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FILE ON 4

Tuesday 25 May 2010

For years Britain has been criticised for failing to investigate and punish companies who use bribery and corruption to win contracts overseas.

Just before the General Election, Parliament approved a new Bribery law. And in recent months the Serious Fraud Office has adopted a new strategy, prosecuting a string of British-based firms and managers who have pleaded guilty to corrupt practices abroad. It seemed that prosecutors were finally beginning to get results.

But now English judges are objecting to the American-style plea bargains which have encouraged guilty companies to confess to past illegality. One senior judge has warned prosecutors they have no power to strike such deals, which tend to offer a more lenient sentence in return for an admission of guilt.

In the first of a new series of 'File on 4', Allan Urry investigates bribery by British firms abroad, and serious disarray in the court system which should be bringing them to justice.

Producer: Andy Denwood. Editor: David Ross

Tuesday 1 June 2010

The UK has some of the highest rates of stillbirths and early neonatal deaths in Europe.

There have been calls for improved care in hospital labour wards and an increase in research efforts to discover why so many apparently perfectly normal babies die.

However there is growing concern that in some hospitals, these deaths are not being properly investigated. Parents report difficulties in finding out full details of what went wrong. Shortages of specialist pathologists have meant that crucial post-mortem examinations are never carried out. And the inquest system is patchy when it comes to discovering the cause of a new born baby's death.

For 'File on 4', Ann Alexander investigates.

Producer: Iain Muir-Cochrane. Editor: David Ross.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

As MPs and senior officials retire on 'gold-plated' pensions, the media report that public sector pension schemes are heading for crisis because of multi-billion pound funding deficits. Local Councils alone are said to face a black hole of £53bn, which critics claim can only be filled by drastic cuts in entitlements and increased contributions from staff.

Both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are committed to reform of the system. Unions are planning a campaign to preserve their members' rights and have already secured a significant court victory blocking cuts to redundancy payments.

Gerry Northam looks behind the headlines and asks if there really is a looming pensions crisis.

Producer: Samantha Fenwick. Editor: David Ross.

ALSO FROM THE TEAM

The Report - Thursday 3 June 2010

The Report examines new ways of funding cancer drugs for the most severe forms of the disease. As the costs of providing anti cancer treatments rises, Simon Cox investigates the viability of a Conservative promise to provide access to non approved drugs on the NHS.

Producer: Gail Champion



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