Bullying culture at RMBC

Dear Rothpol Readers post. Was this an attempted entrapment? If not I would be grateful for contact from the source. Rothpol.

Disputed contents removed, to allow consideration and for the reasons stated below.

A clear case of intimidation is beginning to reveal itself, check the comments. is Sir Woodstock right?

A point on commenters that obscure their identity behind proxies or the Tor Network, also known as the ‘dark net’ where the criminals hide, are unlikely to be approved. Unfortunately this will introduce some delay in moderation, my apologies:

JC R 30_10_2014

48 thoughts on “Bullying culture at RMBC

  1. How much longer can Roger Stone be allowed to stay silent on his role in all this? Bullying, CSE, missing files, collusion? Where is he hiding and why hasn’t he been brought before the council or parliamentary committee to answer questions?


  2. Paul Lakin; ‘For too long this council has had a closed culture of bullying and intimidation that was ‘macho and sexist’ as Ms Jay puts it. All of us need to ensure that Rotherham benefits from a fresh start, by its Council applying principles of openness, inclusive decision-making, and true accountability to the people who elected us.’

    The OP is a complete opposite to Lakin’s statement. Either RMBC does have a fresh start and new culture or it does’nt.


  3. Some years ago I had a meeting in Norfolk House with Tom Sweetman the then Innovations Manager, a catch all job title if ever there was one! He told me that his previous job was as a publicity manager in a theatre! Not surprised at all about the affair for his whole team consisted solely of women! One wall of his office was entirely covered in awards, from bodies and organisations I had never heard of! I thought at the time the awards certainly don’t reflect the level of service the people of Rotherham get from their council. I later learned that RMBC nominate other councils for awards and they reciprocate by nominating RMBC! Housing is just one of the rotten services by a rotten council in a rotten borough!


  4. So who is going to sort this out, who will step up to the plate to do so ?..will it be the Council itself ? Or will it be the Town Hall ? Or will it be the Labour Party? Not understanding fully how things work in this Town. Maybe some one will enlighten me.


  5. And they pretend they don’t read this website! It’s a pity Collins et al didn’t respond with such alacrity regarding the CSE! Bullying is rife at RMBC! Every word of my post is true, try suing me Mrs Collins!


    • So the post on an earlier thread about going after this blog was a true threat after all! I wonder why RMBC are trying to close down debate on RothPol? Who is frightened? Mrs Collins you may close down one blog but you do realise many more will spring up in its place.


      • Is this Ms Collins who took legal action to silence the Times initial CSE report in order to protect those in power? She needs to go!


      • You misunderstand,

        RMBC is rightly responding to a statement made on this site regarding it’s employees.

        The statement was presumably made by a person who is trying to close Rothpol down.


  6. In the circumstances Ms Collins’ could not respond in any other way.
    Where and when has RMBC suggested that they don’t read this website?
    Of course they do – RMBC Press Office twitter account follows Rothpol’s account.


    • Why is the council lawyer, paid for by the tax payers of Rotherham, using her time to silence those who pay her wages? Also, why aren’t the two individuals who are the subject of the posting perusing this in a private capacity? Why is the council legal team involved? Please explain as I don’t see why Collins should be involved or acting on behalf of these men.


      • If I were an employee who was seemingly libeled on a blog for my performance in my employment , I would expect my my employer to take action. I would not respond in my personal capacity.
        I would suggest that since RMBC Press Office do monitor the site, someone from the press office saw the topic and alerted Legal department directly. It is what I would expect and hope any employer would do.


    • RR: I was under the impression that the Council had instructed councillors not to participate in this site, not that that stopped them, Akhtar was continuously posting under a pseuodnym!. By replying to a post (albeit with a threat of litigation) isn’t that what Collins has done. That bullying is so rife is the reason why the notorious bully Akhtar was tolerated so easily. Officers took the view that one more bully in a gang of bullies will not be amiss!


      • Please don’t confuse RMBC Councillors with RMBC Employees.
        but this is my last reply on this thread so you can now have the last word. .


  7. I suppose Ms Collins is responding officially – if it is really her – as she and others at RMBC have an actual duty of care to all employees if a complaint has been made by someone regarding this issue. She has to respond and for that she can not be faulted. Indeed she could be rightly faulted if she didn’t support them. It’s in the RMBC staff guidelines and it is part of her role. And you can’t blame her for that.

    If the letter is an official one I suggest the person who made the claim re the named individuals (and actually named them) provide evidence to help Rothpol, or take the matter up with a third party at RMBC themselves; I suggest Mr Ryles’s Complaint’s Department – he is actually very good. Otherwise there has to be an apology if the letter is real and there is no evidence to back it up or the source will not back RothPol up. Actually I agree with that as if such accusations were made without evidence regarding any of my colleagues I would seek redress or clarification or both.

    Now before some think I am defending RMBC blindly I am not. I know bullying goes off with some at RMBC but in this case if It’s simply a case of accusations without back up then it puts RothPol in a difficult situation – and to be fair it also does RMBC. It is also not fair to the individuals named; and I believe 100% in fairness and transparency – as well as justice for all.

    This does not mean however that RothPol can’t publish information re bullying in the future where -it exists – just that people who post accusations have to be willing to verify them;and I mean verify them with evidence. Such accusations go beyond mere opinion and people who name individuals in such a manner have to put their head above he parapet. Something I actually think is correct and the right thing to do. I have and would if it was me.

    Then again it could be a wind up; I’ve seen it before. Just like the similar Anon post on another thread. It seems a strange coincidence to be honest. Still it is a serious development and I’m afraid its over to the original ‘poster’ now.

    As to why RMBC employ legal staff; all councils do its standard practice.




  8. I would like to thank Ms Collins for having the bottle to surface and take on a such an issue for RMBC; therefore I would like to know what action the legal department took to protect abused children in Rotherham.

    Hopefully we will see copies of the robust letters from the legal department to the police for failing to protect children from rape.

    One further question what role if any did Ms Collins have in the legal action against the Times?


  9. This letter is not written in the usual language of a local govt solicitor. It may have a signature on it, but I would guess its been written by someone else. I would have a guess at a notoriously thin-skinned and paranoid chief officer either drafting it himself, or else ensuring his ‘hands are clean’ by handing the task to his trusty corpulent bag carrier. In the current power vacuum, and with attention directed at more high profile service areas, others will fight like cornered rats to preserve their salary and status.


  10. How completely laughable! I don’t believe the sender of that letter has a proper grasp on reality or for that matter civil law!
    In my opinion any alleged incorrect comments would be more in the slander territory than Libel ,due to the relatively small amount of people viewing them.
    May i also remind Rotherham Borough council they are not the law and sending out pre court action letters stating they would be “successful” in any claim clearly is a breach of the pre court action legal protocol, and opens the accusation that it serves only to act as a threat by menace; the menace being the implied costs involved.

    Under recent changes in the defamation law, people are now expected to have thicker skin and can no longer use the Defamation route as a convenient method of silencing others opinions.

    According to case law, a previous judgment in Smith V ADVFN (another internet libel case ) compensation in libel cases should be considered as a whole and not on an individual case by case basis – in order to avoid what the judgment calls ‘overcompensation’.
    Judge Eady goes on to say ..
    “any distress and hurt feelings suffered would have to be compensated by reference to the totality of the publications and not on the artificial basis of the sum total of the impact upon his feelings by one individual publication; otherwise there would obviously be a significant risk of overcompensation.”
    Eady J observed that they were (a) read by relatively few people, who share an interest in the subject matter, (b) like contributions to a casual conversation (the analogy sometimes being drawn with people chatting in a bar) and were (c) often uninhibited, casual and ill thought-out. The Judge also noted that the participants often used pseudonyms or “avatars”, and that this was likely to be a “dis-inhibiting factor”. The register of these kinds of forums was characterised by witty retort and as such the Judge acknowledged that “give and take” was expected of participants. Thus the Judge considered that in the context of defamation law, postings and communications of this kind are more “akin to slanders”.

    So may i poignantly ask, just what reputation do Roddis and Cray have to ruin exactly? I ask this mealy as that is the benchmark for judgment on defamation.
    Anything whatsoever from their past could be used in court to help illustrate their character by the defense.

    Heavens only knows what they (RBC) think would happen when the full disclosure rule period starts after making such a civil claim and they then having to lay out their whole file archive as potential evidence against themselves?

    In the event of this suicidal civil action, you would then have access to every file and document from the council, save the mysteriously missing ones!!!

    I think these people remain faithful on others not understanding the defamation law and moreover the disclosure rules when they send out these threats willy nilly.
    Save that, the most outrageous delusion at the town hall must be the thought that in any circumstances whatsoever any bar judge finding in favor of a Rotherham Borough council?


    • Does the judgment in Smith V ADVFN apply to active blogs such as this one where unsolicited and anonymous comments can appear as discussion topics – not just as comments on an existing topic, or just members-only bulletin boards ?


      • You are correct with regards ADVFN requiring a registration, but as can be seen in the ADVFN V Smith case, users simply register in false names and they had to be traced via a Norwich Pharmacal order compelling their I.S.P provider to hand over to Smiths solicitor the names and address of the alleged posters accused of defamation.
        On this very blog likewise you are required to provide contact details and also use avatars, so broadly speaking the requirements are similar to ADVFN.
        However that is rather a moot point, would RBC want a full disclosure to a political blogger brought about by in a civil defamation claim that stood a good chance of being thrown out on the basis of “no substantial tort” ?
        Furthermore, for any defamation claim to proceed it has to set out that any such alleged defamation has caused serious harm to reputation.
        I personally don’t have possession of enough facts to say if that would be straightforward or not in this case!
        What i will say again is this. Anything at all from the claimants past can be used in court to provide a picture of their reputations they seek to protect.
        Likewise they will not get the “benefit” of the doubt under new defamation law
        The Defamation act 2013 (1) A statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant.
        Section 3 of the Defamation act 2013 also provide defense my way of honest opinion, and section 4 also provides defense for publication on matter of public interest.

        One last point ,without a letter of claim or any other pre-action protocol that letter can safely be filed with the rest of the junk mail in the recycling bin. It has no more legal worth than a double glazing flyer.


  11. Agree RMBC officers do not like to be challenged. They do not like Councillors who are better educated than them. Few as they may be


  12. Congratulations to this blog, if the letter is genuine which I doubt, then you’ve not only attracting new contributors, but the wrath of the authorities. Must be uncomfortable reading for the political phlebs in the Rotherham Labour Party to have the dirty linen air on here.


  13. I remember when Scargill stood for the national leadership of the NUM he said, “Margaret Thatcher doesn’t like me, the Labour Party don’t like me and the TUC don’t like me that is why you should vote for me”. Well Rik the Labour party don’t like you and the Labour councillors in Rotherham don’t like you so they are damn good reasons to support you. It is obvious they do not know what kind of intimidation you have dealt with in the past and you are, I am glad to say you are still here.
    Dave Smith


  14. If I was employed by RMBC and subject to workplace bullying and harassment the first person I would be asking to explain their role in stopping any such behavior would be Ms Collins.

    Spectacular own goal from the legal department, I do hope UNISON, Thompson Solicitors etc have down loaded this page.

    See you in court!


  15. For the purpose of clarity and in order to aid any future recipient of threatening correspondence originating from their local authority, the following summary could be of use.

    The Law of defamation is governed by common law, specifically The Defamation Act 996 and the Defamation Act 2013 (the Act)
    Under the recent review of the Act, one of the main goals is to discourage trivial defamation claims.

    Following a ruling in 1992 by the law lords, Derbyshire County Council VS The Times newspaper. A local authority is not entitled to issue a defamation claim in its own name.
    One council unsuccessfully attempted to avoid this ruling by employing the ‘Localism act’, however the above ruling is still considered law.

    If a defendant is of the opinion the authority is circumnavigating the Derbyshire County Council V The Times newspaper ruling using employees’ defamation claims as a means of silencing its critics, it can be appealed and the court may strike it out!

    Individual employees of a Local Authorities can issue claims of defamation,(without local authority indemnity) however for any such claim to succeed it would have to cause “serious harm to the reputation” of that person ( section 1 defamation Act 2013)

    (1)A statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant.

    A judge recently handed down a judgment addressing the question of what amounts to “serious harm” in the context of the Defamation Act 2013.
    The judge ruled that it was not enough to show that the alleged defamatory statement is “bound to cause” a change in people’s perception;
    The bar is now set very high.The judge also indicated that if anyone complained you had made a defamatory statement, even apologising or retraction at a later date may be enough to defeat any future claim,as that alone would have to great degree limited ‘serious harm’.

    A local authority may be sued for defamation.Moreover it can be potentially sued if any of its employees or agents whilst acting in the scope of their capacity in the authority make claims that are defamatory.

    My own legal observations on the aforementioned threatening letter is as follows.

    1.How would these two employees be suffering any “serious harm” by any alleged defamatory comments made on this website?

    2. It could well be reasonably set out that this is no more that a blatant attempt to bypass the Derbyshire CC VS The Times ruling, as it is directed to a political blogger with “previous history” with RBC.

    3. The relatively small exposure and web impressions of any alleged defamatory comment via this site would make the claim trivial, even if it could be illustrated as defamatory.

    4.The two said employees are generally not well known publicly and thus would find it difficult to explain to the court how two relatively anonymous council employees would be “seriously harmed” by such comments.

    5.Any chance of this defamatory claim being successful are at best distinctly remote and appear poorly judged.

    6. Most normal minded people could easily start to form the opinion that this is nothing more than an cloddish attempt at retribution in order to silence a political blogger by way of pseudo threats of costly court action.

    I remain faithful to the opinion that it should be recycled with the rest of the garbage mail.


  16. Dear anon,

    I apologize for the length of this post.

    As someone who has been bullied majorly the last person I would have asked for support is Ms Collins. I refer you to the current thread on here (and more) re her MO as a major concern and also her lack of credibility or ability to offer support in the manner required in such instances.

    Personally, I sought assistance from Unison and Thompsons and from the onset I have nothing but praise for the support offered throughout and way beyond; indeed Unison are still offering support in so many associated ways even though my complaint was successful.

    Unlike Ms Collins – who sees every issue through the eyes of her possible personal and party interest – Unison saw my case as an issue to be supported and resolved to my satisfaction placing me at the centre and sole focus of all proceedings; they, along with Thompson’s, dissected my employers behaviour professionally, procedurally, legally and thoroughly and then ensured justice was achieved. At all times their only concern what was happening and what had happened to me and others as individuals. I wasn’t used as a political football – as Ms Collins would have done – I was seen as a human soul who needed support to right a wrong. And that I maintain – even though I personally experienced much heartache and associated heath problems – is the way it should be done.

    Ms Collins – as she has shown – does not posses the ability to take up such instances in the same way. She sees such cases as an opportunity to simply make short term political points and advance her own soundbite based perspectives for possible career advancement and possible votes. Her tendency to issue inane statements – as is Ms Collins’s MO – do not a good representative make.

    In such circumstances, although it is difficult at times (tears are the easy bit believe me) in the first instance RMBC guidelines – indeed any employers guidelines- and then if necessary any legal procedures have to be followed by the letter. It does take time – a great deal of discussion and meetings – and a great deal of immeasurable personal angst is experienced during the process. But in the end that is the way to do it if you are to be successful. I would – and could not – trust Ms Collins to offer me or anyone such support without her thinking ‘what; in this for me and my party’. And I would advise anyone who finds themselves in similar situations to keep a million miles away from her. Their case would be lost before it began is she got involved considering the way she behaves so irrationally.

    Anon, wild outburst and the irrational soundbite focused approach of individuals like Ms Collins would not only have hindered any proceedings I and others encountered, but compromised any outcome; in fact I will go further than that – Ms Collin’s approach and her inability to see anything other than a political opportunity beckoning would have meant the cases in hand would have collapsed at the onset. Employers and their LEGAL representatives are quick to jump on any weakness; and Ms Collins’ approach would be a weakness they would relish and exploit to the full. To put it shortly; case dismissed.

    While such proceedings with employers are on going both involved parties have to adhere to confidentiality while investigations are in place and that goes all the way to any tribunal if it occurs. Even has someone who had major issues with RMBC and others I actually agree with that while the issue is being dealt with. The legal system may not be perfect – and the Government’s changes to Employment Law have made it less so – but it is the one that has to be used.

    Now if anyone does have issues with the current – and possible future Employment Laws – including bullying – as I do – I suggest they question authority and campaign, Indeed in that instance they could contact Ms Collins and ask for help – I’m sure she has a lot to say. Indeed they could start by first asking her to explain in full what she feels needs to be in place in LAW to improve, not lesson Employee’s Rights. Hopefully her views will not match those of her MEP colleague Mr Bashir’s – which even though he attempted to hid them once published – are even more draconian than even this current Governments. Maybe she can explain on here. I’m all ears on that one.


    PS: for the attention of MS Collins here is reference Mr Bashir’s wish list.




  17. I’ll expand this debate a little if I may: Regarding the role of Monitoring Officers in the handling of complaints, there are no regulations, and no guidance, about this. This is because the Localism Act is silent on what arrangements a local authority has to put in place to investigate or determine complaints, beyond requiring that an Independent Person be involved in the process if necessary.
    That is why a local authority’s Monitoring Officer is among the posts that are considered ‘politically restricted’, ensuring their impartiality.
    What does “politically restricted” actually mean in practice? As far as I can see it means that
    the officer actively support councillors as part of their political activities i.e. they cannot state public support, they cannot canvas or leaflet on behalf of a candidate etc. but that has no real relevance as to whether they are impartial when handling complaints under the councillors Code of Conduct. There is ample evidence in Anston that the Monitoring Officer has been substantially biased towards the majority party and against minority councillors – which is tantamount to bullying and is VERY damaging to the quality and robustness of debates and to local democracy.

    Monitoring Officers need to be very conscious of Section 25 of the Localism Act; predetermination.

    Click to access LocalismActSection25PredJS.pdf

    Jacqui Collins is IMV a fully paid up member of the Fudge and Deny party. Hmmmm…………..I wonder where and from whom she learnt??


    • SKT:
      I was responding to the OP which contains Jacqui Collins’ signature.
      When you posted this; “As someone who has been bullied majorly the last person I would have asked for support is Ms Collins.” I (wrongly) inferred you were discussing our esteemed Director of Legal Services (whatever happened to simple titles like ‘Borough Solicitor’?) A simple mistake but no harm done I think?


  18. So for someone like myself who as never had a position in politics, am I right in thinking , you can name persons of wrong doing if you were personally affected, and to do this have you got to be able to prove it legally.
    To mention names with out proof , are you liable in law ? Is it as clear cut as this ? Anyone ?


  19. Pingback: Ed Miliband – the Albatrosses hanging round his neck? | Rotherham Politics

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