Revealed: Misconduct investigation into alleged bullying costs Redbridge Council more than £6,000
PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 August 2018
An independent investigation into allegations of bullying and flouting planning regulations against a Redbridge Councillor cost more than £6,000, it has been revealed.
A request submitted by the Recorder under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act has revealed that the council spent £6,317 on hiring independent consultant Alex Oram, of firm ch&i associates, to investigate a number of allegations of misconduct made against Labour Cllr Roy Emmett by former Cllr Aziz Chowdhury.
As reported by the Recorder in July, Cllr Emmett was cleared.
Monitoring officer Fiona Alderman’s decision notice states that Cllr Emmett “was not acting in councillor capacity” in relation to allegations that he “bullied and intimated” Mr Chowdhury in his role as Labour Chief Whip and so was not subject to the council’s code of conduct.
Rather, this is an internal Labour Party matter.
It also states that “there was no indication that [Cllr Emmett] was “instructing” the chair to vote in a way,” in relation to allegations he was trying to improperly influence a planning application concerning the opening hours of New North Road community centre during Ramadan.
The Recorder submitted an FOI request to obtain the full report after it was revealed the council had no intention of making it public.
The council denied this on grounds of data protection and undermining future investigations.
However a draft of the report has been leaked to the Recorder which the council has confirmed is not the final version.
In response to allegations of bullying contained within the draft, a London Labour spokesman said that they were investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.
He added: “The party takes all complaints seriously, which are fully investigated in line with our procedures.”
Mr Chowdhury has told the Recorder that he intends to take the matter to the High Court.