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1st Jul, 2022

Stratford district councillor who was ordered to apologise after inappropriate behaviour towards female colleague elected committee chairman

A COUNCILLOR who was ordered to apologise after behaving inappropriately towards female colleagues has been elected as chairman of Stratford District Council’s licensing committee.

A series of investigations were launched last year 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.

The authority was cleared and found to have ‘no case to answer’.

A resident who did not wish to be named contacted the Observer and said: “Coun Feilding was elected as the chairman of the licensing committee despite this happening a year earlier. Is this councillor really fit to hold such a position?”

A Stratford District Council spokeswoman said: “While is it true that there were concerns raised around coun Feilding’s conduct as a councillor last year, these were all fully investigated under the council’s councillor code of conduct, the result of the investigation resulted in a number of sanctions, however, they did not prevent him from carrying out his duties as a member of the council.”

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

The council 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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