iffy. Tue 23 Feb 2010 13:10:47 GMT+1 Astounded http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=54#comment60 Helplines are used by those people who do not know what to do next. Bullying in school, home, workplace is destructive, it destroys a victims dignity. Why breach a confidence to make a point "if someone" does not listen to you Ms Pratt. Are you not using bullying tactics?I would have NO confidence whatsoever in ever using a help line given the risk of breaching confidentiality of those who turn to your organistion for support. I have been bullied in the work place, I know how desperate people feel. Finally this all looks rather sleezy to me, ill timed, half cocked gun, ill thought out ... wandering into a political quagmire. In totally BAD taste. I am asking the question, did you do this because of the allegations of such an influencial office. Did politics influence your judgement, or pure stupidity? Tue 23 Feb 2010 12:14:19 GMT+1 uksmart http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=53#comment59 I knew someone very close who contacted the national antibullying association and didn't get any help or assistance. she found no attention on the other side of the line, was interrupted, she was told that she would have received a standard email containing info; the email was never sent. it just seems to be everything but an association that cares, frankly. I am appalled. how can we give credit to this? Tue 23 Feb 2010 11:48:02 GMT+1 Richard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=52#comment58 #53 - perhaps "risk sacrificing yourself" would have been a better way of putting it. But taking the risk is why we respect, and protect, whistleblowers, in contrast to journalists or other people who perform a valuable but fundamentally safer role. Ms Pratt does not deserve that respect.Interesting you mention David Kelly. I wasn't going to go there, but... In that case, he was accidentally outed by a journalist hurrying to get a scoop and revealing too much about his story, starting a chain of events with a tragic ending. I don't want to dig over what happened there. But whatever your interpretation of the facts, you'd have thought that Ms Pratt would have seen the danger of what she was doing - if she'd thought about it for a second or two.If this person is real, the details she's given really have effectively identified them. Refusing to name a name won't help, any more than refusing to name David Kelly did.As for your suggestion that they might be "welcome" someone publicizing your story... if they'd wanted to go public, they could have done, and they'd surely know that it would be all over the papers. They must have decided not to. We can't know the reasons, though we can guess at them, and we can surely agree that it's their choice to make.Of course there's another explanation, which is that Ms Pratt made it all up to get publicity... I'd discounted that originally (why would she do that?), but now that the details of her business interests have come out I'm not so sure. By the way - I'm a Liberal, so definitely not on No 10's "side". Tue 23 Feb 2010 11:06:41 GMT+1 FedupwithGovt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=51#comment57 First point. Mrs Pratt is either very naive or is indeed a prat to think she would not get flak for revealing confidential information. What she has done is indefensible. What a very silly woman. Second point. I would imagine that working in the No 10 office is very stressful. We are taking about being in the very centre of Government. If people who work there don't realise this then they shouldn't be there. Having one's boss rant and rave when things go wrong is natural, especially one so driven. It is hardly bullying. I work in advertising, quite frequently people vent their spleens, sometimes quite spectacularly. There is a huge difference between an outburst and a sustained vindictive bullying campaign which is directed at a particular individual. This to me is a very poor attempt at a Tory smear campaign and should be viewed as such. If people can't stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen. Tue 23 Feb 2010 10:55:54 GMT+1 MaxG http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=50#comment56 #49Personally I have no great love for our unelected PM, but this does sound a bit shady.Unelected PM?, the old ones are always the best, when was the last time you voted for a PM, it just happens that the leader of the party with the overall majority in Parliament becomes PM. Tue 23 Feb 2010 10:51:48 GMT+1 exposenow http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=49#comment55 Unlike in some more advanced democracies, the UK has no legal definition of 'bullying'. This has created a vacuum into which flows all sorts of uncertainty. Employment tribunals will NOT deal with workplace bullying on its own, but will only address it if it is 'bolted on' to something which has legal status such as discrimination, harassment, unfair dismissal.Bullying is also more often better described (AND WAS IN THE PAST) as victimisation. The target of bullying or favouritism, etc. raises their concern and the machine of victimisation fires up and comes after them. This was my experience. Here I am now, unemployed with a young family. Legal certainty is what's needed and until we have this, people like Christine Pratt will continue to use the system to line their own pockets. She is just one example and I fervently hope that the rest of them will be flushed out from under their stones. Tue 23 Feb 2010 10:32:40 GMT+1 exposenow http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=49#comment54 Everybody - including you Mark - now need to follow this link to an excellent blog. Here's the detailed lowdown on what Christine Pratt and her husband were involved in. Posts commence in November 2009:http://thebullyinghelpline.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2009-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&updated-max=2010-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&max-results=11I was aware of Christine Pratt's disgraceful behaviour about a year ago when I was experiencing workplace bullying myself. I have since lost my job because I fought long and hard against it. Despite following the my employer's internal policies and procedures - which meant absolutely nothing. The hostile reaction was offensive in the extreme. Tue 23 Feb 2010 10:27:03 GMT+1 LippyLippo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=48#comment53 Why would it surprise anybody that a politician (of whatever party) resorts to bullying to get his or her own way? Mr Brown didn't get elected as an MP and rise up through the ranks to Chancellor by being nice to people. (Although maybe he got to PM by being nice to Tony Blair!) Many CEOs and senior managers in public and private sector positions get to that position by ensuring that they get the job done, irrespective of whose life is made unbearable in the process. And some people, managers or not, just get their jollies from intimidating others. The media, including the BBC, love bullies. Shows like X-Factor, The Apprentice, and thise TV cookery shows, are little more than forums to watch poor souls being taunted, cowed and ground into the mud by cocky bullies who have power over their victims and use this power as sadistically as possible. We live in a culture of 'me first' and 'do whatever you can to get ahead', and this is fertile ground for bullies. Bullying in the workplace has been ignored for far too long, and whilst I don't condone the charity's breach of confidence, I do welcome the publicity that may result from it. Tue 23 Feb 2010 10:17:21 GMT+1 Will P http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=47#comment52 #30 wrote - "Were I one of the people who had (allegedly) contacted the NBH, I would have been very distressed to find that this information was used in the way Ms Pratt has done so. The expectations of the users of the service should be paramount."Hmm, would you? More distressed than being the victim of bullying? If you'd felt that you had been victimised to the extent that you needed to call a bullying helpline, and then your boss was able to get his mate to go in front of the media to deny the allegations and events took place, I think you might actually welcome someone standing up and backing your side of the story.#37 wrote - "Who are those being bullied going to turn to now, if they cant even trust the guys meant to be their side?"This is a good point. The civil service ought to be on their side and should thoroughly investigate any allegations of wrong-doing, as the employer. Maybe there wouldn't be a story at all if this had been handled effectively internally. Indeed, someone, somewhere clearly probably did breach confidence because otherwise we'd never have had the story in the Observer in the first place. #45 - "The essence of being a whistleblower is that you're sacrificing yourself to expose an injustice."Whistleblowers sacrifice themselves? Only when others turn on them and "shoot the messenger" are they sacrificed, and then, only metaphorically speaking. Or at least I hope so!But then again, I'm reminded of Dr David Kelly. If ever there was a story about breaching confidence at No10, that's it. And with tragic, tragic consequences. What ever happened to those who breached his confidence to the extent that he took his own life?... Tue 23 Feb 2010 09:32:36 GMT+1 the underlying trend http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=46#comment51 I wonder if Mr Cameron has anything to say with regards to bullying within his own local area. The constituency of Witney is within the county of Oxfordshire which has one of the highest rates off child bullying in the country (ranked 139 out of 149 local authorities). The survey, published in early 2009, shows that 54.4% of children had experienced bullying - perhaps such such high figures would be worthy of an inquiry?The statistics were based on data freely downloaded from the data.gov website and were collected by the Department for Children, Schools and Welfare, of which I have no affiliation. Tue 23 Feb 2010 09:25:24 GMT+1 John1948 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=45#comment50 Such a glib word - bullying.Too many people trivialise a very nasty and deplorable act.A lot of it is about context. Someone who goes on a TV show and gets insulted or even humiliated knowing that that is part of the format of the show is not being bullied. (Whether this should be classed as entertainment is another matter). Someone who goes into the pressured world of politics (in whatever capacity) with its big egos and big personalities can expect some pretty rough treatment. I'm not sure which would be worse, being handbagged or being yelled at. Is closely monitoring an underperforming worker to the point where they decide to leave bullying or good management (it could be either)? Shouting at someone does not always indicate bullying. Bullying can be done very quietly too. It is a very complex thing.Bullying is a lot more than just not liking the way that others treat you. One is callled 'life' the other is a lot more serious. Tue 23 Feb 2010 08:01:11 GMT+1 Angel_in_Transit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=44#comment49 #42 "If I was a company employer I would want to know if anyone in my organisation was bullying other members of my staff."Logical but naive. What if the "bully" is the company employer? What if the company has "institutional" bullying (as does the civil service and many public services and commercial organisations)? The one thing you learn very quickly when you deal with bullying everyday of the week is how commonplace it is, and how little is done to protect victims.Just like all of us in life, weaknesses are exploited, be they in personality, in law, in financial regulation, in rules, in physical or mental strength. For many bullies they know precisely what they can get away with and precisely how they can use the law to protect them.As for company "bosses" they favour people who get things done quickly and without a mess. They seldom want to know the details. And, if there is a mess, it is almost always a "dead body" of someone who was bullied mercilessly who "pleaded" but was "unheard".Did Mr Brown bully anyone? Would we ever, realistically speaking, know? Tue 23 Feb 2010 07:58:58 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=43#comment48 Links to a profit making business. Links to the tory party. Breaches of confidentiality. Personally I have no great love for our unelected PM, but this does sound a bit shady. Tue 23 Feb 2010 07:55:06 GMT+1 Jim http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=42#comment47 A pity you didn't know this when you gave her all that airtime on Sunday and Nick Robinson seemed to confirm all that she said. I wonder if other people agree with my blog comments? http://bit.ly/aP3zf3 Tue 23 Feb 2010 07:48:14 GMT+1 Megan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=41#comment46 In your last blog post, you asked about 'a duty to keep informed' but seemed more interested in personalia (Can you recognise a picture of John Bercow?) as a measure of being informed than an actual interest in the great game of politics. And so it continues.Is it any wonder that a lot of people lose interest in politics when it is swamped with petty bickering rather than a mature discussion of the issues we hire politicians to deal with? Tue 23 Feb 2010 07:39:42 GMT+1 Angel_in_Transit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=40#comment45 I heard Ms Pratt speak yesterday and she very clearly stated that if her charity "bosses" ask her to resign she will resign. On the subject of "bullying" at No 10 how else would this get into the open? First there may be an alleged "victim" and alleged "offence(s)". There may have been a "complaint"; "others" may have been involved including "trade union representatives" or "internal mediators". There may have been "emails", "hard copy", "overheard telephone calls". There may have been "strenuous denials", "sweeteners", attempts to "downplay", "mediate", "sweep it under the carpet".How easy has it been for Mr Media to obtain stories from within No10 in the past? Bullying goes on everywhere, to a greater or lesser extent, and has become prevalent in schools, universities, colleges, offices, shops, and railway premises. It happens in the BBC. How many times does it get into the "open", where the victim feels able to talk freely and be protected at the same time?It is a very serious matter, with or without NBH, and does not need an angry person shouting at a subordinate to illustrate its potential damage to human beings. Bullying is used and abused. People should stand up to it, but they mainly cannot. Tue 23 Feb 2010 07:19:43 GMT+1 Richard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=40#comment44 #25, Will P - what courage has this woman shown? And let's stop calling her a "whistleblower". The essence of being a whistleblower is that you're sacrificing yourself to expose an injustice. What she's done is to sacrifice someone else - probably accidentally, but certainly recklessly.Put yourself in the position of one of the employees who (if Ms Pratt is to be believed) called the helpline. You trusted them, and they've just given away the fact that you called. They didn't reveal your name, but they've given away that they emailed you; your bosses can certainly check those records. They've even given away that you took time of sick through stress, which might well identify you completely.This woman might just have ruined your career. And now, you're hearing that the whole helpline might be a front, drumming up business for a company owned by her partner. Imagine how that betrayal feels.And now, you find someone in a forum pontificating over how it was all in the public interest...There are victims here. Ms Pratt isn't one of them. Tue 23 Feb 2010 00:49:40 GMT+1 more duck houses http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=39#comment43 No smoke without fire? http://www.oldtownandlawnintouch.com/news/641/Enough said! Tue 23 Feb 2010 00:35:22 GMT+1 androstempest http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=38#comment42 #2. I think you are missing the point of what exactly "confidentiality" means, as is Ms Pratt IMO. If someone is in the position that they feel the need to talk to an outsider about a personal issue in confidence, the last thing they want is for details of that conversation, either anonymously or otherwise, being broadcast on national television. But putting that aside. Any employer worth their salt, even one who IS a bully, knows which employees are unhappy in their jobs. So if you discover an employee has gone to the Bullying Helpline, you are going to be able to guess which employee that was.They should not have disclosed this information to the press, the conservatives or anyone else. As confidential information their only duty was to the person claiming to be bullied, and that duty was to keep the fact they contacted them a secret and to give them advice on how to deal with the situation. Whether they named the individual or not, but confirming even ONE person had contacted them, they have let down anyone from that organisation who has asked for their help. This is disgraceful. Would we be defending the actions of a representative of The Terrance Higgins Trust who identified a ward an HIV positive patient was on but didn't name them, so anyone on that ward could guess who it was. It is the same level of indiscretion. This woman should resign. Tue 23 Feb 2010 00:06:38 GMT+1 johndark http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=37#comment41 I believe that Christine Pratt has acted in the most unprofessional and imprudent way. If I was a company employer I would want to know if anyone in my organisation was bullying other members of my staff. This is a political move, In the interests of the people she said she represented she should have anonomously sent in her concern to the PM'S office and they could have dealt with it and a respomsible job done instead she has made a lot of noise and in politics that noise goes further. Actually she said it was Peter Mandelson's comments which had sparked her decision to speak out. perhaps she doesn't like him, or he is the government official that was doing the bullying! perhaps we'll never know, and do we really want to? really? Mon 22 Feb 2010 23:52:23 GMT+1 Andrew Morton http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=36#comment40 #2 Ian NewtonWrong on pretty much every point, I'm afraid. Forgive me if I take this in parts"Come on, you sound rather as if you think Christine Pratt is the villain of this piece! The allegations that she has breached any confidentiality are pretty thin - no one knows who the alleged complainants were, and no one is any the wiser than they were once Andrew Rawnsley's account was published."This really is hugely naive. The staff working in Number 10 aren't enormous in number and they work closely together. My guess is that everyone knows who Mrs Pratt was referring to. And if they don't they will decide who they were anyway. I'm not sure that's any better"Her intervention just corroborates what Rawnsley said. if there is a story here it is Brown's behaviour, not a naive intervention by Ms Pratt."Except that Mrs Pratt has been back-pedalling like fury all day to make it clear that she WASN'T referring to Gordon Brown's behaviour. Her intervention corroborates nothing. Mon 22 Feb 2010 23:51:14 GMT+1 stwl http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=35#comment39 I'm willing to believe that Christine Pratt might be a Tory stooge - but Andrew Rawnsley? A Tony stooge, maybe. Mon 22 Feb 2010 23:36:11 GMT+1 SoUnfair http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=34#comment38 Mark you seem concerned that the charity is "206 days overdue in submitting its accounts". The European Court of Auditors has refused to sign off the EU accounts for the last 15 years . Mon 22 Feb 2010 23:33:23 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=33#comment37 This post has been Removed Mon 22 Feb 2010 23:23:34 GMT+1 brome21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=32#comment36 Wanted to convey my concern over the recent conduct of the executive of the National Bullying Helpline Chritine Pratt.As i'm sure you're aware with the recent news coverage, it was unacceptable that she would undermine the confidence which people in need put in her and the organisation she represents.I dread to think how those who came to her for help, felt going to work this morning because of her betrayal.Ironically she seems to have become the bully herself.And I think a investigation into whether this breach of trust contravenes rules set out by the charity commission would be helpful.There is also rumours whether their was political motives for her outrageous conduct.Who are those being bullied going to turn to now, if they cant even trust the guys meant to be their side?Very worrying and damaging for a very worthwhile cause.. i hope those who are subjected to mistreatment in the work place will not worry from this womans stupidity about coming forward in future. Mon 22 Feb 2010 23:15:41 GMT+1 Pleiades http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=31#comment35 I can understand why those Patrons have resigned from this organisationwhether or not there is any truth in any of the allegations. I think though we should spare a thought for those workers in Number 10 who tonight will be wondering what's coming next. For what it's worth,it's not the intent of someone's behaviour that's deemed harassment or bullying, but the effect. Mon 22 Feb 2010 22:15:56 GMT+1 JoeBloggs_snr http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=30#comment34 Christine Pratt - A VERY simple minded, foolish & arrogant woman. If you make accusations you must be prepared to prove them - thats something she cant do due to confidentiality constraints. SO we are supposed to just take her word for it, huh? That she funnels clients to her fee paying business even if it has been approved by the law society is sordid in the extreme. That business model is quite old - It reminds me of the practice of RC priests of old, the times of Luther, selling indulgences to get into heaven? I am surprised the Charity Commission couldnt see through that one! Mon 22 Feb 2010 21:58:09 GMT+1 Francesca Jones http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=29#comment33 This whole operation has various factors to it. Firstly I do not see how confidentiality has been breached when no-one has been named. After all from all the stories about Gordon Brown that have come out over the years the list is probably quite long.This is a classic Labour smear where all sorts of allegations about Mrs. Pratt come out. Now these may or may not be true but the real issue is the fact that it looks more and more likely that our Prime Minister is a bully.This also came out of the Labour camp in that the original allegations were from a journalist at the observer... So come on Mark get back to the real story please. Mon 22 Feb 2010 21:54:48 GMT+1 John Ellis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=29#comment32 haha opps it would be nice to see statistics for employment grievances within government and how many are up held.Anne has done a bunk from NBH ship sunk.Despite how this was broken and by whom I find it surprising that its seen to be alright to be an employee that needs 'firm guidance' to achieve results and not an employee who is being bullied to get results.I have always found bullied people do things in a hurry and generally get things wrong in their rush to please.I also wonder how this reflects on the younger generations while they will only notice headlines on the news and in local rags they will stick in their minds and will diminish the anti bullying message schools try so hard to put across. Mon 22 Feb 2010 21:50:42 GMT+1 Statist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=28#comment31 Has everyone forgotten the Drapergate/McBride bullying already? Or is 'this something completely different'? Mon 22 Feb 2010 21:39:42 GMT+1 Zakmann http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=27#comment30 This post has been Removed Mon 22 Feb 2010 21:20:23 GMT+1 Claudio58 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=26#comment29 Will P wrote:"Reviewing the law and considering the ethics of confidentiality, it is clear to me that she has not broken any confidentiality in informing the BBC that the NBH had been contacted by individuals in Brown's office."Were I one of the people who had (allegedly) contacted the NBH, I would have been very distressed to find that this information was used in the way Ms Pratt has done so. The expectations of the users of the service should be paramount.Frankly, the thing that really concerns me is the way a small organisation (as NBH appears to be) managed to get such a high profile in such a sensitive area, and to have complex arrangements (the ability to refer clients to themselves, for example).Calling something like that 'National' does seem a bit of hubris, and Ms Pratt's performance on 'Today' today was, I have to say, less than inspiring.Does if have the makings of a Michael Dobbs book? You might think that; I couldn't possibly comment. Mon 22 Feb 2010 21:10:34 GMT+1 JonnyatBangorCoDown http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=25#comment28 Disgraceful - there can never be any justification for disclosure of any information of any kind by a helpline or charity which claims that it's service is confidential - it is a complete betrayal of trust of those who are vulnerable. Mon 22 Feb 2010 21:07:27 GMT+1 FrankFisher http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=24#comment27 Let's see if I've got this right? Anything that suggests Ms Pratt is a tory stooge, runs a corrupt charity and has breached confidence is okay, any comment that departs from this line is deleted?Good, okay, just so long as we're clear.All Hail the Dear Leader, etc etc. Mon 22 Feb 2010 21:03:44 GMT+1 RAnnie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=23#comment26 Will P:She had no right to do anything at all. All she has done is lend herself open to prosecution for slander.This issue, if it exists at all, is one to be dealt with internally. Three alleged No.10 employees, allegedly feeling "uncomfortable" with Mr Brown's attitude, announced two months before an election, after years in power, is HIGHLY suspect, and does not fall into "whistleblower" territory at all. Mon 22 Feb 2010 21:01:19 GMT+1 steve jacobs http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=22#comment25 Bullying at work doesn't exist "apparently"........... my wife raised this as an issue with her company a few weeks ago, the problem was with her boss (the MD of the UK division)...... the companies answer was to dismiss her today for "totally unconnected reasons" she is now out of work !!! Mon 22 Feb 2010 21:00:23 GMT+1 Will P http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=21#comment24 I want to stand up for Mrs Pratt for having the courage to step forwards and expose the mis-information coming out of No 10. Reviewing the law and considering the ethics of confidentiality, it is clear to me that she has not broken any confidentiality in informing the BBC that the NBH had been contacted by individuals in Brown's office.Firstly, the story of bullying in No10 was already in the public domain. Mrs Pratt clearly wanted the public to be clear that there was some substance in the accusations of bullying in No10. She did not create the story, it was already being discussed throughout the media. All she has done has added some factual elements to it. I would say this is enough to clear Mrs Pratt of the accusations of breaching confidentiality. But I'll go further...Secondly, and I quote from good ol' wikipedia here "the public interest in the preservation of a confidence might be outweighed by a greater public interest favouring disclosure." Given that the subject of the story is accusations of bullying by our Prime Minister, its clearly in our interest to have the facts to hand. No10 and the cabinet office deny any wrongdoing by Brown, yet Mrs Pratt had knowledge that members of Brown's staff had contacted the NBH. Mrs Pratt made it clear that no-one had directly accused Brown of bullying. Those persons who made the call to the bullying helpline weren't finding out about the football results, so I think we can assume that they had concerns that someone (not necessarily Brown) was potentially bullying them. Mrs Pratt has not disclosed the full nature of the calls to the NBH. She merely stated that the NBH had been contacted. Balancing the weight of public interest againgst this potential breach of confidentiality, in my mind she's done the minimum she could do without breaching confidentiality. We do not know the individuals involved (except Brown) and we don't know what was discussed. That hardly seems damaging or upsetting to the individuals involved. No less than the feeling of being bullied, anyhow. I think we need to think long and hard about how we protect whistleblowers, and we should applaud someone standing up for those of us with smaller voices than Mandleson or Brown, for example. Whether or not Brown is a bully is a matter for others to judge. If he has done nothing wrong, he should hide nothing and fully accept any investigations. Indeed, he should be encouraging them. We'll see whether or not he does... Mon 22 Feb 2010 20:41:36 GMT+1 RAnnie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=20#comment23 This post has been Removed Mon 22 Feb 2010 20:40:48 GMT+1 PaulHammond http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=20#comment22 I'm pleased to hear that Ann Widdecombe has now also resigned as patron of this organisation. Whatever the rights and wrongs about the way Gordon Brown behaves in the workplace, publicising particular people that have called your helpline is totally beyond the pale. Trying to use an important issue like workplace bullying to score party political points before an election is a terrible way for a charity that promises confedentiality to behave. Indeed, I've just come to this site fresh from leaving a message at Ms Widdecombe's website applauding her for her integrity in not allowing party politics to be more important than principle on this issue. I'm a Labour voter usually, though this time around I haven't yet decided whether I can continue to support Gordon Brown's party - but party politics isn't a game a confidential charity ought to be getting involved in. Workplace bullying is an issue that should be beyond such attempts to point-score in an election year. Well done Ann Widdecombe, and all the other patrons who have resigned Mon 22 Feb 2010 20:40:28 GMT+1 more duck houses http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=19#comment21 Now that what I call informative reporting!Ms Pratt seems to have been just plain stupid to go public or her political bias got the better of her.Either way it seems that she didn't take the implications of her actions very seriously IF the unsubstantiated alleged complaints against number 10 are true. She has seriously compromised all the work done by the much larger anti-bullying organisations.A lot of checking needs to be done when she returns to the office according to this interview she made:- http://www.channel4.com/news/Proof is actually needed that these allegations were made from Number 10 and not mischief making calls claiming to be from Number 10. She said to received complaints from the deputy prime ministers office during the last 18 months, when there has been no deputy prime ministers office since 2007! Oh for image of John Prescott's 'clunking fist' to give more weight to a story! As David 'dachshund' Cameron barks for "an enquiry" ....I smell the scent of another decimal point in the wrong place! Mon 22 Feb 2010 20:40:03 GMT+1 fly in the ointment http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=18#comment20 Here's a thought: if someone alleges bullying, are they automatically to be believed? There is a tendency to believe the worst of our politicians, of whatever party, but even so, if there have been allegations of bullying at no. 10, are they automatically to be believed, and if so, why? Mon 22 Feb 2010 20:36:49 GMT+1 FrankFisher http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=17#comment19 My word, but show trials have moved on since Stalin's day eh? It's all so much faster now. And enemy of the state is declared, the Glorious People's Broadcaster deploys full resources to destroy her, acclaimed by an army of the People's Glorious Astroturfers. All priase the Dear Leader! Forward in Fairness to Five More Wasted Years!What a wretched place the UK has become. I only wish I'd left this poisonous hellhole when I could. Mon 22 Feb 2010 20:31:28 GMT+1 john2205 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=16#comment18 Fascinating stuff. I must be really stupid or not listening or something.As I understand it has been agreed by the government that any complaint about bullying regardless of source should be responded to by a pledge to investigate. GB et al decided that their response to the allegations in the book would be a total and absolute denial - why do I feel history repeating itself?Sometime before any allegations were made in the book Pratt received complaints from No 10 about bullying - no one knows if it is GB or some Civil Servant or who. It is hardly surprised that with no investigations forthcoming, you might, if you had information about bullying let it be known without revealing details and disclosing confidences that you were aware of a potential problem and therefore force an undertaking of a proper investigation and the following of agreed procedure.All we have had today is so much allegations about Pratt, her husband, and loads and loads of other stuff when the issue remains -- was there bullying at No 10? I now doubt we will we ever now get to know. Well done all involved yet again a brilliant fudging of issues Mon 22 Feb 2010 20:29:43 GMT+1 balancedthought http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=15#comment17 This post has been Removed Mon 22 Feb 2010 20:09:08 GMT+1 OliverG1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=14#comment16 The NBH should not be revealing anything about the people who call for help - this is supposed to be confidential. It would certainly make me think twice about contacting them if they might use what I say to support the political interests of senior members of this charity. Mon 22 Feb 2010 19:57:56 GMT+1 watriler http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=13#comment15 If the focus is now on the NBH and its future and not the stability of our prime minister the GB spin doctors have succeeded. It was not that long ago that Mandy was a fully paid up member of the malsayers and don't forget the questions raised about Brown's mental state before he was crowned as PM by the Blairites. It seems if this dark brooding rumbling emotional volcano can identify his survival interests. Mon 22 Feb 2010 19:35:01 GMT+1 Moonwolf http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=12#comment14 The fact she never named names is irrelevant - simply revealing that the helpline received calls and from where is enough for anyone inside Number 10 to investigate on their own.Anyone who's suspected of having a grudge, may have said something informally, they'll all become suspect, and there *will* be an internal inquisition because Number 10 will want to know just what was said to "outsiders".Mrs Pratt has effectively started a witch-hunt, and that's where she violated the confidentiality the helpline promised. The way it's being spun really doesn't detract from that simple betrayal of a fundamental part of any helpline. Mon 22 Feb 2010 19:28:42 GMT+1 NotoBene http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=11#comment13 Perhaps some of these so called "helplines" should be vetted and regulated as they seem open to abuse. The Prime Minister could seek damages because of Ms. Pratt's allegations and misuse of confidential information and data for her own publicity seeking ends.This is all getting a bit sleazy. Mon 22 Feb 2010 19:26:04 GMT+1 Roy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=10#comment12 2) Ian NewtonActually, Christine Pratt is the villain of this particular piece. The allegations of 'bullying' at number 10 are part of another piece, and one which should be scrutinised if and when any of the rumoured 'victims' are prepared to make a formal complaint. With regard to this story, Pratt clearly appears to have acted improperly and unprofessionally, and there are questions that need to be answered. Mon 22 Feb 2010 19:20:45 GMT+1 Fast Neutron http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=10#comment11 Mr Cameron shouldn't worry.Bullies always get their comeuppance.The meek will eventually stand up and be counted when pushed too far by a thoughtless, overbearing bully...........Ask Geoffrey Howe.The Conservative party can't laud one person as the 'greatest prime minister in modern times' (sic!!!!!!) and then simultaneously another person for having similar personality traits. The question is obviously begged: do all senior Politicians have to be bullies to get to high office?p.s. I'm not a labour apologist, I think this is just another example of how both the major parties are truly and childishly pathetic. Mon 22 Feb 2010 19:11:58 GMT+1 balancedthought http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/02/bullying_helpline_under_scruti.html?page=9#comment10 Hi Mark,At last some facts behind this story. I had blogged these exact facts on Nick's second blog on the subject and got moderated for defamation. There is a real concern that this was a politically motivated intervention. I have a lot of experience in the Charitable field and can tell you the governance arrangements of her organisation are far from normal. The relationship between her husband / his position as a trustee and his business is not best practice. There have been calls on her to resign but it is highly questionable whether there is a paid role for her to resign from.Finally as a charity chief exec her number one responsibility is to ensure her organisation complies with charity commission regulations and company law. The fact that she has not reported indicates she is either way out of line or they are a very small organisation - turning over less than 10K. Mon 22 Feb 2010 19:11:53 GMT+1