AN INVESTIGATION into claims by the former executive director at Stratford District Council that she was subject to sexual advances and inappropriate comments is being launched externally.
Isabel Edgar Briancon resigned in June after just six months as the authority’s top officer to take up a post with Reading Borough Council.
And in a non mincing of words Facebook post – which she later removed – she made allegations a councillor had licked his hand before ‘forcing’ it into her face, and that she was told she had ‘good breeding hips’ by another elected member.
Ms Edgar Briancon – who earned more than £80,000 a year – also claimed she was told to be more ‘chatty’ at an appraisal, and that she needed to ‘throw her opinions around a bit more’ and it would help if she was 6’2 tall.
The district council immediately said there would be an investigation as the story made national headlines.
And today the council revealed, although no formal complaint had been received, the allegations were serious enough to investigate the ‘individuals concerned’ externally. No councillors have so far been named.
The Conservative-lead authority is also calling on councillors and staff with ‘similar concerns’ to help with the investigation.
A spokesperson said: “Stratford-on-Avon District Council has zero tolerance in relation to any form of discrimination including alleged sexism.
“The district council therefore takes any such allegations extremely seriously and has already committed to fully investigate the concerns about elected members’ conduct raised by a former employee, and the other allegations made about the culture of the council.
“The investigations are being conducted under the Members’ Code of Conduct in respect of the individual members concerned.
“Once the investigation is complete, then subject to any legal requirements, the intention is to publish the report in full where there is evidence that a member has breached the code.”
The report of the investigation is likely to be published by the end of September.