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Paying for an HR consultant to investigate whether councillors have bullied staff

0 votes
The council have agreed to ask the MO for advice as to whether they can pay an HR company to investigate whether councillors have bullied staff, but it looks like the staffing subcommittee and Mayor are keen to get on and investigate the councillors via an HR consultant. They were pleading ‘duty of care’ to staff and ‘employment law’ and that this trumps Ledbury. Are colleagues aware of a situation in which a council could pay an HR company for an investigation into bullying by councillors on the grounds of ‘duty of care’ and ‘employment law’?
by (1.5k points)
edited by

2 Answers

+1 vote
I would have thought that the first port of call is a visit to the councils published grievance procedures where this should all be laid out ( including duty of care specification). Secondly, to pay for things such as you state must at some point have been ratified by council and if not must go before the council for authorising spending.( check that it has or has or has not been delegated to any committee concerned)
If not specified then when placed before council the "duty of care" argument must be specified and presented as a basis for such specified spending to be voted on by council. But of course we all know that such thigs were all allowed for when policies were formed don't we?
by (22.5k points)
It was put before full council and it was agreed to ask the MO firstly whether complaints about councillors should be investigated by them and not by an HR adviser. They have agreed to do that, but are not convinced, and I want to know in what circumstances can you ignore the Ledbury result and just start investigating bullying without including the MO.
+1 vote
Have they considered the potential outcomes of such an action? If the conclusion is that the staff were bullied, is it their intention to compensate them, as failure to do so may lead to a claim in the Tribunal? Has mediation been considered as the first stage in this process? Does the Council's insurance cover include legal and HR matters? If compensation/tribunal is the outcome, the insurance company must be notified.

What policies and procedures does the Council have and have they been applied and exhausted? Did the situation arise from a staff grievance?

I am not aware of any legal stipulation that would prevent a council from employing an HR consultant, but it does seem like a potential waste of a large sum of public money.
by (50.1k points)
So if the parent committee doesn't exist and the sub-committee reports directly to the full council, the sub-committee becomes a committee and must act in accordance with the council's standing orders regarding committees. These elements of the standing orders are non-negotiable, as they're enshrouded in law. If the staffing committee is producing no minutes of its meetings, the council will get what the council deserves. It's only a matter of time.

Speak calmly and politely to the Clerk and ask him or her to consider bringing forward the NALC model policies and procedures that are available to your council if it is affiliated to your county association. If that doesn't work, contact your internal auditor in April and notify them of the council's shortcomings. If that makes no difference and you have elections scheduled for next May, find half a dozen people willing to stand and campaign for public support for a more efficient and accountable council.
Colonelmustard - to give you hope and with reference to Dave the clerk's final sentence "If that makes no difference and you have elections scheduled for next May, find half a dozen people willing to stand and campaign for public support for a more efficient and accountable council." This approach does work. after 7 years as a councillor and dealing with a similar PC disregarding the Law, SOs and policies. I now belong to a PC which has gradually changed over the years, to one which has through patience and vision from new and very knowledgeable councillors who have integrity and endeavour to adhere to the Nolan principles. It began by talking to parishioners through facebook by informing people of the positive things which the PC does, gradually a discussion takes place and interested parties can be approached to become councillors. I would recommend talking to a few people as Dave the clerk suggests. It will take time but stick to your principles because the 'old guard' will protest and direct negative action towards you personally, but know your council's SO, policies and the Law. Good luck to you.
I would hope the MO tells them where to go
If they do go down this path just ignore them
In my case the District Council employed a professional investigator to review the complaints against me and prepare a report which i subsequently deconstructed !

As others have said they have to get agreement to the expenditure first
Thank you, everyone for taking the time to offer your support. I very much appreciate having colleagues, wherever you may be, who get it, and who are prepared to keep going and encourage me to do the same. Imagine if we could get a support group going and do a zoom call or something…
The expenditure is agreed and the MO has now said that the council ought to investigate any bullying of staff by councillors which is not reported to them as a code of conduct matter.

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