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Councillor caught ‘bullying’ again after ‘attacking’ employee on blog

Sunday, 3 December 2023 08:00

By Charlie Smith - Local Democracy Reporter

A parish councillor has been found “bullying” again after “attacking” an employee on her blog.

Councillor Linda Derrick of Hughenden Parish Council posted personal details about a council staff member on her website, lindaderrick.com.

The grandmother’s actions amounted to multiple breaches of the councillor code of conduct, a hearing sub-committee of Buckinghamshire Council has found.

This included disclosing information the councillor knew or should have known was confidential; in bullying the employee by disclosing their personal data; and in showing disrespect to the staff member.

A decision notice read: “The Sub-Committee agreed that councillor Derrick’s conduct in making the disclosures did amount to bullying.”

It added: “The Sub-Committee also found that the publication of the information was inherently disrespectful, and a form of attack.”

The committee ordered the parish council to ask Cllr Derrick to apologise to the staff member, get her to undertake training, and restrict her access to council offices.

Cllr Derrick, who lives in Widmer End, was previously found by a hearing in March 2023 to have “bullied” a council clerk.

The councillor previously denied bullying staff, and in response to the committee’s fresh ruling against her, said she “does not know what information I am alleged to have released”.

She told the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “The only personal information I have been asked to remove from my blogs is the names of the clerks and councillors.

“I think the public are entitled to have this information. I don’t have any personal data to release and I have not released confidential information.”

The findings against Cllr Derrick follow months of bitter wrangling over her involvement at Hughenden Parish Council.

Residents say the council has been reduced to a “crumbling institution” as councillors have been preoccupied with dealing with the councillor and hiring new staff rather than conducting council business.

Meanwhile council meetings have seen councillors threaten to quit and descended into shouting matches.

Writing on her blog, Cllr Derrick has criticised the council for “massively underspending on things which would directly benefit residents” despite having “£600,000 in the bank”.

She also referred to the council’s financial situation as she responded to the latest findings that she “bullied” a staff member.

She told the LDRS that the complaint “might have been made by someone who has contributed to Hughenden Parish Council’s unsustainable financial position and its vulnerability to fraud and corruption”.

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