Everyone’s Entitled to Due Process

As already stated, I’m no fan of Jeremy Clarkson or Top Gear and I couldn’t give a shit if Top Gear is off the air.

I don’t know what disciplinary offence he committed, and neither do any of the public who are clamouring for his instant dismissal or his immediate reinstatement and recommendation for sainthood. What I do know is that in an organisation like the BBC, there will be clear policies and procedures for managing disciplinary matters. Suspension is usually used as a last resort, to remove someone from a workplace so that a full investigation can be carried out without people feeling scared to say what they saw and heard or pressured to say something did or didn’t happen. A suspension isn’t a punishment or a conviction. While the person is suspended, the management team will investigate the alleged incident, get statements from witnesses, and decide whether or not there is enough evidence to warrant a formal disciplinary hearing. After the disciplinary hearing, if the allegations are upheld, disciplinary action would be taken against the person and that might be dismissal, demotion, oral or written warnings or other.

At this stage, Clarkson has been suspended. If the rumours are true and the allegations are that he punched someone, then suspension is entirely appropriate during the investigation. The BBC have a responsibility to keep their staff safe and allowing someone suspected of violence to remain at work would be unacceptable. Equally, Clarkson is entitled to a safe workplace too, and it might not be appropriate for him to remain at work in an atmosphere of tension, until the investigation is complete.

Everyone involved in this incident is entitled to have their views heard in a safe process, and to feel that their concerns have been taken seriously. And all those people clamouring for Clarkson to be reinstated need to remember that it’s not ok for celebrities to be immune from normal disciplinary processes just because they’re famous and bring the money in. Remember how well that worked out with Jimmy Savile?


I’m just watching the first episode of the new BBC drama Frankie, with Gwen from Torchwood as the eponymous district nurse. And it has Eve from Casualty too. And so far, it’s terrible.

The performances are ok, it’s the terrible understanding of health and social care services that is bugging me. A district nurse decides to refer a sick child to a consultant. Right, ‘cos that can happen. Not. She asks the GP to refer a dementing elderly man for an occupational therapy assessment and the GP refuses. But she doesn’t bother to do it herself, even though she could. The elderly man is badly confused one day and thumps her. She refuses to record it, and neither does her colleague, even though he knows about it but she asks for “an assessment” for him. She takes the pregnant mother of the sick child to hospital for her scan, because of course district nurses have time to be a taxi service. On the way back, the poorly child goes into cardiac & respiratory arrest, and although the DN calls for an ambulance, after she has performed resuscitation and the child’s heart and breathing start up again, she sticks her back in her car and takes her to hospital herself instead of waiting for the ambulance. The next day, she spends hours in the hospital with the mother while the little girl has surgery. And then “they start the assessment” for the old man and section him by taking him away in a social work transport bus. Oh, and she forgoes her birthday party when she gets a call from the sick girl’s mother on her personal mobile, and ends up helping to deliver her baby (still wearing her party frock) even though she’s in the hospital surrounded by midwives. Wtf?

Do the BBC think that anything starring Eve Myles has to portray her as some sort of super-heroine? Are they trying to encourage the patronising view of nurses as angels? Or do they just not give a shit about basic accuracy? I get that the point of the show is that she puts her work ahead of anything else in her life, but surely they could write it in a way that actually reflects the realities of health and social care rather than this half-arsed over the top nonsense.