A disciplinary panel has recommended Bury MBC’s director of children’s services be dismissed with immediate effect after concluding he was guilty of serious misconduct in relation to a historic child safeguarding issue.
However, the panel, which met on Monday and Tuesday this week, was unable to reach any conclusions on the conduct of chief executive Mike Owen as he had resigned on Friday afternoon.
A statement released by the council this afternoon said: “The panel noted with concern the findings of the independent investigation reports regarding Mr Owen’s role in the historic child safeguarding issue under review, but noted that as Mr Owen was no longer an employee of the council it had no jurisdiction to reach any conclusions on the matter.”
The suspension of Mr Owen and two other senior officers in relation to the handling of matters that arose after a former councillor pleaded guilty to making indecent images of children was confirmed by the council in March. The other two suspensions have been reported locally as being director of children’s services Mark Carriline and monitoring officer Jayne Hammond.
While Ms Hammond had lessons to be learned she did not have direct responsibility for child safeguarding, the panel found. It also noted an independent report into the matter found her legal advice had not been wrong and there was no evidence of an ulterior motive.
In respect of what the panel described as a “second senior officer”, understood to be Mr Carriline, the panel said: “The panel considered the recommendations of the [independent] report and concluded that the officer was guilty of serious misconduct, further, the officer had failed to maintain trust and confidence of the council and accordingly the panel recommends to the full council that the officer is dismissed from the service without notice.”
The council statement said full council would now consider the recommendations with the benefit of the opinion of the three independent persons appointed to the panel in accordance with the governing statutory provisions.
Deputy chief executive Pat Jones-Greenhalgh will continue as interim chief executive until a new chief executive is appointed.