This was an e-mail we received during the week:

this was our response:

Dear Mrs Owens

Please read the posts that your employer Mr Maxwell complains about carefully, before you send aggressive messages to people on his behalf, which we consider to be a code of conduct offence on both your and Mr Maxwell’s part.
Geoffrey did not write the “article” that you refer to.  It was received anonymously as a piece of paper mail from this person and posted in good faith.
It mentions no names and neither we nor, it seems, anyone else except Mr Maxwell know the persons involved. Neither is it clear whether the particular reference you complain about is investigation in the individual’s private capacity.  Mr Maxwell’s lawyer Power will confirm all this, or at least he should do if he is competent.
You may send a us (polite) letter if Mr Maxwell wishes to respond to the letter from your staff member, and indeed we would welcome comment by him on it.  We will then add it. When we invited Maxwell in February to comment he failed to do so.

Yours sincerely

Eva Churchman

We received nothing


Comment by John Vickerman

It seems that the anonymous letter comes from an employee concerned about what they see as serious wrongdoing in the workplace.  There is an element of frustration that the situation continues and they want the wrongdoing to be investigated.  Frustration perhaps also arises from a bullying control mentality that continues to cast a veil over it all.  Whistle blowing protection applies if the informant reasonably believes the information is true or likely to be true and WW is providing a service of disclosure where the main papers have been bought off, and no one else is taking the informant seriously.  As Margaret says the recalcitrant child response without any genuine attempt to identify all the “factually incorrect claims about our staff” makes one suspicious that the Owens response is one of bullying and control, not clarification of fact.


Comment by Margaret Stevenson-Wright

I have encountered Susan Owens in a couple of settings – and would not have attributed the style in which her email is written to what I have seen of her to date.

Her response in my view reflects an increasing and totally unacceptable trend where ‘appointed staff’ (along with those elected) are encouraged to treat ratepaying members of the public who articulate a view like recalcitrant children.

Additionally, it can be seen as an indictment on internal HR processes — when a staff member seeks redress for his/her unaddressed concerns – from an external party.

You are right to challenge her tone.