S8
Monday, 24 July 2017
SBC
Index
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
Exclusive

Update #1
Update #2
Update #3 The Pay-off


Slough Council's Chief Executive Suspended

Formal investigation to be announced this morning

Reporter: Paul Janik


Slough Council's chief executive, Ruth Elizabeth Bagley OBE, has been secretly suspended.

This morning the council will announce an investigation into a un-named top official, which the Slough Times exclusively reveals to be Mrs Ruth Bagley of Bower Way, Cippenham, Slough.

Escorted out of the Council's head office

Multiple sources told the Slough Times that on Friday 15 July 2016, late in the afternoon, council staff escorted Ruth Bagley out of the council's headquarters at St Martin's Place, on the corner of Bath Road and Montem Lane.

At the offices main entrance, Mrs Bagley was compelled to surrender her council identification badge, council mobile phone, pass, keys and security fob.

Mrs Bagley spontaneously declared she would take personal leave.

Within days Mrs Bagley submitted a sick note, which the Slough Times understands mentions 'stress'. The stress may relate to her private life because there were never any reports or indications Mrs Bagley suffered from 'stress' at her workplace. Sources claim she always appeared fit and well.

Slough Council's internal announcement

From: _Communications
Sent: 25 July 2016
Subject: Chief Executive

Dear all,

Ruth Bagley, the Chief Executive is currently off sick and we are hoping she will be well enough to return later in August.

Roger Parkin will be acting Chief Executive in Ruth's absence and any chief executive related matters should be referred to him.

We will, of course, update you if the situation changes.

With best wishes

Communications.

2007

Mrs Bagley came to Slough Council in 2007, from the small South Hams district council in Devon. The conspicuous differences between little South Hams and larger dynamic Slough caused some to question Mrs Bagley's suitability.

At the secret council meeting to appoint Mrs Bagley as chief executive (technically known as a 'Part 2' meeting with the press and public excluded) Cllr Rob Anderson - then Labour Leader - walked out of the council meeting followed by all the Labour councillors.

Labour-run Slough Council have banned the public seeing the official record ('the minutes') of that meeting but administration councillors present told the Slough Times Cllr Anderson declared the choice of Ruth Bagley "a political stitch-up".

Two Slough councillors who contacted South Hams Conservative councillors in 2007 stated Mrs Bagley had been described by the Devon councillors as 'left-wing Labourite' and 'Loony Left'.

Awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal by the then Labour government in 2007 for unspecified services to local government, folks in Devon are still uncertain what she actually did to justify her medal.

Mrs Bagley's salary package of £186,000 per year is worth £45,000 more than the salary paid to the UK's prime minister.

Arrival in Slough

From the beginning, Mrs Bagley was detached from important community issues. For example she ignored repeated concerns when all the lights in the long pitch-black Salt Hill Park railway tunnel were out for a whole year. Only when this reporter started to take the matter to the High Court in London, new lighting was quickly installed in less than 33 hours.

There was no excuse for Mrs Bagley ignoring a serious public safety issue for a whole year. That is not acceptable behaviour for any chief executive, especially not when her council's nauseating slogan is excellence in customer services.

Another example of Mrs Bagley ignoring problems was a council housing problem

When the Slough Times exposed an ignored defective light out for 2 years in dark isolated Baylis Park, an anonymous council person complained to Thames Valley Police Slough Times had mentioned Mrs Bagley's name in the article.

Council chief executive Ruth Bagley made two all-expenses-paid trips to The People's Republic of China, generously funded by Slough's unsuspecting Council Tax Payers. These business trips, including sight-seeing, were to improve Slough yet Slough's citizens say no 'improvements' have arrived and Slough is getting worse.

A youthful picture of Mrs Bagley, some say created using Slough Council staff and equipment, can be seen on her Linked-In web page

No Comment

Repeated requests to the council's new political leadership, in effect Mrs Bagley's boss, for a comment about the Ruth Bagley affair, have been unsuccessful.

Several council sources told the Slough Times a council officer-lead investigation into the chief executive's behaviour is about to start.

A parallel investigation into the alleged cover-up, by the council's former political leader Cllr Rob Anderson, of Ruth Bagley's activities is likely.

Anonymous whispers say 'Slough Children's Trust' and 'water-tight evidence'. Sources say if other things emerge more investigations are likely.

Happy Council Faces

Following Mrs Bagley's departure on 15 July, the Slough Times has privately spoken to junior council staff about Ruth Bagley's surprise suspension. Unanimously junior staff welcomed the action. Several told the Slough Times they were afraid of Mrs Bagley's anger and scared of loosing their jobs for no reason. When invited to say more, they declined citing they risked being disciplined for speaking to 'the press'.

Since Mrs Bagley's suspension the Slough Times has learnt senior staff allege they have been threatened with dismissal for assisting councillors Mrs Bagley is said to personally dislike.

These allegations resemble similar un-verified claims made over many years to the Slough Times by council staff who said, at that time, they were afraid to speak-out.

The Slough Times has observed some really excellent staff resigning and joining other local authorities because of the alleged 'repressive atmosphere' within some parts of the council.

The Slough Times has experience of a temporary senior official (an experienced solicitor) who dared to assert some of Mrs Bagley's decisions were wrong. Mrs Bagley reacted by banning the official from having any contact with the Slough Times on any council matter.

Regrettably the Slough Times has been unable to obtain Mrs Bagley's version of events.

We hope the Mrs Bagley investigation will be the first in a wide range of enquiries into matters which occurred at Slough Unitary Authority under the reign of this unpopular, unelected and unaccountable chief executive.

We discovered only yesterday that serious loop-holes in the council's procurement procedures permitted criminal exploitation. Yet more questions to ask Ruth Bagley and Cllr Rob Anderson.

We urge the council's new political leadership (since 6 June) of Cllrs Munawar and Hussain to rapidly establish a second powerful scrutiny committee (4 are allowed by law; Slough has just one) to investigate the increasing number of worrying allegations.

Increasing numbers of Slough's citizens welcome a police investigation into different council happenings. However one detective inspector told a complainant, when potentially incriminating evidence in the council's possession vanished,

It looks like someone has tidied-up the file.

We expect more surprises in the coming weeks.

If Cllrs Munawar and Hussain are truly genuine about openness, accountability and transparency, then its time to permanently remove the opaque concealment and let the bright sunlight flood-in.

Council horrified by major leak

Panicked Slough Council substitutes this football story for the serious investigation statement

Summary of events on 10 August 2016

  1. Colnbrook's Community Association tweeted Slough Council about the Bagley suspension.
  2. An anonymous council person, believed to be Katherine Pratt, the press officer and Communications Manager, repeatedly refused to deny Mrs Bagley's suspension.
  3. Colnbrook.Info published a short article with a link to the tweets.
  4. Slough Council's top people were alarmed and annoyed The Secret of the Year had leaked out.
  5. Sources say press officer Kate Pratt was furious and sent emails allegedly slagging-off the Slough Times reporter.
  6. Reactions from the public have been swift. Without exception everyone has expressed their happiness.
  7. An unknown person has complained to Thames Valley Police alleging the Slough Times article has alarmed and distressed chief executive Ruth Bagley.
  8. Senior journalists say the sensational news article has not broken any laws. Some expect Mrs Bagley's police friends to raid the Slough Times and seize all computer equipment and mobile phones in revenge for the news story.

  9. Instead of publishing the intended press release about the disciplinary enquiry, Slough Council published a story about a football pitch.
  10. Hidden in an obscure place on Slough Council's web site, are details of Statutory Officers' Disciplinary Panel.
  11. The panel consists of three unknown persons
    • David Comben
    • Louis Lee
    • Murray Litvak

    The Slough Times has been unable to find details of these people on the council's web site. Knowing the dominance of the chief executive, there are concerns who actually appointed them and how effectively they will perform.

    Slough Times research has located 3 people having the same names as panel members. Their details are:-

    Murray Litvak

    • Independent Commercial Real Estate Professional
    • Lives in Twickenham, Middlesex
    • South Bank Poly B.Sc. in estate management
    • Disciplinary panel member at Runnymede Borough Council since 2012
    • Member of Staines Boat Club

    Louis Lee

    • Roehampton University, English faculty lecturer
    • Ph.D. in unknown subject, thought to be arts based
    • Chairman of Police and Crime Commissioner's Joint Independent Audit Committee
    • Disciplinary panel member at Bracknell Council since ???

    David Comben

    • Retired
    • Former chief Trading Standards officer at West Berkshire Council (Newbury)
    • Extensive experience of local government, particularly judicial aspects e.g. magistrate‚Äôs court, disciplinary and appeal hearings.
    • Lives in Tilehurst.
    • Disciplinary panel member at Wokingham Council since 2012
  12. The panel has its first meeting on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 at 10.30 hours.
  13. Slough Council has deliberately prevented the public from knowing precisely what the panel will do - other than to kick-out the press and public from the 'public meeting'. The only details on the council's web site are:

    It is recommended that the Press and Public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the item in Part 2 of the Agenda, as it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information relating to an individual and information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual; and the disclosure would not be in the public interest as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (amended).

    So much for transparency, accountability and openness !