Councils’ disciplinary action uncovered over three-year period

Dacorum Borough Council Civic Centre, Hemel Hempstead
Dacorum Borough Council Civic Centre, Hemel Hempstead

More than 200 council workers at borough and county level were disciplined over a three-year period, a Freedom ofInformation request has uncovered.

Responses on disciplinary action taken by the area’s local authorities showed 42 Hertfordshire County Council and five Dacorum Borough Council staff members were fully dismissed because of misconduct between 2011 and 2014.

County Hall, Hertford PNL-140608-145952001

County Hall, Hertford PNL-140608-145952001

County statistics – which also revealed a total of 190 staff were disciplined with 15 of those resulting in resignation – were taken from March 31, 2011 to April 1, 2014. Conversely Dacorum Borough Council – which revealed there were nine cases of gross misconduct in its neighbourhood delivery department resulting in a final warning being issued – takes its data from November to November, 2011 to 2014.

The county authority employed 8,451 people as of March 2014 – a reduction of 1,939 on overall staff numbers in 2011. Derrick Ashley, county cabinet member for resources, said: “In an organisation of more than 8,000 employees there will inevitably be a few occasions where behaviour is not as it should be and disciplinary measures are necessary.

“Thankfully these occasions are rare – just 0.7 per cent of our staff were involved in disciplinary proceedings over the last three years, and only a tiny fraction had to be dismissed as a result.”

Dacorum Borough Council currently employs 740 people, and of the five outright dismissed for their conduct. three were in the housing department and two were from the neighbourhood delivery section.

Group manager for people Matthew Rawdon confirmed the authority deals with staff conduct issues very seriously to ensure customers get the best possible services, adding: “In the infrequent case staff fall short of our conduct expectations, we will take appropriate disciplinary action. We carry out rigorous pre-employment checks to ensure that we employ excellent staff to deliver first-rate services.”

See below the full responses to the Gazette’s Freedom of Information request:

> Dacorum Borough Council:

Gross misconduct where the outcome was dismissal: 3 Cases in Housing, 2 cases in Neighbourhood Delivery

Misconduct where a first written warning was issued: 9 cases in Housing, 10 cases in Neighbourhood Delivery, 2 cases in Finance and Resources,1 case in Planning, Development and Regeneration area

Misconduct where a final written warning was issued: 3 cases in Neighbourhood Delivery, 1 case in Housing

Gross misconduct where a final written warning was issued: 9 cases in Neighbourhood Delivery

> Herts County Council:

Disciplines by department: 15 in Community Protection, 66 in Children Services, 10 in Environment, 18 in Herts Catering Ltd, 59 in Health and Community Services & Public Health, 22 in Resources & Performance

Types of transgression: 20 of Fraud, 16 of ICT Breach, 115 of Inappropriate Conduct, 9 of Professional Negligence, 19 of Safeguarding Breach, 7 of theft and 6 other

Types of disciplinary action taken: 42 Dismissals, 42 final written warnings, 47 first written warnings, 31 of No Case to Answer, 15 resignations, 10 verbal warnings and 3 other