CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Silence over QC’s Town Hall probe

Barrister brought in to investigate whistleblower complaints at Islington Council

06 March, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

THE Town Hall has gone into lockdown and refused to answer any questions amid a slew of whistle­blowing complaints.

As the Tribune previously reported, the council has faced a barrage of questions from one of the biggest unions in the ­borough, GMB, after the internal complaints came to light last year.

An unnamed Queens Counsel (QC) barrister, des­cribed as having “relevant experience in local government and employment law”, was parachuted in to look at the claims.

The Tribune has submitted several Freedom of Information requests as well as putting questions about the case directly to the council directly. But Islington says it will not say how much money is being spent on internal investigations, hiring a QC and whether any details would be made public.

The council says its veil of secrecy is because some details may be “commercially sensitive”.

A behind-closed-doors meeting of councillors and officials will be held at the Town Hall to discuss the case next Wednesday.

“The purpose of this meeting is to receive the report of the Independent Investigator and decide further matters in relation to allegations that have been made against an employee of the council,” an agenda said.

Council sources have suggested that the allegations relate to how a member of staff was appointed. It is also under­­stood that other whistle­blowing complaints, including accusations about staff conduct, have been made in relation to the council’s transport and environment department.

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