Mark Whitehead 25 October 2019

Councillors apologise to staff over 'pagan ritual' offer

Two councillors have apologised in writing to their entire council staff following an investigation into sexist behaviour which included telling a woman she had 'good breeding hips' and offering to perform a pagan ritual.

John Fielding, one of the councillors at Tory-controlled Stratford-on-Avon District Council, has had the Conservative whip removed following the official investigation, LocalGov has learned.

The other councillor, Peter Barnes, is an independent.

They were found to have breached the code of conduct on respect and to have brought the role of councillor into disrepute.

The investigation was launched following a Facebook post by then executive director Isabel Edgar Briançon, who has since left, recounting some of her experiences and complaining of the 'sexist culture' at the council.

It is understood she thought the post was private but it came to the attention of the council which decided to take action.

The official report on Cllr Barnes said he had failed to treat others with respect, based on 'evidence of a pattern and practice of long-standing, offensive and upsetting behaviour, particularly to female officers, that stretches back some years.'

He told a colleague that if she wanted 'fertility support' he would perform a pagan ritual for her, and said she had 'good breeding hips'.

He blamed his age and said he had taken 'the wrong tablets' but these excuses were not accepted.

Cllr Fielding had shown 'a pattern of often unacceptable behaviour towards some women officers' which included stroking a woman's neck.

All staff and councillors were contacted to invite those with similar concerns to come forward to help with the investigations.

A total of eight members of staff came forward and were interviewed as part of the investigation.

Two other councillors were cleared of any wrongdoing, while complaints against a fifth councillor are still being investigated. A sixth person complained against was found not to have been a member of the council.

The authority's monitoring officer has asked the external investigator to produce a further report in relation to the wider culture at the council.

Photo: Elliott Brown/flickr

Protection is a two-way street image

Protection is a two-way street

Russ Langthorne outlines how the workforce can be protected from the debilitating effects of HAVS and WBV through real-time, accurate and objective monitoring and measurement.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Health Care Assistant - A1 Home Care - Chelmsford

Essex County Council
£10 - £11 per hour
Essex County Council (ECC) are delighted to be supporting A1 Home Care to recruit Health Care Assistant for their home care service based in Chelmsfor England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Administration Officer

The Coal Authority
£19,137 to £21,264
To apply please click the Apply Now link below. Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: The Coal Authority

Programme Assistant

City of York Council
£11.37 per hour
We are WorkwithYork and we are working with our client to find a Programme Assistant working with the Homes for Ukraine project. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

IT Security Manager

City of Bradford MDC
£42,614 - £47,665 pa
This is an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic IT Security Manager Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Recovery Support Worker x 3

Wakefield Council
£12,963.50 - 14,113.00
We are seeking to appoint suitably skilled, motivated and caring recovery support workers Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.