in the back
Talking dirty
Sellafield, Issue 1561
IN THE safety-critical nuclear industry, Sellafield's potty-mouthed head of corporate affairs has been slagging off not only colleagues, but local worthies in Cumbria. And far from falling foul of Sellafield's policy to foster a "culture of respect", he has been promoted!

sellafield.jpg In 2017 Jamie Reed resigned as Labour MP for Copeland in Cumbria to become head of corporate affairs at Sellafield, the vast nuclear reprocessing site with 13,000 employees which dominates many aspects of life in that county.

Reed gloried in the title of the MP with the most profane language on social media – "I can swear for two minutes without taking a breath or using the same word twice" – regularly slating (for example) then leader Jeremy Corbyn and others of his own party in the ripest terms.

Nuclear 'C' bomb
It seems the demands of private industry have done little to moderate his habits. Sellafield, notorious for bad management and astonishing waste of public funds (Eyes passim), evidently allows staff to use their own email and phones rather than official channels for sensitive internal communications, conveniently avoiding freedom of information disclosure.

Reed happily followed this insecure practice, via which the Eye has seen a large cache of his messaging over several years. Prolific and profane, he refers to various senior Sellafield managers by name as "poisonous", "useless", "corrupt", "always an obstacle". HR staff are "shithouses". Two named local councillors are "cunts"; a local MP is "fucking weird". The citizens of Cockermouth, he writes, can "fuck off".

Unsurprisingly, some staff found this abusive, leading one to cite Reed's "intimidating behaviour" when quitting. Meanwhile a formal complaint against Reed, made to Sellafield management and communicated to the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA), responsible for Sellafield, has been dismissed. A spokesperson for Sellafield said: "We are committed to eradicating bullying and harassment at Sellafield… These allegations have been thoroughly and rigorously investigated in accordance with our internal investigations process. There was found to be no case to answer." So that's all right, then.

Zero tolerance
Perceptions of a toxic culture are not uncommon at Sellafield, where surveys have revealed high levels of mistrust among staff, who feel unable to raise workplace concerns to management – a worrying state of affairs in a plant processing lethal radioactive material.

Sellafield officials have offered platitudes about zero tolerance for bullying, "promoting a culture of respect" and being "committed to eradicating unacceptable behaviour", all under a slogan of "Be Kind"! So has Reed's behaviour dented his nuclear career? Not at all. Last month, notwithstanding his withering contempt for local stakeholders, he was appointed to the important role of director of social impact – at the NDA!

Will he now be respectful of stakeholders nationwide? Does the NDA follow Sellafield's freedom-of-information-dodging practice of keeping sensitive communications out of official channels? While we await developments, three weeks ago there was a "small" fire at Sellafield. As always, complete official reports won't be forthcoming for many months. Staff, however, report that all nuclear reprocessing work has ceased.

'Old Sparky'

More top stories in the latest issue:

HORIZON SCANNING
The Post Office and its political masters are finally being forced to cooperate with the public inquiry into the Horizon scandal and miscarriage of justice.

BURNING MONEY
The winner of this week's election to replace North Yorkshire's police, fire and crime commissioner will find a fire service in a parlous state.

SMILE OF ARRAN
The Scottish government has thrown out an appeal by a fish farming company to site a massive salmon farm off the coastline of Arran.

CAPTIVE MARKET
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HIGH TABLES
The Office for Students report on senior pay at universities praised "restraint" in the sector – but plenty of institutions still showered their leaders with cash.

TESTING TIMES
Remote testing for would-be medical students has gone horribly wrong for the second year in a row, resulting in an unfair and stressful technical nightmare.

TURING PARTY
One school in Cambridgeshire has won more funding from the first round of the Turing Scheme fund to support trips than all Welsh and Scottish schools.

FITNESS TEST
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DEATH ON THE WARD
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STILL NO CHARGES
Three years after Surrey Police was forced to open a new investigation into allegations of assault and abuse at Deepcut barracks, no one has faced charges.

To read all these stories in full, please buy issue 1561 of Private Eye - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 8th December 2021
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