Northumberland County Council chief executive Daljit Lally to return to post after 'extended leave'

Northumberland County Council’s chief executive is returning to her post after a period of ‘extended leave’.

By Ben O'Connell
Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 12:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 12:12 pm
Northumberland County Council chief executive Daljit Lally

A spokesman for the authority has confirmed that Daljit Lally will be resuming her role in the council.

However, the council spokesman would not confirm a date for her return to work, with some suggesting it would be as early as Wednesday, October 7.

The LDRS has also been told that initial investigations by an independent consultant have found no evidence of wrongdoing in relation to allegations against Mrs Lally.

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She was placed on ‘extended leave’ in early August, just after she emailed all county councillors with what she claimed were ‘serious whistle-blowing concerns’.

This row with the Conservative administration has resulted in a range of allegations and counter-allegations in leaked emails since, with Mrs Lally and the political leadership declining to comment.

Three cabinet members – Cllrs Wayne Daley, Veronica Jones and Cath Homer – resigned, before Cllr Peter Jackson was ousted as leader by a single vote in a motion of no confidence on Wednesday, September 2.

This was made possible by three Tory rebels – former deputy leader Cllr Daley plus Cllrs Christine Dunbar and Mark Swinburn, who all represent Cramlington wards.

Cllr Glen Sanderson was elected as the new council leader on Wednesday, September 23, with Cllr Richard Dodd, the former business chairman, as deputy leader.

Ahead of the meeting to elect the new leader, the Labour opposition called for the immediate return of the chief executive among its expectations of Cllr Sanderson’s tenure amid a cautious welcome, later warning him that he was ‘on probation’.

Reacting to Mrs Lally’s return, Cllr Susan Dungworth, the leader of the Labour group, said: “We’ve been on the right side of this from the start. The chief executive should never have been suspended.

“We look forward to the council getting back to business and working hard in difficult circumstances to protect communities across Northumberland. The Labour group welcomes her back to post.”

She added: “We sincerely hope that this inexcusable situation never happens again. When officers and staff in the council raise concerns, they should be listened to and the issues thoroughly investigated.”

Mrs Lally has been approached for comment.

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