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Special meeting to review investigation that led to senior officer resignations

Press Release   •   Jul 11, 2017 18:23 BST

A special Bury Council meeting will be held next Thursday (20 July) to receive a report from the council’s human resources and appeals panel and the investigation that led to the resignations of Mike Owen, the former chief executive, and Mark Carriline, the former executive director for children, young people and culture.

Their resignations came after the conclusion of two reports into the handling of a historic child safeguarding matter. Mr Owen resigned on the eve of a disciplinary committee due to hear allegations raised by the reports, while Mr Carriline – who the same committee recommended should be dismissed - quit before a council meeting could be held to vote on its recommendation.

Cllr Shori said: “From the very start, my aim has been to get at the truth surrounding the allegations of misconduct by senior officers in this case.

“This is why I ordered the initial investigation by childcare expert Malcolm Newsam CBE, which subsequently led to the second review, carried out by Charles Bourne QC. Throughout, we have also had ongoing dialogue with the Department of Communities and Local Government, Ofsted, and the council’s external auditors KPMG.

“This case has revolved around child safeguarding procedures not being followed and, while no child was harmed, it is vital that lessons are learned and that the failures of the past are not repeated.

"We decided to hold this extraordinary council meeting to receive the HR Panel’s report and to debate the notices of motion put down by the political groups. I want the fullest possible disclosure of what went wrong and what we have done about it, so as to restore public confidence."

Next Thursday’s meeting starts at 7.30pm at Bury Town Hall, and the agenda can be read here: http://councildecisions.bury.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=148&MId=2173&Ver=4

Cllr Shori added: “It is my intention to hold this meeting in public, and to publish both the Newsam and Bourne reports, as far as is legally possible.”

In the meantime, Cllr Shori said he wanted to clarify some issues which people have raised in the aftermath of the resignations, in the interests of transparency.

“Firstly, neither Mr Owen nor Mr Carriline have received any payoff or any financial inducement,” he said.

“Secondly, the council accepted their resignations because legally we could not force them to remain to serve their notice period. They left immediately without payment of notice, which is exactly the same position as if they had been summarily dismissed.”

Cllr Shori concluded: “We need a new beginning at this council and a new way of doing things, all the way through. I, and the public, expect all members of staff and members - from the most junior to the chief executive - to maintain the highest possible standards.”

ENDS

Press release issued: 11 July 2017.

For further information please contact Peter Doherty in the council press office on 0161 253 6096. Alternatively please email communications@bury.gov.uk