“I was reading Private Eye recently and discovered that my wife was a Director of Sodexo”, said Paul McDowell the chief inspector of probation.
“I was particularly shocked when I read that Sodexo had partnered with NACRO, a charity I used to run. And if you think that was a co-incidence, that same partnership then won a whole sheaf of probation contracts! What were the chances?”
For several months there had been calls for McDowell to resign and he finally stepped down from his £135,000 a year job, when lots more people had suspicions about what might have been going on. He says he might have done so much earlier, if only someone had explained to him what a ‘conflict of interests’ meant.
“I really didn’t have the time to research what the term meant, as I was busy learning all about my job as chief inspector of probation. It’s important work, getting people to accept that their behaviour is simply unacceptable – you’d be surprised how many sociopaths in the criminal justice system keep on thinking they’re doing nothing morally wrong, even when someone points it out to them.No, not Chris Grayling, the offenders.”
McDowell explained how, after he read about it in the press, he quickly put into place a Chinese wall to prevent anything inappropriate being discussed over breakfast. “Well, I say ‘Chinese wall’, it was actually a jumbo box of Kelloggs Cornflakes. I used to read the back of the packet every morning … never did find out what Riboflavin was though.”