‘Whistle-blower’ faces disciplinary

A social worker who set up a website that alleged her council
was under-performing is due to face a disciplinary hearing at
Swindon Council, in Wiltshire.

Deborah Rees was suspended from her job as planning officer for
adults with learning difficulties last August – six days after her
website www.SwindonBoroughCouncil.com was launched.

The website attacks poor standards and alleged a “jobs for the
boys” culture in the social services department, which received a
no-star rating from the Social Services Inspectorate last

A report by the council’s housing strategy manager, Michael Ash,
called the site “unbalanced” and “damaging to the council”, with
“inappropriate references” to its officers and members. It accused
Rees of failing to follow the steps outlined in the council’s
whistle-blowing policy, which the council introduced in August

Rees said she had received dozens of supportive messages from
council employees but “would not advise anyone else to blow the
whistle and speak up for standards” as she was under intolerable

Rees claimed that the SSI had rejected six improvement plans that
had been submitted by the council.

Swindon Council declined to comment on Rees’ disciplinary hearing,
but a spokesperson said: “No improvement plans were rejected by the
SSI, although a number of drafts were discussed.”

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