Council sexism investigation wrapped up

Stratford District Council

An investigation into allegations of sexist behaviour at Stratford District Council has finally ended, with no further action being taken regarding a final complaint.

Last year claims made on social media by the council’s former executive director Isabel Edgar Briançon following her resignation, prompted the council to examine the behaviour of some elected members.

All staff members at the council were then also invited to anonymously submit details of any concerns they had about the behaviour of elected members.

Two councillors, John Feilding and Peter Barnes were found to have breached the council’s code of conduct and brought the role of councillor into disrepute.

Both accepted the findings and agreed to send written apologies to all council staff, while the Conservative whip was also removed from Cllr Feilding.

Complaints about two further councillors were investigated but they were cleared of any wrongdoing,

However at the time, an allegation was also made against another elected member which required further investigation.

This has now been completed and the district council has concluded that this councillor has no case to answer.

A spokesperson for Stratford District Council, said: “The fifth and final investigation report being undertaken by the District Council in relation to sexism claims has concluded and has found no case to answer.  This now draws a close to the whole investigation.

“Following the investigations the whole District Council workforce and elected members are attending Equality and Diversity Refresher Training and the District Council has also appointed Respect Champions.  The Respect Champions were formed following recommendations in the report commissioned by the Monitoring Officer in relation to the wider culture of the District Council.

“Although this report by Olwen Brown, a partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, found no evidence of a culture of sexism at the District Council, it has been recognised that to be regarded as a fully inclusive employer there are still some further improvements that can be made.”

Measures such as appointing respect champions are designed to improve how staff and councillors report matters of concern, while equality and diversity training will hopefully avoid incidents of sexist behaviour taking place again.

During a meeting In November Cllr Kate Rolfe called for the council to consider ways in which it could encourage more women to apply for senior leadership roles.

At present the entire senior management consists of male officers.

  • Realistic Expectations

    Phew, that’s alright then chaps! Bit of a close one but feel free to carry on as normal….