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DHSS announce findings of independent investigator into a complaint made by the Civil Service Commission 20 November 2006

The Department of Health and Social Security has issued a statement concerning an investigation which it arranged to be carried out into a complaint made by the Civil Service Commission against the “management” of the Department and a named officer, Mr Trevor Cowin.

This investigation came about after the Department received a complaint from the Civil Service Commission that the Chief Secretary, who is a member of the Civil Service Commission, had concluded from an examination of Mr Cowin’s e-mails, covering a period of almost a year, that “potentially” there had been a number of breaches of discipline by Mr Cowin and that “management” had failed to deal with them or had not dealt with them in an appropriate manner.

In its complaint, the Civil Service Commission alleged that -

  1. Mr Cowin appeared to have contravened the Civil Service Code
  2. Mr Cowin’s use of the e-mail system may breach Government policy and may constitute bullying and harassment against Commission staff
  3. Mr Cowin attempted to procure the intervention of members of the Legislature with reference to his own position in the Civil Service, in that he inappropriately copied e-mails to a number of politicians with no interest in his Department’s statutory duties
  4. The copying of his e-mails to trade union officials would contravene laws of confidentiality and may contravene the Official Secrets Acts

The Department is pleased to be able to announce that after an independent investigation the investigator concluded that throughout the period referred to Mr Cowin’s actions were transparent, were carried out with the full knowledge of his line manager, did not constitute misconduct and there was no case to answer. Mr Cowin and his line manager, Mr Crellin, have, therefore, been completely exonerated of any wrongdoing or inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Dominic Delaney member responsible for Social Security said,

“I am delighted on behalf of myself and the Minister to say that the obvious flaws in the original complaint from the Civil Service Commission and the processes which followed have been identified. I had no doubts from the inception of this complaint that the officers’ who were the subject of the complaint, Mr Cowin and his line manager Mr Crellin, had acted with integrity throughout and had no case to answer. They have acted in the best interests of the Department, the Civil Service in general and most importantly the taxpayers of the Isle of Man. On behalf of those taxpayers we should have been registering our indebtedness to them rather than trying to take action against them.

This has been an extremely stressful time for those officers and their families and I’m happy to say that in respect of the complaint against them, as far as the Department is concerned, the matter is closed. However, the resolution of the very important issues identified by these two officers, which were highlighted in the Select Committee’s Report, remains a matter to be resolved by the next Parliament.”

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