03:28PM, Monday 13 November 2017
The leader of Slough Borough Council has ordered an independent review into the recruitment of the chief executive and senior officers.
The council is currently in the process of hiring a new chief executive following the departure of Ruth Bagley in December last year.
Roger Parkin currently holds the role on an interim basis and his permanent appointment was set to be voted on by full council on Tuesday, November 28.
The review, ordered by Cllr Sohail Munawar (Lab, Elliman), who remains council leader despite his suspension from the Labour Party, will be undertaken by Gravitas Consultancy.
The council said it follows ‘political volatility’ and the review will include a review of its whistle-blowing policy.
Councillor Munawar, said: “It is unfortunate political differences, personalities and opinions have damaged the reputation of the organisation we all hold dear and I have decided, in the interests of the council, our residents and businesses, we should have an independent review of our most critical and urgent business.
“The council’s work is continuing every day and for many staff it is business as usual.
“We have an excellent senior leadership team led by the interim chief executive supported by a diverse and committed workforce, who are collectively leading the way in providing services and improving the town for everyone.
“But these political wranglings only serve to bring our wonderful borough down, cause a difficult working environment and invite doubt in our abilities and those of our wonderful hard working communities.
“I have listened to all the concerns raised and reflected on them and I believe this review is what we need.
“It will be entirely independent, will review and offer recommendations which should answer all the issues people have raised, all their concerns once and for all, meaning we can continue to drive forward with our vision for the town.”
He added: “I would like to thank everyone who is supporting me as leader of the council.
“Slough is a great place to live and work and I want to continue our excellent work unhindered.”
Cllr Munawar removed Cllr Sabia Hussain (Lab, Central) as deputy leader last week.
She previously launched a scathing objection to the appointment of Roger Parkin as chief executive at a public meeting last month.
Update 14/11: Cllr Hussain has written to Cllr Munawar to state the Slough Labour Group will take no part in the review until 13 questions about the process set out in the letter have been answered.
She writes: "There are a number of concerns regarding the commissioning of this review, not least the cost implications for the Slough tax payer."
The points put to the leader enquire as to cost of the investigation and the process taken to commission it, questioning who was notified and consulted before the decision was taken.
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