Improving staff morale at Suffolk County Council will be a priority for the new leader-elect Mark Bee, he has told the Municipal Journal. He “called for a period of calm reflection on Suffolk’s future amid intensifying concern over the county’s organisational culture”, The MJ reports.
The journal also says Jane Storey, the interim leader, has confirmed that an inquiry following a letter raising concerns about staff welfare in the legal department would be overseen by an outside organisation.
The letter followed the suspected suicide of David White the acting head of legal services. Mr White had taken on extra responsibilities following the resignations of resources director Graham Dixon and monitoring officer Eric Whitfield. Those two resignations were quickly followed by Jeremy Pembroke’s decision to stand down as leader with immediate effect.
Cllr Bee told The MJ:
There are issues of staff morale and we will need to work as a team while dealing with those. I also want to spend this time between now and the AGM in May as a period of reflection, and to review aspects such as the New Strategic Direction.
I want to consider pragmatic ways of working, with the aim of finding a sensible direction.
While it is understandable that little has been said about the inquiry, which will clearly involve delicate and personal issues, it would a sign of a fresh approach to openness if we were told who is to conduct the inquiry and the terms of reference. At the same time we should be told how much of the inquiry report will be published.
The less space there is for speculation the better the prospects for revived confidence in the council.