Search

“Dysfunctional” and “vexatious” behaviour causing low staff morale in Brentwood Council, says damning report

13:57 20 February 2014

Leader of Brentwood Council Cllr Louise McKinlay

Leader of Brentwood Council Cllr Louise McKinlay

Pic:NICK STRUGNELL© +44 (0)7966805565 **SINGLE UK USE ONLY, NO UNAUTHORISED REPRODUCTION, NO RE-PRINTS, NO SYNDICATION. NO WEB U

The behaviour of Brentwood councillors has been blasted as “dysfunctional” and “vexatious” in a damning review.

The key damning remarks

These are some of the damning remarks taken from the peer review of Brentwood Borough Council:

n The current practice of constantly responding to frivolous and vexatious requests for information is draining capacity from the organisation

n The pace of much needed progress has been slowed and disrupted by the dysfunctional behaviour and impact of members and there is a requirement for the management team to take more decisive action to rectify matters

n Many staff we met don’t feel valued and morale is low... Staff cannot be expected to continue to work in such an environment

n The new constitution is being repeatedly used by opposition members to seek to interrupt the working of the council

n [Councillors and officers] need to understand and acknowledge what they expect from one another including defining what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

Morale is so low that employees say they can’t continue to work in the environment that councillors are creating, the report claims.

The review was published by the Local Government Association on Wednesday.

It did, however, suggest that some improvements had been made since the previous review in 2011.

The report says: “There remains a distrust between officers and certain members who need to understand the damage they are doing to staff.

“Many staff we met don’t feel valued and their morale is low.

One member of staff said they feel like “just a number on a payslip rather than a person”.

It predominantly blames opposition members for the friction with officers and suggests there is a “requirement for the management team to make more decisive action”.

Conservative council leader Cllr Louise McKinlay said the report had been “fair and balanced” and they would work hard to heed its advice.

She said: “It’s very clear that this lies with the opposition. They have a relenting approach to the officers, bombarding them with demands and requests.”

Lib Dem leader of the opposition, Barry Aspinell, said it was the ruling party which needed to shoulder responsbility.

“I think it’s embarrassing for the council leader,” he said. “Who wants to be associated with something like this?”

But he refutes that his group are to blame.

“I would come down hard on any member of my group who was treating an officer unfairly.”

The report also suggests that opposition members feel information is being denied to them so they must resort to Freedom of Information requests.

Labour group leader Mike Le-Surf said that they even struggled to learn the contents of the review.

He said: “Someone had to leak the document. It’s absolutely disgraceful.

“The Conservatives are running it like a leaky sieve; we might as well be as open as we say we are.”

Cllr McKinlay admitted “giving” the document to the press but denied it was a leak and that the opposition are given chances to meet with officers to discuss matters but “they don’t turn up”.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

10:36
Ayden Superstore. Picture: Google Maps

A man with a knife held up a convenience store in broad daylight.

09:03
The Collier Row Carnival procession as it winds its way through town

In glorious sunshine crowds cheered as dancers, community groups, police officers and even Disney princesses joined the Collier Row Carnival parade.

Health baby Bobby with dad Jack and mum Danielle.

A father, whose son nearly died days after being born, cycled 100 miles yesterday to raise money for the charity that supported him.

Yesterday, 14:00
The Ford Judo Club members who won medals at an English championship. Picture: Ford Judo Club

An impressive seven medals were won by sports players at an English championship.

Most read news

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder