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Friday, November 26, 2004

Culturenet Cymru 100 Welsh Heroes Internet Poll

I have today written a letter to the Auditor General. Extracts are below:

I am writing to formally request that you investigate the conduct of the above internet poll which was financed by £154,000 of public money from the Welsh Assembly Government.

I, and a number of other AMs, have been contacted by the former IT Manager of the National Library of Wales, Mr David Jones, who was responsible for running the website and conducting the poll. I understand that Mr Jones parted from his employer under a bit of a cloud (and in fact has set up a website to publicly discuss the details of his dismissal). However, the allegations that he has made about the poll are serious and substantial. He alleges that the on-line poll was fixed to secure a particular result and that he was ordered to manipulate the data in such a way so as to make this possible.

Naturally, I have brought this to the attention of the Culture Minister and asked him to establish the truth of the matter by arranging for an independent computer expert to examine the programme and the database. This he has refused to do, relying instead on a cursory investigation by the Chair of Culturenet Cymru.

I am not satisfied that the investigation of this matter has been fully independent nor do I believe that the very detailed allegations provided by Mr David Jones has been properly answered.

I am writing to you therefore to request that you intervene in this matter and carry out the thorough examination of the database needed to finally put this matter to rest. Thank you.

You've obviously got far to much time on your hands. Ask yourself: how does what I'm doing benefit my constituents in any way?

I feel it would be helpful to remind readers of this blog that you voted for Tom Jones as greatest Welshman ever.
And according to the Culturenet Cymru IT Manager, Tom Jones won! I do not really see the relevance of that point. What I do see however is £154,000 of public money being spent on an internet poll that is allegedly fixed to achieve a particular result and a Minister who is not prepared to carry out an independent assessment of the database to discover whether the allegations have any foundation or not. In those circumstances I have an obligation to my constituents to pursue this to the very end.
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