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The Dragon Says: Hiding Behind ‘Staff Confidentiality’ Has To Stop

Published on: 1 Jul, 2013
Updated on: 4 Jul, 2013

Dragon Roar Still 470So, a grievance procedure has been started against David Hill, the chief executive at Guildford Borough Council (GBC).

But we, the people of Guildford, who pay the considerable salary he continues to receive, are not allowed to know why or who by because the council does not: “… comment on the details of such confidential staff matters.”

This hiding behind staff confidentiality has to stop. It is wrong for several reasons:

  • These are matters of genuine public interest. It is our council and David Hill is paid with our money. We have a right to know what is going on.
  • If the facts are not made known and reported, rumour will fill the vacuum. This is likely to be damaging for all concerned, not least the reputation of the council.
  • As the Guildford Dragon has reminded readers, many times, the council advertises a core value of “openness and transparency”. If this means anything at all it must not hide behind staff confidentiality in this case.

We should at least be told what the nature of the allegations are. Such a disclosure would not prejudice the investigation any more than the publication of police charges. And, after all, the allegation, whatever it is, has been deemed serious enough for an independent assessor to be called in to investigate, at taxpayers’ expense, of course.

This is not just about David Hill, important though his case is. This is about changing a culture of instinctive and unnecessary secrecy at Millmead. It needs to change. GBC is is not  MI5 or the Ministry of Defence, it is a borough council. The council leader Stephen Mansbridge is on record as saying he supports “openness and transparency”.  It is time for him to prove it.

The Dragon will continue to press for the truth on your behalf. You can, of course, also write to us and your local councillor to give your views.

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