Former leader of Devon County Council censured for sexual harassment

Credit: ITV West Country

A Councillor in Devon has been censured for "serious and significant breaches" of the County Council’s Code of Conduct following allegations of sexual harassment.

Councillor Brian Greenslade has been issued with a notice of public censure, the strongest measure against an elected member available to a council.

The Committee has also called on the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the Council to remove Councillor Greenslade from all committees, sub-committees and outside bodies.

The Standards Committee decision was made after consideration of an independent investigation.

This involved face-to-face interviews with members of staff and Councillor Greenslade who also had the opportunity to comment on the report.

The Notice of Censure states:

Councillor Greenslade is hereby formally censured for his sexual misconduct against female members of Devon County Council staff that resulted in the findings of serious and significant breaches of the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct.

In particular, the sustained and repeated sexual harassment of female members of staff and abuse of his position as a senior and established member of the Council over a prolonged period fell well short of the conduct that can reasonably be expected of an elected member.

Councillor Greenslade’s lack of insight into how his actions may have affected the female members of staff and his indifference to that effect of his actions is of serious concern as are his actions during the investigation which demonstrated that he was prepared to put his own credibility and reputation above his responsibilities to the Council, its staff and his constituents.

This continued poor behaviour falls far below the standards that can reasonably be expected, either by a councillor or anyone.

Chair of the Standards Committee Councillor Caroline Chugg said the weight of evidence "was such that we could reach no other conclusion than to find Councillor Greenslade in clear breach of our Code of Conduct".

“On receiving a serious complaint of sexual harassment and abuse involving a number of female employees over several years, we ordered an immediate independent investigation.

“As a senior politician this was a clear abuse of his position with conduct that falls far short of that expected of those in public office.

“All of us in public life have an absolute and unshakeable duty to ensure our staff can go about their important work for the people of Devon free from harassment and abuse.”

Chief Executive Phil Norrey added that the council has a duty "to provide a safe workplace free from all forms of harassment very seriously" and has "always promoted and championed the highest standards of personal conduct both from our staff and elected Members".