SOCIAL workers trying to protect the interests of children were left shaking by a bullying councillor, according to the results of an independent investigation.
Steve Tulley’s behaviour was “intimidating and amounted to bullying of the individual social workers concerned”, the report says.
Offered the chance to explain his behaviour during preliminary council inquiries, Coun Tulley reportedly replied: “I am not playing your stupid game. I have no intention of explaining myself to anyone.”
In an earlier telephone call with a council officer to discuss the matter he was found to have used “inappropriate and offensive language” that “offends the authority’s own equal opportunities policies”.
Coun Tulley has rejected the findings and insisted he will defend himself vigorously when they are discussed by a full meeting of Wakefield Council next week.
The investigation was triggered when a senior council director lodged a formal complaint about Coun Tulley’s behaviour after social workers returned “very upset” from a meeting.
The meeting, called to discuss the welfare of children in a Wakefield family, had been cut short because of his actions.
Margaret Miller, chief legal officer at neighbouring Kirklees Council, carried out the inquiry and concluded: “His actions at the meeting have reflected badly on elected members in the eyes of the professionals who were there, the majority believed him to be aggressive, rude and intimidating towards the employees of the organisation he is elected to.”
The council’s standards committee, which oversees members’ behaviour, has referred the matter to the full council.
Council standards committees include an “independent person” free of local authority connections.
Asked to review the inquiry’s findings, Dennis Pattinson, the independent person for Wakefield’s standards committee said there was “no excuse for anyone using ‘foul and abusive language’ to anyone” and nobody should be left “shaking” after a routine meeting.
Wakefield Council chief executive Joanne Roney said: “The independent investigating officer concluded there was evidence of intimidating and bullying behaviour.
“The Standards Committee have recommended an appropriate course of action which must now be considered at Full Council.”
Councillors will discuss his behaviour at its full council meeting next week although they have very limited powers.
Coun Tulley, who represents South Elmsall and South Kirkby, is already suspended from Wakefield Council’s Labour group over a separate matter but could face further action from the party at a regional level.
Coun Tulley said: “I have not participated in or taken part in this investigation.
“That report is taken from evidence from other people without my involvement.
“I have not been bullying or intimidated anyone. I do intend to refute the allegations and will do so at the council meeting.”
Coun Tulley insisted he had only asked “searching questions” at the meeting on behalf of constituents who were “at their wits end”.
He said these matters were normally dealt with by political parties and described the use of council resources and time on the investigation as a “waste of public money”.
“I’ve been a socialist all my life and fought bullying,” he said.