AVOW quotes

5 September 2011: Mervyn Rosenberg

Source: email to BBC and Mark Isherwood AM, and reported on BBC Radio Wales ‘Good Morning Wales’ programme on Tuesday 6 September.


“As AVOW is constrained from making any statement about this tribunal because our HR advisers and insurers are taking counsel on the possibility of an appeal, we are unable to comment on your interview with Mark Isherwood AM.”

This contradicts a previous statement by AVOW, issued by John Gallanders on 26 August (see below).

26 August 2011: John Gallanders

Source: ‘Third Sector’ News Item

John Gallanders, chief officer at AVOW, said:

“There is a trustee board meeting on Tuesday and we will be able to make a statement at that point. I would point out, however, that the judgement amounts to 59 pages which reflects the overall complexity of the case.”

Claimant’s Comment

The Judgment (written reasons) does indeed extend to 59 pages and the case did become quite complex. However, in the whole 59 pages, the only remarks that could be considered critical of the claimant are that an application for the respondent’s case to be struck out was not well-founded (the claimant is not legally trained and had asked the Tribunal to consider evidence of the respondent’s unreasonable behaviour in this regard), that she tended to write long letters and wrote a long witness statement. In its conclusions, the Tribunal noted:

“We reject the respondent’s suggestion that there should be a deduction for contributory fault because we do not accept that there was any.” [para. 220]

The Tribunal described the claimant’s long witness statement:

“as nothing compared to the brevity of the statements supplied on behalf of the respondent” which made “no attempt to provide a factual context or commentary. They told us almost nothing about the position of the respondent’s witnesses on the matters in dispute. They barely complied with the letter, never mind the spirit, of the requirement to disclose evidence in chief by the provision of statements… The effect was that the claimant attended the Hearing having given (very) full disclosure of her own evidence in chief but knowing almost nothing about the evidence in chief of the respondent’s witnesses beyond what could be inferred from the documentation.”[para. 14]

In spite of his extensive involvement in the case, Mr Gallanders’ own witness statement read as follows:

  1. I can confirm that the information contained in the Tribunal Bundle are the documentary records gathered from various meetings and correspondence between AVOW and Ms Bove.
  2. Please see pages [list of page numbers].
  3. I have acted in a professional manner in respect to dealing with this matter and have ensured that all necessary action required by the AVOW Trustees has been undertaken.
  4. I can confirm that AVOW have responded to all requests for information as appropriate to ensure that Ms Bove is in receipt of any necessary paperwork.

This statement is true to the best of my knowledge.

The other eight witness statements were even shorter, and referred only to grievance meetings and letters, even though we know that Trustees were discussing the issues, presenting and receiving reports and making decisions in their various committee and sub-committee meetings. AVOW failed to disclose much of the documentation requested in relation to the Trustee’s role in the whole affair.

NB: Claimant = Ms Bove; Respondent = AVOW

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