South Ribble Council chief executive on 'special leave'

Heather McManus Image copyright South Ribble Council
Image caption Heather McManus has been placed on "special leave"

The chief executive of South Ribble Council and her two deputies have been suspended.

Heather McManus and deputies Tim Povall and Gregg Stott have been put on "special leave" until further notice, the authority said.

It will be overseen by the chief executive of neighbouring Chorley Council, Gary Hall, in the meantime.

The move comes just days after the new Labour leader Paul Foster took over following local elections.

Councillor Foster told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the authority is liaising with "the Local Government Association and others over a number of ongoing legacy issues".  

Council staff are understood to have been advised that it would be "inappropriate" to discuss the matter or contact the officers during their leave.

Mr Foster said work at the council would continue seamlessly.

Heather McManus joined the authority in 2017, taking over from Jean Hunter who had briefly returned as interim chief executive after previously having held the role for a decade.

The council has been mired by scandal in recent years which has seen the leadership change numerous times.

There have been claims of bullying, harassment, cover-ups and low staff morale at the authority following its "failures" in the handling of allegations children were sexually exploited by taxi drivers in 2016.

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