Tuesday, 3 November 2009

This didn't take long: Mark Watts backlash

As Journalist editorship candidate Mark Watts takes another swipe at the NUJ Left, it is being pointed out by union members who are not his supporters that his FOIA Centre website offers investigations into employees on behalf of employers and companies.
Under the heading "Work-place investigations", the FOIA Centre says it offers “personnel” or “human resources” investigation services to companies and other organisations.
It states: "If you have a work-place issue that needs to be investigated: such as an allegation about, or raised by, an employee. A FOIA Centre consultant experienced in carrying out investigations will be assigned to investigate the matter formally, impartially and sensitively, keeping strict confidentiality, and minimising the impact on your day-to-day business. Your consultant will provide you with a written report of the investigation.
"Companies and organisations faced with such challenges in the work-place benefit from commissioning an independent, outside, experienced investigator. It can prevent a problem becoming far bigger, and costlier, than necessary.
"Our fee is based on a discounted consultancy hourly rate for your investigator’s work, at £120 per hour, plus VAT. Clients must also meet the costs of any disbursements.
"Please note that the FOIA Centre, unlike private detective agencies or “enquiry agents”, uses only legal methods of research and will not undertake work requiring illegal information-gathering techniques."
Watts told me: "This is not a big thing for us. Most of our work is about open access. We might investigate something like allegations of sexual harassment by a manger if we were asked to. We would not investigate whether employees were union members."
Now Roy Greenslade has joined the backlash, saying of Watts: "His investigations are a sham. Worse, his journalistic pomposity is an insult to our trade."


Anonymous said...

"...the FOIA Centre, unlike private detective agencies or “enquiry agents”, uses only legal methods of research..."

Like Google.

Martin Cloake said...

Obviously there could be no conflict of interest if, say, you were the editor of a magazine for a union that was representing a member who was being "investigated" by the body you set up and had close links too.