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1st Jul, 2022

Sexism investigation at Stratford District Council closes

INVESTIGATIONS into allegations of sexism at Stratford District Council have drawn to a close.

A series of investigations was launched after former chief executive Isabel Edgar Briancon, in a damning Facebook post, claimed there was a ‘culture of sexism’ at the council and that she was told to be more ‘chatty’ and needed to ‘throw her opinions around a bit more’.

The post sparked a separate investigation into the conduct of some elected members including Coun John Feilding and the late Coun Peter Barnes who were ordered to apologise after they were found to have behaved inappropriately towards female employees.

A further investigation into the culture of the wider council ruled many comments and complaints gathered from witnesses pointed to the two councillors.

One other councillor – and another no longer serving – were cleared of any wrong-doing.

And a final investigation into the conduct of a fifth has concluded and the council has found ‘no case to answer’.

As a result of the investigations, the district council workforce and its elected members are undergoing refresher training in equality and diversity.

The council has also appointed ‘respect champions’ following recommendations in the report into the wider culture of the council.

Although the report by Olwen Brown, a partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, found no evidence of a culture of sexism, it recognised improvements could made for the council to be regarded as a fully inclusive employer.

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