Independent report raises fresh questions about fire chief’s appointment, says Plaid leader

  • Jonathan Hill followed Tuesday's explosive claims during First Minister's Questions.

An independent review raises fresh questions about the appointment of the interim chief of South Wales Fire, according to the leader of Plaid Cymru, Rhun ap Iorwerth.

During First Minister's questions on Tuesday, Mr ap Iorwerth told members he had seen a secretive report commissioned by North Wales Fire Service into Stuart Millington’s behaviour whilst he worked there.

The Plaid leader said the report says there is “prima facie evidence of bullying and harassment” which “if upheld could amount to misconduct or gross misconduct”. 

He asked the First Minister, Vaughan Gething, if he had faith in the minister and the commissioners who appointed Mr Millington. 

Mr Millington was made boss of the south Wales service in February, on secondment from the north. However, within days of his appointment, ITV Wales revealed he was the subject of bullying allegations. He denies the allegations.

Replying to Mr ap Iorwerth’s question, Mr Gething said he had not seen the report.

In Tuesday’s questions to the First Minister, Rhun ap Iorwerth said “when Stuart Millington was appointed the North Wales Chief Fire Office Dawn Docx issued a statement and I quote: ‘While it would be improper for us to comment on any particular grievance’.

“We were told that the complaints Mr Millington was facing represented only 'learning opportunities or minor learning opportunities'.” 

“But”, the Plaid leader continued, “I have here a copy of the report presented to Dawn Docx on the 12th Oct 2023.”

Appearing to hold a copy of the report in his hand, Mr ap Iorwerth said “It concluded that there is evidence to support a prima facie case that may amount to bullying and harassment and discrimination or harassment on the grounds of trade union activity”.

He said it included details which contradicted months of reassurances about Mr Millington’s suitability to be chief in south Wales. 

Vaughan Gething told the Senedd, “The employment tribunal and the evidence in it might change things but what I’m not prepared to do is comment in advance of that”.

ITV Wales has contacted Mr Millington and the commissioners at South Wales Fire for a comment.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service told us they had "nothing to add".

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