Bullying Helpline now slammed by others orgs


5:02 pm - February 22nd 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Charity Commission has today confirmed that it will investigate into claims that the National Bullying Helpline were breaching charity rules.

This comes on top of statements by more organisations condemning it for its “breach of confidentiality”.

Third Sector magazine reports that the Charity Commission it had received “a dozen-or-so complaints” and would look into the matter.

Rekha Wadhwani, chief executive of The Helplines Association, said the NBH was not an association member and she was very disappointed by the breach of confidentiality.

“We are all about giving trust to callers,” she said. “It takes a lot of effort to pick up the phone, and you can only do it if you are sure it won’t be all over the TV and radio.

“This is a breach of confidence on a big scale. Within the organisation people will be going round thinking, was it you, or you or you?”

Bullying UK have now said they would be writing to the Charity Commission to complain and called for Mrs Pratt to consider her position.

One patron of the National Bullying Helpline, Cary Cooper, resigned in protest this morning.

Within the last half-hour, another patron – Mary O’Connor – has also resigned.

The Conservative Councillor told the FT:

“I can’t condone what has been said,” she said. “It takes people a long time to get the courage to come forward about this sort of thing, and then you get something like this which could throw them off course again. How many people this evening will say, ‘if I complain (to a helpline) someone will tell somebody?’ It will make people cautious.”

UPDATE

It’s now been reported, via Twitter, that Sarah Cawood has now resigned as a patron of the charity.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


It’s worth also referencing:

The disclaimer on this page (website of a now defunct anti-bullying charity)
http://www.andreaadamstrust.org

A blog from last year, which alleged various problems with the NBH
http://thebullyinghelpline.blogspot.com/

Mark Reckons has blogged about it
http://markreckons.blogspot.com/2010/02/bullygate-someone-on-your-side-did-it.html
as have I
http://mtpt.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/bully-for-brown-or-how-to-avoid-political-pratt-falls

Bit a mess, really.

The resignations are a procedural issue and have nothing to do with the substantive question, which is: “is Gordon Brown a psychologically flawed bully who is temperamentally unfit to govern?”

Nice try though.

@He’s Spartacus: the two stories have become quite separate now.

The NBH’s chief exec has a lot of explaining to do over why she has leaked confidential information to the press. There are also wider allegations about the structure of the NBH that are still open.

The allegations against Gordon Brown’s character remain unaddressed. The NBH affair has shone very little light into this; Pratt has made it very clear that she is making no allegation against Brown.

Forgive me for thinking that the NBH issue is being used as a smokescreen for Rawnsley’s revelations.

How could I have been so wrong?

he resignations are a procedural issue and…

My god – you sad Tory trolls really take the piss don’t you? That was an incredible breach by the org and for that reason people are condemning it and running away from it.

If you want to stare fondly at posters of Brown as Hitler, why not scurry off to Dale’s blog?

That was an incredible breach by the org and for that reason people are condemning it and running away from it.

I probably agree with Sunny on this – it was a pretty bad mistake by Ms Pratt to go so far as she did towards breaching confidentiality like that (although, of course, there can only have been a breach of confidentiality if these calls really were made from no 10. Pratt is either lying about the calls, or breaching confidentiality – it can’t be both).

However, the professional ethics of a charity of which no-one had heard are really much less of a story than the character of the Prime Minister. Doubly so given that the primary source for these stories is not Pratt, but Rawnsley – who seems, according to his twitter feeds, very very confident in his sources. Labour ought to be careful not to issue too many vehement denials – as whoever that lipstick pig MP found out, lying to get yourself out of trouble is very rarely a good idea.

Come to think of it, he must be delighted. Spotlight well and truly turned off. Ill winds and all that.

Personally, Sunny, as a believer in Godwin’s Law I didn’t find the image on Iain’s blog either funny or effective.

Do we live under the most authoritarian, controlling government in three-and-a-half centuries? Yes. Does reductio ad Hitlerium ever achieve the desired effect? Seldom.

Thanks, by the way. Being called a Tory troll by The Guardian’s blogger of the year may well prove to be the highlight of my year.

HTML fail.

Add to that comment FAIL as well and you’re on a roll here.

Unworthy self-link next up?

I’m devastated, Daniel. Crushed.

Care to expand?

“However, the professional ethics of a charity of which no-one had heard are really much less of a story than the character of the Prime Minister.”

I’d agree provided that there are no CCHQ fingerprints on this one.

As for the PM it would be idle to pretend that there is not at least a germ of truth and that his behaviour has not been boorish and unprofessional at times. I don’t care if he shouts at cabinet ministers but I expect someone in his position to treat junior staff with courtesy and respect. The stories themselves have, as is inevitable with such things, have almost certainly been embellished in the retelling even before being recast in Rawnsley’s rather sententious prose.

12. J Alfred Prufrock

@6

Do we live under the most authoritarian, controlling government in three-and-a-half centuries? Yes.

Either a brilliant parody of a raving Rightist (cf. The Daily Mail, Richard Littlejohn et al) or you actually are nuts. Can’t have it both ways, alas.

😉

Expand?

Nope.

I’ll leave you to work your magic troll.

@11

20% of the world’s surveillance cameras are in Britain.

Officials can enter your property without a warrant to check on your fridge, your plant pots, the height of your hedge or whether you are hypnotising people.

One new crime per day since 1997.

Habeas Corpus.

Trial by Jury.

Read Henry Porter (hardly my definition of a rightist and probably not yours) or Lord Bingham’s new Book, The Rule of Law, and then take a long, hard look at your last comment.

Do we live under the most authoritarian, controlling government in three-and-a-half centuries? Yes

Thanks, that says it all.

Looks like Ms Pratt now has some skeletons in her closet too:
http://is.gd/8WzPB

@12.

Nope.

Thought not.

I’ll leave you to work your magic troll.

I do not have, nor have I ever had, a magic troll. Neither would I have the bog’s notion how to work one.

You’re doing a fine job troll of digging yourself in some mighty big cliched holes, which is why you were presumed to be a satire.

Alas you’re not, so file under cjcjcjcj, Coxall and LFAT amongst others.

Thanks, that says it all.

I thought so too.

Off to flog the servants. Thanks, everyone, for not losing your tempers.

Sure you’ll be back…

20. J Alfred Prufrock

@13

Whilst it’s not my policy to debate with trolls as obvious as yourself, I must protest that our current gov is the “most authoritarian in three and half centuries”. You are quite simply bonkers, sir. No-one is “enter[ing] [my] property without a warrant to check on [my] fridge, [my] plant pots”. I’m certainly no fan of Brown and loathe the surveillance society as much as the next paranoid Joe down the pub, but do you actually reckon Cameron is going to dismantle the state apparatus and roll back all of this new scary laws that you appear to see popping up all over the place? I doubt it very much.

Hells bells, the Tory right is in worse shape than I thought. I guess this is why you folks have yet to capitalise on a tired, divisive, directionless Labour Party!

Now go back to your right-wing cave Mr Troll, you’re making yourself look silly 😀

I’ll be away for a few hours, Daniel, so you have plenty of time to address, point by point, the inaccuracies in my comments about authoritarianism.

Alfred Prufrock: “Whilst it’s not my policy to debate with trolls as obvious as yourself”

I need that policy oh and He’s Troll, your inaccuracies already been pointed out and you do know, there is no reliable data on CCTV don’t you?

Just what Lib Con needs, another one of these trolls, just to disagree.

but do you actually reckon Cameron is going to dismantle the state apparatus and roll back all of this new scary laws that you appear to see popping up all over the place?

Sadly not. However my first priority has to be the removal of the government that tuned the apparatus up to such a pitch in the first place.

I’ll continue this later.

Just to clarify, you close HTML by utilising one of these /

Awesome.

re entry powers,

Summary:

Under English law, the citizen’s home has traditionally been regarded as a privileged space. The courts have insisted that servants of the state cannot enter a private home without the occupier’s permission unless a specific law authorises them to do so.
Since the middle of the 20th century, the number of such legal provisions – powers of entry – has grown enormously, mirroring the expansion of the role of the state. There are now [as of August 2007] 266 powers allowing officials to enter a private home as of right.

Re dismantling the state apparatus, the Tories and LibDems have committed to do so at least in part – Labour has not. So, all else being equal, you’d probably vote Tory or LibDem if you wanted a chance of dismantling the state apparatus – else you’d be stuck with the party that has consistently eroded liberty since 1997 (Labour, if you need a clue).

24
Saying you’e going to dismantle the state and actually doing it is a different matter. The LibDems have never been the government so they are an uknown, I remember a certain Mrs. Thatcher using the slogan ‘role back the state’ and by the time that administration was over, the state had considerably expanded.

I’d agree provided that there are no CCHQ fingerprints on this one.

If there were they were staggeringly inept ones. Just about every step taken by Ms Pratt was a blunder – she should have got permission from someone to use their case as an example, on a no names basis. She should have told her trustees what she was doing. She should have been clear as to how many incidents there were.

She doesn’t seem to have thought it through at all – which means, I think, that there was no planning at all. She saw Mandelson on Marr, lost her temper and called her local radio station. Something I suspect she now regrets.

Still, her charity’s been referred to the Commission, she’s lost half her patrons, she’ll probably have to resign, and she’s having her family and personal life dragged through the media. Just imagine how bad it would have been if Labour really were bullies.

steveb @25,

Saying you’e going to dismantle the state and actually doing it is a different matter.

O RLY?

Guardian’s ‘Bad Science’ Ben Goldacre on NBH ‘dodgy’

http://bengoldacre.posterous.com/the-national-bullying-helpline-look-dodgy-to

30. J Alfred Prufrock

Lawks, just saw the interview with Pratt on the Goldacre site, I nearly feel sorry for her… career definitely over.

Thank you for the HTML tip, Daniel, although judging by the plane crash that is your own blog, replete as it is with grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors that would put a trained chimpanzee to shame, the expression, “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye” seems apposite.

Anyway, enough playing with the under fives….

You make a fair point, steveb, but the encroachment of the state between 1979 and 1997 and the continuation of the same post 1997 are as chalk is to cheese.

You are no doubt aware of this but it bears repeating. Under the provisions of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act you can be investigated, arrested and even prosecuted for absolutely anything if someone else objects to it and reports you. It is also worth noting that in many cases it is not only the police who can by-pass the courts and issue on-the-spot fines, but council officials, community support officers (whatever they may be) and even private security firms.

As ukliberty correctly pointed out, the Tories and Lib Dems have at least paid lip service to the restoration of our 800-year-old rights. Labour has not, will not, cannot.

“Just imagine how bad it would have been if Labour really were bullies.”

Cute. I’d almost feel sorry for her if the “charity” didn’t look like such a scam.

I’d almost feel sorry for her if the “charity” didn’t look like such a scam.

Such a scam that the Dept for Business still recommends it.

He’s Troll:

You do know that trying to attack someone based on spelling errors is a sign you’ve long lost any argument you were attempting to engage in? Although you come here just to troll about so perhaps it doesn’t apply to you. Why do you come here again?
I smell yet another libertarian. Blech.

But at least I’ve made you see how blogging should be done if you’ve read mine, hard lesson learnt young pup but one worth learning.

Having a go at HTMP fail is of course all fair in love and war.

I was under the impression that you started the mud slinging with your snide “awesome” comment earlier in the thread.

You smell a libertarian? Wow. That’s some impressive detective work right there. And I tried so hard to disguise my libertarian tendencies. You are clearly a man not to be trifled with.

As to the argument, I fail see any evidence of one, given that you have already stated that you won’t be addressing any of the the points I have made.

Sorry for hi-jacking the thread, Sunny.

I smell yet another libertarian.

Hey Daniel.

Can you do witches too. 🙂

He’s Troll:

Your ‘points’ have been well dealt with already. I think we’re done here.

pagar:

Yes, witches, wizards, libertarians and Jews.

You can smell Jews?

Classy.

I am one which most here know but you don’t so yes, it is very classy indeed.

40. Dick the Prick

@39 – nice bit of anti semitism there – typical and yet nonetheless disgusting.

Oh bugger off D the P, I am Jewish and proudly so, my comment 37 was a joke, good grief, go pass judgement elsewhere.

Fair point, Daniel.

For once I missed the target.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Bullying Helpline now slammed by others organisations. And another patron resigns: http://bit.ly/bWJGy5

  2. Unity

    RT @libcon: Bullying Helpline now slammed by others orgs too http://bit.ly/bWJGy5

  3. Dave Harris

    I worked for a helpline; Pratt/NBH really fucked up on this RT @libcon Bullying Helpline now slammed by others orgs too http://bit.ly/bWJGy5

  4. Sara Hannam

    RT @pickledpolitics: Bullying Helpline now slammed by others organisations. And another patron resigns: http://bit.ly/bWJGy5

  5. John Nor

    #prattgate RT @pickledpolitics: Bullying Helpline now slammed by others organisations. And another patron resigns: http://bit.ly/bWJGy5

  6. Cristiana T

    RT @JohnNor: RT @pickledpolitics: Bullying Helpline now slammed by others organisations. And another patron resigns: http://bit.ly/bWJGy5

  7. John Comyn

    RT @JohnNor: #prattgate RT @pickledpolitics: Bullying Helpline now slammed by others organisations. And another patron resigns: http://bit.ly/bWJGy5

  8. noSPicedhAM

    RT @_cric_ @JohnNor @pickledpolitics: http://bit.ly/bWJGy5 <- Bullying Helpline gets bullied for standing up to the toughs

  9. Liberal Conspiracy

    Bullying Helpline now slammed by others orgs too http://bit.ly/bWJGy5

  10. Paul Sandars

    RT @libcon: Bullying Helpline now slammed by others orgs too http://bit.ly/bWJGy5

  11. James Cowley

    RT @libcon: Bullying Helpline now slammed by others orgs too http://bit.ly/bWJGy5

  12. Christopher Love

    RT @libcon: Bullying Helpline now slammed by others orgs too http://bit.ly/bWJGy5





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