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David Hill: Grievance Policy Prevents Further Disclosure

Published on: 4 Jul, 2013
Updated on: 6 Jul, 2013
David Hill

David Hill

Guildford Borough Council’s grievance policy is preventing it  from giving any further information about the complaint that has been made against chief executive David Hill.

A council spokesperson stated: “[The policy] states that the grievance procedure will be carried out in confidence. As a responsible employer, we do not comment on the details of such confidential staff matters.”

The relevant paragraph of the policy reads: “The grievance procedure will be carried out in confidence, unless otherwise agreed with the parties involved, and will not prejudice the aggrieved employee’s current employment or future prospects. Some grievances may be of a sensitive or controversial nature and therefore a balance must be drawn between the need to preserve this confidentiality and the need for informed discussion on the issues raised.”

The Guildford Dragon asked whether a message could be passed to Mr Hill inviting him to comment and enquired who was acting as chief executive in his absence. The response received was: “In David’s absence, the council’s senior management team continues to work with the Executive, councillors and officers to conduct the council’s usual business. As David is on sick leave, we cannot confirm whether he is picking up any emails from his work account, or his availability for interview.”

It is understood that strategic director Sue Sturgeon is likely to be fulfilling the chief executive’s role at the full council meeting this evening (July 4). The chief executive is responsible for advising the Mayor, Diana Lockyer-Nibbs, who will chair the meeting, and other councillors, on procedural matters.

The council has also released a little more information about the independent assessor investigating the complaint against David Hill. The spokesperson wrote: “The independent assessor is a former senior council officer who was head of HR at two London councils. He now works as an independent consultant and was engaged through Solace Enterprises.”

The council’s grievance policy states: “In the case of the chief executive a committee of the council appointed for the purpose will hear any grievance, and in the case of a grievance against the head of human resources independent, external human resources support will be used.”

It is not yet clear whether the independent assessor will be reporting to a ‘committee of the council’ or whether there has been a deviation from the laid down procedure.

There has been no official word on the expected length of the investigation but well placed sources have indicated that they expected the assessor to report back as early as next week. If this materialises it will be in marked contrast to the time taken on the investigation which has followed the suspension of two council officers at the Electric Theatre.

On this subject the council said yesterday (July 3): “… it would be inappropriate to comment further until the matter is concluded, which is planned in the near future. HQ Theatres continue to provide interim management at the Electric Theatre and we are grateful for their assistance.”

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Responses to David Hill: Grievance Policy Prevents Further Disclosure

  1. Mary Alexander Reply

    July 5, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    David Hill has presided over a period at GBC in which employees have faced disciplinary hearings on allegedly flimsy grounds, and have been removed from office mysteriously. Others have been forced to leave, possibly in fear of what might happen to them.

    But, to be fair, we must presume Mr Hill is innocent of any inappropriate behaviour unless proved guilty. Then, we shall all know the truth.

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