Staff urge investment agency chief to step aside in mass grievance

Lurene Joseph
Lurene Joseph
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The chief executive of Leeds and Partners is facing calls to step aside or be removed from the workplace to allow an independent investigation into allegations about her conduct to take place.

More than 20 past and present staff of the organisation, which has been given millions of pounds by Leeds Council to generate business investment, have raised concerns about Lurene Joseph – including allegations of bullying, failing to control finances and acting in a way which has brought “the reputation of Leeds and Partners, Leeds City Council and the city as a whole into disrepute”.

A formal grievance lodged by public service union Unison on behalf of staff says the move was taken with regret but it was felt there was “no other course of action after raising concerns on an informal basis with both Leeds City Council and members of the Leeds and Partners Board”.

A Unison spokeswoman said Ms Joseph should be removed from the workplace pending the outcome of an investigation.

A private sector organisation in the region is believed to be prepared to provide a statement, with other organisations that have had contact with Ms Joseph also potentially coming forward.

The grievance comes at a sensitive time for Leeds Council which has just approved a decision to give Leeds and Partners a further £2.25m to expand its work to bring inward investment to the Leeds City Region.

Despite the huge financial support provided by the council to Leeds and Partners, the grievance claims that Ms Joseph, who is paid £160,000 a year, “regularly derided” the performance of councillors and senior officers.

The council declined to say whether it would take steps to remove Ms Joseph from the workplace and declined to comment on the contents of the grievance. A spokesman said the formal grievance procedure would be followed.