Council response to lawyer’s statement

Posted on: 9 July 2018

The Chief Executive of Devon County Council Phil Norrey has today described a statement issued by Councillor Greenslade via his lawyer as “very disappointing”.

Cllr Greenslade claims that the Council’s Standards Committee procedure that found him to have sexually harassed a series of women staff breached his Human Rights and is threatening legal action.

“It is particularly sad Councillor Greenslade has chosen to raise objection to the established complaints procedure only when it has applied to him. Given that he, along with fellow councillors, were responsible for putting this procedure in place it seems inappropriate that he might choose to object now.

“Our primary concern has always been and remains the welfare of staff and particularly the ongoing impact of his actions on those women most affected. Perhaps what is most disappointing then is that nowhere in his statement is any sense of apology to them.”

Answering the accusation that the meeting was scheduled so that Councillor Greenslade could not attend, the County Solicitor Jan Shadbolt said:

“It is not correct to suggest that a formal Council meeting was scheduled so that he could not attend.

“All our meetings are scheduled well in advance and are a matter of public record. Nor has there ever been a provision for either the complainant, witnesses or the subject member to make representation in person at a Standards Committee meeting. This is because the independent investigations give all parties an opportunity to put their case and provide evidence.

“This fact was well known to Councillor Greenslade who was actually on the very committee which helped to set the procedure.

“The Standards Committee was informed of a request from Councillor Greenslade’s lawyers to delay the meeting of 2nd July as he was on holiday but chose to go ahead as there was no requirement for his presence and a further delay to what had already been a drawn out process could adversely impact the women affected.”

Describing the complaints process for elected members adopted by the Council since the removal of a national process in 2012, Ms Shadbolt said: 

“The process for dealing with complaints against members adopted by this Council in 2012 is a robust but fair one.

“The process has many checks and balances including its cross-party nature and the involvement of independent lay people throughout.

“Formal investigations are carried out independently of the council itself.

“In this case the investigation was undertaken by a leading QC and Deputy High Court Judge, who is well used to weighing the balance of evidence heard from all parties including that of Councillor Greenslade.

“Councillor Greenslade was also given the opportunity to comment on the findings of the draft report.

“The final report was unequivocal in its condemnation of the behaviour of Councillor Greenslade towards several women members of staff and over a sustained period.

“The cross-party Standards Committee and independent lay people who heard this evidence agreed.”

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