Grievance report against former Melbourn Parish Council chairman must be published rules tribunal

PUBLISHED: 17:10 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:43 16 October 2017

The grievance report into a complaint involving Melbourn Parish Council is due to be published within the next 25 days.

The grievance report into a complaint involving Melbourn Parish Council is due to be published within the next 25 days.

Archant

A judge has ruled Melbourn Parish Council must publish the grievance report at the centre of a scandal related to the authority's conduct, which saw a number of members resign in quick succession last year.

A judge has ruled Melbourn Parish Council must publish the grievance report at the centre of a scandal which saw a number of members resign in quick succession last year, related to the authority’s conduct.

A complaint was lodged against former parish council chairman Bob Tulloch which resulted in an independently selected grievance panel hearing in April last year.

The subsequent report was written up but not released, with the parish council citing “fear of litigation” as the reason for not revealing its contents.

But a tribunal has now ruled that the report must be published in full, giving the council 35 days from the decision on October 6 to comply.

The decision overrides that of the Information Commissioner’s Office on May 2 this year, which banned publication, saying: “where information relates to an internal investigation there is a strong expectation of privacy and neither of the two parties she had identified would have expected the information to be more widely disclosed and may be distressed at wider disclosure.

“Disclosure of the information would be likely to be prejudicial to the reputations of at least some individuals, either the instigator of the grievance or those who the grievance was against.”

The decision was criticised by former parish councillors and the case was sent to tribunal.

The ruling to release the report was made by Judge Chris Hughes, who heard the case alongside tribunal members Jean Nelson and Paul Taylor at Field House Tribunal Hearing Centre in London.

He said: “For the reasons set out in the tribunal’s determination, the tribunal allows the appeal and substitutes the following decision notice in place of the decision notice dated May 2, 2017.

“Melbourn Parish Council must disclose the undated report of the grievance hearing against Councillor Tulloch within 35 days of today’s date with the redactions identified in the conclusion of this decision.”

A spokeswoman for Melbourn Parish Council told the Crow: “At present the council will be discussing the report at its parish council meeting on October 23 and we will give you a statement following that meeting.”

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