Updated: 19 October 2013
There is currently lots of debate about the potential involvement of the police and security services in the blacklisting and I may have some information that can assist those investigating this.
I was originally employed by Carillion in 1993 to set up and manage an internal recruitment agency (NCS M&E) to recruit and supply mechanical and electrical operatives to their projects.
The internal construction trades agency, NCS (Postworth Limited) was already fully functional within the business under Sandy Palmer and NCS M&E's main objective was to target the business going to external recruitment agencies supplying to Crown House Engineering, thus retaining recruitment control and improving internal profit.
Crown House Engineering were using in the region of 250-400 external temporary agency workers each week at the time, all recruited locally by the site project teams with recruitment agencies of their choice. So with an approximate 80-100 pounds profit per external agency worker timesheet, there was the potential to recover up to 25,000 pounds per week for NCS M&E and the Carillion business in general.
The vast majority of Crown House staff accepted this change as it made perfect common sense. Within two years the NCS M&E business was recruiting and supplying in the region of 400 temporary agency workers to Crown House Engineering projects.
There was however one particular Crown House branch (Retford) which resisted this common sense change to the business. They would make all the right noises at meetings about using NCS M&E, but wouldn't give the business any opportunity to provide their temporary labour.
The Private Security Company - Group 4
I was concerned at meeting such rejection from this branch and in particular, a specific project where I'd identified the site team were using a substantial amount of external agency labour. I therefore reported this to my Manager at the time, Roger Robinson, who in turn introduced me to a man called Colin Blythe from within Carillion.
Colin explained that Carillion used the services of an external security company, Group 4, to covertly look into matters like this. He informed me that they were very thorough and that he was sure they could establish why the project team were so reluctant to use the internal agency service.
I'd say that no more than two weeks had passed and Colin was back with results from Group 4.
He informed me that Group 4 had carried out surveillance on the site and project team and that they'd established that the Crown House project engineeer, Charlie Power was using the services of a recruitment agency called Staffhire who were providing in excess of fifty temporary agency workers to the project.
Furthermore, Group 4 had identified that Charlie was in a personal relationship with a female representative from the agency, Nicki Hampson, and if I recall correctly, that they were living together.
To the best of my recollection, this was the only time I was aware of the use of this type of surveillance during my time at Carillion.
The company had engaged a large security company to conduct covert surveillance on members of the project team, which must have extended beyond the boundaries of the project itself to ascertain the more personal elements of the investigation findings.
Was this surveillance service extended to other parts of the business or the construction industry in general? I don't know. But Colin Blythe may. He would certainly have retired by now, but originated from the Middlesbrough area where he lived in a small village on the outskirts at the time.
Update - 19 October 2013
I have managed to locate and speak to Colin this morning. Colin was unaware of my blacklisting campaign or any of the surrounding events such as the select committee and press coverage. This is therefore something he will need time to research and catch up on in order for him to establish if he can help in any way.