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Bournemouth whistleblower absolved

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A senior official suspended after raising concerns about a controversial outsourcing deal has been reinstated in his job.

Bournemouth BC has negotiated a compromise agreement with whistleblowing chief accountant Stephen Parker and supplier Mouchel following a six month investigation.

Mr Parker’s suspension has been lifted and he will now be employed by Mouchel, which took over the council’s HR and finance departments in January.

A joint statement from the trio said: “Mr Parker accepts that the council has made its decision to transfer financial service to Mouchel Limited following democratic process and scrutiny of the factors affecting that decision and it is appropriate for them to move forward on that basis.

“The council accepts that Mr Parker made public the information contained in his email of the 11th of October with honest intent.

“The council has withdrawn the suspension of Mr Parker and has informed Mouchel Limited, his new employer, of that decision. In all of these circumstances, we the undersigned hereby state that all matters have now been resolved by mutual agreement between the parties.”

The letter was signed by Mr Parker, Bournmouth chief executive Tony Williams and Mouchel director Anthony Williams.

Mr Parker emailed councillors about his concerns ahead of a crucial meeting about the outsourcing deal.

He wrote: “I have been placed in a very difficult position - I have a professional duty to ensure my concerns are considered prior to a formal council decision.

“The cabinet report does not provide an adequate assessment of risks or deliver an independent and robust evaluation of the two options considered.”

The extension of Mouchel’s contract with Bournemouth - to outsource finance and HR departments following an earlier deal covering IT, facilities management and revenues and benefits - was delayed due to concerns about the financial stability of the company.

The deal went ahead in January, following an independent financial review of the company and the introduction of contingency payments in the event of Mouchel’s collapse.

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