File on 4

File on 4

United Kingdom

Award-winning current affairs documentary series investigating major issues at home and abroad

Episodes

The Panama Papers  

This week's massive leak of confidential documents from the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, has given unprecedented access to the way the rich and powerful have used tax havens to hide their wealth. But within the eleven and a half million documents, there is also evidence of how some of the shell companies set up by the firm, or the individuals that owned them, have been the subject of international sanctions and have been used by rogue states and oppressive regimes including North Korea and Syria. Simon Cox reveals details from the leaked papers and travels to the British Virgin Islands where a small office run by Mossack Fonseca was used to create more than 100,000 companies. One of them was a front for a North Korean Bank that was later sanctioned by the United States for supporting the regime's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programme. According to the US, the BVI based front company managed millions of dollars in transactions in support of North Korea. Other companies set up by on the island were used by a billionaire businessman who is a cousin of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and who was sanctioned by the US for using "intimidation and his close ties to the Assad regime at the expense of ordinary Syrians." Mossack Fonseca has said it never knowingly allowed the use of its companies by individuals with any relationship with North Korea or Syria and says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing. Reporter: Simon Cox Producer: James Melley

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Tennis: The Italian Files  

Two months ago a File on 4 investigation into match-fixing in tennis made headlines around the world. The programme revealed how tennis authorities had received repeated alerts in the past decade about 16 players, all of whom have been in the top 50. It also questioned the effectiveness of the sport's watchdog, the Tennis Integrity Unit. Now, in a follow up programme, Simon Cox reveals new allegations of corruption and further evidence of the involvement of gambling syndicates in trying to influence the outcome of matches. Officials from the governing bodies of tennis have already been interviewed by MPs about the findings of the original programme. They have also appointed a prominent London barrister to head an independent review into anti-corruption policies and practices. Reporter: Simon Cox Producer: Paul Grant.

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UK Asylum: A Systems Failure?  

As more and more migrants seek asylum in the UK, is the system for processing their applications reaching breaking point? Allan Urry investigates the impact of a drastic reduction in the numbers of courts hearing cases. At the same time, appeals are going up and key rulings against Home Office decisions to return people to other countries are also piling on the pressure. With Europe now bracing itself for a fresh wave of refugees fleeing conflict, why is it taking so long and costing so much to decide who should be granted asylum here? Reporter: Allan Urry Producer: David Lewis.

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Special Guardianships: Keeping Things in the Family?  

Special guardianship orders are a way of giving legal status to those - usually grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters - who come forward to care for children when their parents can't. SGOs were designed to let children grow up with family, instead of in care - once a relative is granted special guardianship, the council steps backs and the guardian can raise the child without social services interfering. The use of special guardianship orders has been rising-last year more than 3,000 of them were made. But special guardianship breaks down more often - and more quickly - than adoption. And in some cases children have been neglected, abused, or murdered. The family court service Cafcass and the Association of Directors of Children's Services have warned that weak assessments of the risks of family placements are a 'real risk' for children. The government has re-written the law on how special guardians are assessed. But with court deadlines and growing pressure on social workers and budgets, will it make children safer? Jane Deith investigates. Producer: Emma Forde.

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Dementia: What Do We Know?  

It's estimated there are around 620,000 people in England with dementia. Prime minister David Cameron says fighting the disease is a personal priority and doctors in England have been encouraged to proactively identify people with early stage dementia. The PM says that an early diagnosis allows families to prepare for the care of a relative, but others argue there's no treatment for such a diagnosis and no robust evidence to justify a process that might lead to harm. Deborah Cohen hears from doctors who are concerned the drive to raise diagnosis rates is leading to people being misdiagnosed. The Government has also pledged millions of pounds to help make England "the best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neuro-degenerative diseases". Scientists leading the research say they are making progress to find tests which could identify people at risk from the disease and develop a cure. But other researchers say money is being wasted because current directions in drug development are following the same path as those of the past which have ended in failure. Producer: Paul Grant.

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Sunni Shia Splits?  

Are international conflicts creating tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the UK? Shabnam Mahmood reports from both Sunni and Shia communities and reveals how divisive messages from the Middle East are fuelling intolerance here. Organisations which monitor hate crimes say sectarian violence, while low level, is increasing. One Shia man tells the programme: "It is now becoming quite dangerous. It is an attack on me as a Shia that really scares me." Mahmood reports from one of an increasing number of unity events being staged across the country to foster good relations. A Sunni imam tells her: "These are dangerous times and the religious leadership need to be seen to be doing things to bring communities together." So can such work prevent tensions escalating in the face of the sectarian propaganda that's increasingly available online and on satellite television channels? Producer: Sally Chesworth.

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After the Floods - A Tale of Two Cities  

The Dutch city of Nijmegen has much in common with the English city of York. Similar in size, both are much visited by tourists because of their histories and architecture. But both also have rivers running through them and are susceptible to flooding. So how do their defences compare? And, as York and other communities continue to mop up the damage caused by the latest catastrophic flooding, did basic mistakes and a failure of planning make a bad situation very much worse? Reporter: Allan Urry Producer: Rob Cave.

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Vaccine Damages  

Vaccination has long been one of the greatest weapons in the battle against a range of potentially fatal diseases. Millions of lives have been saved worldwide, and Britain has played a major role in helping to combat new pandemics. But, rarely, things do go wrong and people develop serious side-effects. In the UK, the Government's Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme is supposed to help those left severely disabled as a result. Among those currently arguing their case are the families of children who developed an incurable and devastating sleep disorder after being immunised against swine flu. But, to date, most have received nothing and Ministers have now gone to the Court of Appeal to try and establish a less generous interpretation of the pay-out rules. Lawyers for the families say the whole scheme is outdated and unfit for purpose. Are they right? Jenny Chryss investigates. Reporter: Jenny Chryss Producer: Ruth Evans.

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NHS Contracts: Tender Issues  

File on 4 uncovers the story behind the collapse of one of the biggest health contracts ever put out to tender. Last April an NHS consortium of Cambridge University Hospitals and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust successfully bid to run older peoples' health services. But in December the £800m, five year contract ended without warning, with local commissioners saying only that it was "no longer financially sustainable." Jane Deith asks what the failure of the Cambridgeshire contract means for the broader policy of trying to improve NHS services by opening massive contracts to competition between Trusts and the private sector. Reporter: Jane Deith Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane.

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Tennis: Game, Set and Fix?  

File on 4 reveals secret evidence of match fixing in tennis and investigates claims that sport's governing bodies have failed to act on repeated warnings about suspect players. The programme has seen confidential documents which reveal how some were linked to gambling syndicates in Russia and Italy which won hundreds of thousands of pounds betting on matches they played in. A number of those who have been repeatedly flagged on fixing lists passed to the game's Tennis Integrity Unit have continued to attract highly suspicious gambling activity. Reporter Simon Cox also has an exclusive interview with one of the most high profile players to be banned for match fixing who says the problem is widespread in the sport. Reporter Simon Cox Producer Paul Grant.

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Bent Cops?  

In the first of a new series, Allan Urry investigates claims by former officers from one of Britain's biggest police forces that they've been the victims of crimes committed by their own colleagues. He hears claims of dirty tricks by a secretive police unit within Greater Manchester Police which some officers say have led to criminal charges against them. Others say they've been unfairly targeted through the internal disciplinary process, with evidence distorted and statements changed. Are they bad cops with an axe to grind or victims of corrupt practices and institutional cover up? Producers: Sally Chesworth and Neil Morrow.

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An Inside Job  

An inside job: the Britons smuggling illegal immigrants into the UK. File on 4 hears from Britons jailed for hiding people in their cars. They reveal why - and how - they did it. They were paid to smuggle people across the Channel by gangs based in London and the North West. This unofficial migrant taxi service - run from camps in Calais and Dunkirk - is believed to be netting criminal networks millions of pounds a year. But even that is dwarfed by the money to be made by British criminals bringing migrants over by the lorry load. Jane Deith reveals how the trade is spreading along the coast of Northern Europe, to Belgium and Holland. And she hears from Europol's Chief of Staff about the extent to which criminal networks based in Britain are involved in people smuggling. He tells the programme that more than 800 people have been identified as suspects. Reporter: Jane Deith Producer: Paul Grant.

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Locum Doctors: Bad for Your Health?  

How safe are we in the hands of locum staff at NHS hospitals? The Government's crackdown on big fees charged by agencies that hire them out has been making headlines, but what's being done to ensure they are up to the job? Allan Urry investigates recent cases which raise questions about the quality of care delivered by some temporary staff. Should an agency doctor have better assessed a poorly surgical patient on his ward who died a short time later from a post -operative bleed? The programme also asks how well the agency sector is regulated following the revelation that a partly-qualified doctor was able to treat more than 3000 patients after lying about his qualifications. Reporter: Allan Urry Producer: David Lewis.

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The Billion-Dollar Aid Question  

As the crisis in Syria deepens and refugees flock westwards, the UK government insists it is helping with a £1.1bn aid package to neighbouring countries - but is it being spent wisely? Simon Cox tracks money going from the UK to projects on the ground in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, trying to find out how much eventually gets to refugees. It's easy to see how funding an NGO to build new homes for Syrians is money well spent. But can the same be said for the hundreds of millions of pounds that go through the United Nations? The programme hears from aid workers, UN officials, refugees and UN investigators about cuts to food rations against a backdrop of high salaries and overheads. So is the UN up to the job of managing a modern-day refugee crisis? Producer: Lucy Proctor.

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Can Rotherham Recover?  

Like other steel communities, Rotherham faces the loss of hundreds of jobs following the recent announcement of redundancies at the local plant. It's the latest blow to a town now synonymous with widespread child grooming. Last year the Jay Report estimated that 1400 young people had been sexually abused there. It said most of the victims were white and most of the perpetrators were Asian men. So what's been the impact on community relations and how far has the scandal affected the local economy? For File on 4, Manveen Rana returns to the town to talk to families, business owners and the authorities to find out whether Rotherham can recover. Producer: Sally Chesworth.

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Colleges in Crisis  

David Cameron has promised three million new apprenticeships by 2020. But Further Education colleges must deliver them against a background of year-on-year cuts - with the axe likely to fall again in this Autumn's spending review. The National Audit Office has warned more than a quarter of further education colleges could be deemed financially inadequate by the end of the year. And this month MPs on the Public Accounts Committee will launch an inquiry into the financial sustainability of the sector. But how far is the crisis also a result of poor planning and excessive borrowing by colleges themselves? A File on 4 investigation finds some institutions taking increasingly desperate measures to make ends meet. And it asks whether the sector is being adequately policed: when a college faces financial collapse, what safety nets are in place? Reporter: Fran Abrams Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane.

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Dirty Money UK  

What does the theft of a billion dollars from Europe's poorest country have to do with a run-down housing estate in Edinburgh? Moldova was robbed of 12% of its GDP by the bafflingly complex financial scam uncovered earlier this year. It involved a web of companies in the ex-Soviet country, with the money thought to have ended up in Russia via Latvian banks. But the trail also goes via a number of UK-registered companies, including one based in the district of north Edinburgh made famous by "Trainspotting", the novel about heroin addicts. It's not the only example of Eastern European fraudsters using the UK to launder their dirty money in this way. So why is it allowed to happen? Why is it so easy to set up an opaque shell company in the UK? And what is the role of so-called company formation agents? Tim Whewell investigates Reporter: Tim Whewell Producer: Simon Maybin.

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Missing Medicines  

Why is the NHS struggling to get hold of some life-saving medicines for its patients? Allan Urry reveals serious concern over the availability of some drugs used in the treatment of cancer and for pain control. Pharmacists and doctors say they face a daily battle to get access to a range of medicines and either end up buying alternatives at a greater cost to the health service or using less effective alternatives which can compromise patient care. So is the Government doing enough to ensure essential supplies are available? And has Whitehall's drive to push down the NHS drugs bill deterred some manufacturers from supplying the UK? Reporter: Allan Urry Producer: Emma Forde.

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Working in the Shadows  

With the Government cracking down on migrants working illegally, Simon Cox investigates Britain's shadow economy. He meets illegal workers to ask whether the get-tough message is putting them off. And he reveals the ways in which both employers and workers are getting round the law. So can the UK Border Force deliver on ministers' promises to make the UK an "unattractive" place for those who want to work illegally? Reporter: Simon Cox Producer: David Lewis.

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CPS: Prosecutors on Trial  

Controversial charging decisions in the cases of Lord Janner, Operation Elveden and a doctor accused of female genital mutilation have brought a hostile reaction in the media to the Director of Public Prosecutions and increasing concern about the health of her organisation - the Crown Prosecution Service. Over the past five years the CPS has seen budget cuts of over 25% resulting in job losses and internal reforms. Despite this, the organisation maintains that it continues to improve performance - measured by conviction rates in both magistrates' and Crown Courts. However, there are increasing concerns about staff morale, the quality of decision-making and the standard of advocacy in court . BBC Home Affairs Correspondent, Danny Shaw has been hearing frank testimony from both inside and outside the CPS which presents a revealing picture of the justice system in England and Wales. Presenter: Danny Shaw Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane.

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