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200 Cheshire East staff claim that they were bullied in 2017
According to a survey by the Local Government Association, around 200 Cheshire East Council employees said that they had experienced bullying during the second half of 2017.
14% of respondents said that they felt this way, with some suggesting that former leader Michael Jones may have set a tone which “encouraged” or “excused” unacceptable behaviour.
Acting chief executive Kath O’Dwyer said she was “saddened” by the report but “determined to take all necessary action” to tackle the issue.
The author of the report sadly suggests that these levels of bullying “is not out of kilter” with what would be expected in other councils, the civil service or the NHS.
The review found the “bullying or bad treatment” described by staff had been perpetrated by some councillors, senior managers and line managers.
Former Unison representitive at Cheshire East Council Jonathan Shaw said there was an “horrendous culture” there.
The leader of the opposition Labour group, Sam Corcoran, said the report findings were “of great concern and indicative of a wider lack of trust in the leadership of the council”.
And he complained the review’s terms of reference were “highly restrictive”, with “key witnesses” prevented from taking part.
The review recommended improved training for councillors, a new “employment deal” for staff and an independent bullying helpline.
“There is a clear sense that whilst challenges remain, the Council now has the right political and managerial leadership to continue to steer the organisation in the direction it wishes to go,” the report said.