by Jenny Wallace
A play in 4 acts, with a prologue and epilogue
Set in this country and performed by a large cast.
Dramatis personae: members of the judiciary, police, NHS staff, teachers and examiners, journalists and broadcasters, social workers, bankers and politicians. All played by themselves (with some actors playing more than one part)
Synopsis of the Play:
An individual or group of people is/are responsible for an error, mistake or intentional action which affects others adversely and then cover it up completely, distancing themselves from it, denying that it ever happened and if necessary, falsifying any evidence.
A sharp-nosed journalist or ordinary member of the public suspects some wrong-doing and undertakes substantial, detailed research to uncover the truth. Those responsible vehemently deny any responsibility, often couching their response in impenetrable jargon appropriate to their particular institution.
As public opinion grows, an internal review is launched, which completely exonerates the accused. Journalists/broadcasters/ public pressure groups refuse to accept the findings and seek an independent inquiry.
A further inquiry chaired by an independent, eminent person is launched, costing many thousands and lasting several months. It reveals most of the truth and makes a number of recommendations for improvement of the offending institution and/ or its staff. It is greeted with the gravely uttered words “Lessons will be learned” by a spokesman for the institution. The tabloids and large sections of the public call for “heads to roll”and are told by supporters of the accused not to seek for “scapegoats”. They continue to press for a further inquiry.
Act 4 (Several months or years later)
Little or no action having been taken, to improve the offending institution or bring its personnel to account, a further enquiry is launched, chaired by an even more independent and eminent person. This costs several million pounds and can take several years to report. It reveals nearly all of the truth about the original situation and makes large numbers of additional recommendations for future improvement.
Amidst the ensuing chorus of calls for “heads to roll”, a spokesperson commends the excellent report and utters the immortal words, as the curtain falls, “Lessons will be learned”.
Another situation begins in which an error………
Jenny Wallace B.Ed MA is a retired Deputy Headteacher. She is now an avid golfer, NHS patient, carer and critic.