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Singing Like a Canary


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In February 2014 a Unison Rep approaches Senior Managers with a number of long standing unaddressed issues from members which included health and safety and training for disabled staff.


The Rep is employed by Herefordshire Council


In response the Rep also disabled is asked to attend an Occupational Health (OH) referral to ascertain if the Rep is 'Capable of fulfilling the requirements of their role'.


If there were capability issues regarding the TU Rep why weren't they being performance managed? Why is Senior Managers response to a complaint about Health and Safety and Training to send the Rep to OH, asking if they are capable of fulfilling the requirements of their role?


The Rep refuses and lodges a grievance against the Senior Manager for victimisation, which is sent to the Director Geoff Hughes. Geoff Hughes hands the Grievance to the Senior Manager who is the subject of the complaint.


When a Grievance is lodged against a Senior Manager why is the Senior Manager handed the Grievance in its entirety? Do employees who are not Senior Managers and subject of a grievance receive a full copy of a written Grievance against them?


The Unison Branch Secretary refuses to represent the TU rep in the Grievance because Geoff Hughes and the Senior Manager are both in the Union.


According to the Unison Representation Guide Book. In a grievance hearing, a member who is a manager whose decision gave rise to the grievance, cannot expect representation when they simply carry out their functions as a Manager. So why does the Branch Secretary refuse a request to represent his TU Rep?


Unison ask the Rep to attend a meeting with the Branch Secretary and Unisons Area manager.


Why is Unisons area Organiser called into this dispute? Why is the Grievance not handled locally and what's the real reason for the Branch Secretary's refusal to assist a TU Rep?


The Branch Secretary makes his excuses and leaves the meeting.


Was the Branch Secretary distancing himself from what the Rep was about to be told because he is an employee of the Council? He was the one told about the threat. Would a threat still have been issued if Geoff Hughes hadn't handed the Grievance to the Senior Manager but instead followed the correct procedure? Did the Senior Manager after being handed the Grievance issue a threat to Unison?


The Area Manager informs the TU Rep that in response to the Grievance, the Branch Secretary has been told that if the Unison Rep doesn't drop the Grievance against the Senior Manager they will look for all the information they can find to threaten their employment and even if there is nothing to find they will make it up!


How would Herefordshire Council find evidence about an employee to threaten their employment? Start searching through their emails, as a TU Rep the systems would contain emails from Union members. Would they invoke Ripa and start following the Rep and record their movements? If there's nothing to find what sort of fabricated evidence would they create? How far would they go? It would need to be gross misconduct to threaten employment. Would Herefordshire Council really fabricate gross misconduct charges?


The TU Rep agrees under protest but only when told that Unison will insist that any threat against its TU Rep is withdrawn stating Unison will not tolerate a TU Rep being threatened.


Why does a Unison Area Organiser persuade a member of staff who is a TU Rep to drop a legitimate complaint against a Senior Manager? If a threat of this nature is made against a TU Rep and Unison back down are they really serving the best interests of their members and would a threat of this nature be a threat against the Union as a whole?


A meeting is held with a Senior Manager from the Council but there is no mention of the threat which surprises the TU Rep. During the meeting, Unisons Area Manager advises Herefordshire Council that 'Unison' will be lodging an ET1 with Acas to safeguard the TU Reps position in case the issues remain unresolved.


Why is there no request to withdraw the threat against the TU Rep? Why did the Area Organiser inform the Senior Manager at that meeting that Unison would be lodging the complaint with Acas?


The TU rep lodges the Complaint with Acas. The actions discussed at the meeting are confirmed via email.


Why did the Area Organiser not question the list of Actions from the meeting when he received them? They clearly state 'Unison' will be lodging a complaint through Acas. Was it all part of some elaborate plan?


UNISON then distance themselves from the complaint and deny any knowledge of the threat against the rep. They ignore requests, to participate in a tribunal.


Why did Unison inform Senior Managers they would be lodging a complaint with Acas for the Victimisation of a TU Rep and then deny knowledge of the threat? Did Senior Managers make the threat or not?


A complaint is lodged with Unison and copied to Dave Prentice and Lucia McKeever. Unison attack the Rep and find no case to answer. Unison do not ask the TU rep for any information or speak with them prior to finding no case to answer.


Why do Dave Prentice and Lucia McKeever appear to be sanctioning this appalling behaviour by their inaction? Why did investigating officers fail to speak to the Rep before completing the investigation?


The TU Rep informs Unison the meeting was taped and asks why the investigation was completed without asking for any evidence or asking any questions. The email responses from the investigating officers are aggressive and accusatory.


Why did investigating officers not speak to the TU Rep prior to making a decision on the complaint? More importantly why were they attacking the Rep in email correspondence?


The TU rep then made a complaint to Members Services about the inappropriate way the complaint is investigated. Members Service refuse to investigate until they receive copies of the tapes.


Why won't members services investigate why the original officers failed to conduct a comprehensive investigation? The complaint to members services is about a failure to investigate the original complaint, are copies of tapes necessary to ascertain why the investigation into the original complaint wasn't completed appropriately? Are they back tracking here and missing the point?


Members services request copies of the tapes. The Rep explains they are part of Tribunal proceedings and can not be disclosed until after the hearing.


The complaint to members service is about the conduct of the investigating officers why do they need evidence of the original complaint before they can ascertain if those officers acted inappropriately when investigating the original complaint?


Members services refuse to investigate the two officers responsible for the haphazard investigation.


Why are Members Services condoning the unprofessional behaviour of their officers?


TU rep requests refund of Union fees because Unison not only failed to appropriately represent the member but they also perpetuated and frustrated the entire situation. Remunaration of the Tribunal Fee is also requested since it was Unison who stated they would be lodging the complaint.


If the TU Rep was refused appropriate representation for which their monthly subscription should cover why are Unison ignoring requests to return those monthly fees and the cost for lodging the ET1?


Request ignored.


Why are Unison behaving as if they are paid by the employer?


Case closed!


Should Herefordshire Council investigate the behaviour of its officers and find out if one or more of its officers was threatening an employee to abandon their employment rights? Is the behaviour of Council Senior Officers of Public interest? The Public fund their wages, would they condone this type of behaviour from Senior Managers in positions of power? If their Officers are innocent wouldn't they want an investigation to show that?


Finally what response or actions would the public expect from Herefordshire Councils Senior officers who knew about the threat? For example Bill Norman, Council Leader Anthony Johnson or the Chief Executive Alistair Neil?


How difficult it is to speak with Jesse Norman your local MP?


What part do Herefordshire Council play in this saga?

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Anyone suffering and who's unfortunate enough to be working at this basket case should do one or more of the following:


o leave for the sake of your own health


o leave Unison. Join another recognised union that is not corrupted to the gills


o whistleblow on what's going on


o lodge a grievance against the bullies and their protectors with the aim of having them investigated, disciplined and removed


o covertly tape record your meetings with the crooks. That will be your ONLY chance of cutting through the embedded corruption, unseating the villains and exposing to the romantic, ignorant world beyond what is actually going on behind the veil, in the name of "public service"

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Maverick it sounds to me like unison are about as much use as a chocolate teapot!!!……so maybe pour some hot water into it?

but the best advice you will get on resolving the problem is to follow mr Cardin advice he knows all about this type of thing & I'm sure you can count on the support of the people on the voice!

Good luck

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Go loud, go proud and go public!


With four weeks until elections, minds are very much focussed on the goings on within our Council.


There will never be a better time to highlight the bullying, harassment and discrimination which continues to thrive unchecked.

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What's the betting they haven't already done that, Denise????


I can't see either Jesse or Bill wanting to get themselves involved in anything like this.


To take on this sort of issue, you need backbone and a determination to get to the bottom of the issue.... not just be fobbed off with " We are dealing with this situation via our own policies, procedures and protocols"


If they thought it would be a massive vote winner, they might have taken the time to try and help to resolve this.

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As I mentioned earlier, the only way to cut through this kind of a stitch up is to covertly record the villains involved.


As an honest person with integrity, you may have misgivings and feel guilty doing it, but in the fullness of time you'll be glad you did.


There's nothing worse than being left high and dry, having discovered your genial, smiling "friend" in Unison was your enemy all along and had been whispering with his management pals on the golf course or in some godforsaken boozer far enough away not to be seen - Birmingham or somewhere.


Councillors here are not really an option either. They're basically the enemy; by turns weak; not motivated; stitched up; or complicit, timeworn collaborators.


So by any measure... not to be trusted.


Maverick... I hope you secreted an Olympus about your person and went in smiling.


This will definitely be a thread to keep our beady eyes on if you did.

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It would be a total waste of time and effort to take this problem to the Leader of Herefordshire Council he doesn't need to know about staff issues. Good luck finding Alistair Neill, I'm not sure he's real! Unison have a proven track record of jumping into bed with the employer and if you can get passed Jesse Normans vetting system to speak with him you've achieved the impossible!


In answer to one of your questions, it is always of public interest what senior officers of Herefordshire Council are doing for those huge salaries we pay them! I personally would rather they weren't threatening members of staff!

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Tony Johnson has written a letter to the Hereford Times.


He complains that he has read that folks are making a lot of comments about secrecy, closed door meetings and a lack of transparency.


He goes on to say that none of this is true. (Good grief, how could we have got it all so wrong??)


My suggestion would be......if there is nothing to hide, and you are now embracing this open and transparent approach, Tony...... get yourself signed up to Hereford Voice, and answer some of these questions.


Perhaps someone should email him a handy link to this thread???

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It would be a total waste of time and effort to take this problem to the Leader of Herefordshire Council he doesn't need to know about staff issues. Good luck finding Alistair Neill, I'm not sure he's real!

Ditto Bill Norman. A man with a disgraceful history of colluding in and/or covering up corruption. He's not going to do anything to upset the status quo.

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If it didn't carry a mandatory life sentence, there was no chance whatsoever of me ending up on 'C' Wing being passed about like some small wrapped parcel or gift amongst the Prison Bulls and I knew beyond any measure of doubt my actions wouldn't come back to bite me, I'd get them all onto a bus, lock the bloody doors and drive them all away from Plough Lane to some desolate far away place and keep them there out of our bloody way.

Sweet loving Jesus there's no end to it.

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It would be a total waste of time and effort to take this problem to the Leader of Herefordshire Council he doesn't need to know about staff issues. Good luck finding Alistair Neill, I'm not sure he's real! Unison have a proven track record of jumping into bed with the employer and if you can get passed Jesse Normans vetting system to speak with him you've achieved the impossible!

In answer to one of your questions, it is always of public interest what senior officers of Herefordshire Council are doing for those huge salaries we pay them! I personally would rather they weren't threatening members of staff!

Wrong answer the Unison Rep was told categorically that a threat against a member of staff by a Senior Manager is not a Public Interest Disclosure and does not fall under the whistleblowing policy.

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It certainly does though. This was covered on the "bullying of disabled employees" thread.


So the council has senior staff who are prepared to lie as well as bully disabled employees as well as secretly collude with crooked Unison to get their way.


Why the hell are existing staff prepared to hand over £16 a month or whatever the subs are to queue up to be kicked in the teeth when it's their turn to be victimised?


They are surely not THAT stupid :'(

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Maverick the Council have a Whistleblowing Policy and a Code of Conduct, the following is an extract from the Code of Conduct. The Whistleblowing Policy says something about unethical conduct of officers can be reported under the WB policy. So not sure why you were told it wasn't a PID.


Any serious concerns that employees have about any aspect of service provision or the conduct of Officers or Members of the Council or others acting on behalf of the Council can be reported under this Policy.


This may be about something that:


a makes Officers feel uncomfortable in terms of known standards, their experience or the standards they believe the Council subscribe to; or


b is against the Council’s Constitution and policies; or


c falls below established standards of practice; or


d amounts to improper conduct.

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I've been doing some digging around and believe I have incontrovertible evidence that the Jesse Norman camp have known about this in great detail for a very long time.


That's why I'm keen to see what Mr Norman comes back with before following it up.  The timing of this is quite good and I believe this will encourage him to focus his mind on these events.

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Herefordshire; Hampshire; Stockport; Wirral. There were tales of treachery from far and wide when I linked this thread to Twitter...


" UNISON - doing the dirty RIGHT NOW on 1 of their own reps at Herefordshire Council http://t.co/RhzFi1RcY9 #WBsinTUNE

http://t.co/WaljYv1rJH "



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In an article published by the Hereford Times on the 30th September 2014 The Council Leader stated the following.


HEREFORDSHIRE Council’s political leaders are “not required†to know the details of bullying cases within the authority.


The council has confirmed its stance in a statement issued more than week after the Hereford Times asked for formal responses from former council leader Cllr John Jarvis and current leader Cllr Tony Johnson as to how much they knew of bullying allegations “hushed up†by secret settlement and severance payments.


Tony Johnson might want to revise that statement and start working on some new policies and procedures to put the following in place. Mr Johnson can you confirm you got the memo please?








Councils gain power to dismiss senior officers through vote


The government has passed new legislation that will allow senior officers in local authorities to be dismissed by a vote of the full council.

Included in the change are Section 151 officers and those holding other senior posts in local government.

Under the previous system, councils were required to appoint a ‘designated independent person’ to review cases before senior officers holding statutory positions were dismissed.

The cost of the review process is estimated to be at least £100,000 in legal fees, not including independent investigation and salary for the suspended employee. Local government minister Kris Hopkins cited one previous case that cost £420,000 and took 16 months to adjudicate.

“Slow and costly bureaucracy requires councils to appoint a ‘designated independent person’, usually a Queen’s Counsel, to review dismissal and disciplinary cases for chief executives,†he said. “Councils seeking to dismiss a chief executive for misconduct or poor performance have in some cases paid out inflated lump sums to avoid the cost of taking this bureaucratic route.â€

Hopkins added: “Ministers believe decisions by full council ensure proper democratic accountability, without the need for a centrally dictated process.â€

Under the new regime, council officers holding statutory positions can be dismissed by a council vote.

“The reforms give councils the power to decide on the best disciplinary process that will deliver value for money for local taxpayers, whilst retaining independent scrutiny and accountability to local people,†Hopkins said.

PSE asked the LGA, Unison and Solace for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

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And... a frequent participant in House of Commons savagery towards each other...  or in receipt of blackmail / thuggery from his own party whips...


...and not content with being "unable to remember / state whether he can remember being told about council bullying"...


...he's now doing a massive disservice to the targets of bullying at his local council...


...by accusing ME of bullying HIM.

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having read the exchange WirralPC, you did look like you were trying to bully/pressure a response.


the resending of emails, though i agree is not NECESSARY, is helpful. it helps point scoring to make him look incompetent by not being able to check his emails, but as someone who also receives a lot of emails, i can tell you that its none the less helpful not to have to recall specific key-words and hunt down an email that may not be the right one. you catch more wasps with honey than vinegar. not my opinion of jesse, but seems a concurrent analogy with your opinion of him.


politics, point scoring and grudges aside, i will take this with me to a councillor candidate meeting this week and bring it to the direct attention of current incumbents. i do not tolerate bully of any sort of any level and will see what i can get moving on this ASAP


all the best



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