Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 7°C

Search

Ipswich: Council workers asked to tell managers about office romances and close friendships

PUBLISHED: 17:53 20 May 2014

Grafton House, the home of Ipswich Borough Council  in Russell Road

Grafton House, the home of Ipswich Borough Council in Russell Road

Archant

Bosses at Ipswich Council have denied claims that they are trying to monitor staff relationships following the publication of a new code of conduct.

This requires staff to tell their managers about close personal relationships they have with other members of staff, with councillors, or with outside contractors and suppliers that might work with the council.

The term “close personal relationship” is defined as any family relationship or any sexual or romantic relationship – whether short or long-term.

It can also include close personal friendships which are non-sexual or romantic.

The instruction that managers should be told about “short-term” relationships has sparked concerns that the authority could end up prying into the personal lives of staff who might engage in a drunken fumble at the end of a party.

However a spokesman for the authority insisted the code only applied when there was a risk of a conflict of interest arising – and council leader David Ellesmere insisted the borough’s code was merely a matter of “common sense.”

He said: “This is really in place to protect our staff against claims that they might show favour to someone they are close to – it is really a matter of common sense.

“It is something that is fairly common. We are not banning relationships – but we need to know if they are going to impact on council business.”

Employment lawyer Julie Temple of Quantrills said codes of conduct like this were not uncommon across businesses and the public sector – but employers needed to be aware of the risk posed by privacy laws under human rights legislation.

She said: “I can see what the council is trying to do by introducing this code of conduct and I can understand that they see it as necessary.

“However I think it is almost certain that someone somewhere will challenge a code like this under human rights legislation.”

A council spokesman added: “The code only requires employees to disclose, in confidence, to their line manager any close personal relationships where there is a risk of a conflict of interest arising.”

He added: “Examples where an employee would be expected to disclose a close personal relationship include cases where an employee’s spouse or partner is the managing director of a company bidding for a council contract.

“Internally the code would be applied where two employees who both work for the council are in a close relationship and one is responsible for managing the other or could be involved in selection for promotion or redundancy.”

The Orwell Bridge will close at 10am this morning, Highways England has announced.

Co-op customers can expect to pay less for their shopping basket as the retail giant fights “tight” competition.

One lane of the A12 was closed to traffic this morning, causing lengthy delays, due to a collision and oil spillage near Colchester.

These pictures from The Lattice Barn pub in Woodbridge Road will evoke fond memories for many from 1974.

A Suffolk NHS trust has been ranked one of the best of the country, despite experiencing its most challenging winter on record.

Drivers are advised that it is “highly likely” the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk will shut during tomorrow morning’s rush hour amid forecasts of 65mph gusts.

He’s a well known television personality, but what’s John Bishop like live? Reviewer ELLIS BARKER headed down to the Regent tonight for the first gig of his three-night stop in Ipswich.

Warnings issued of the Orwell Bridge’s third closure in as many weeks have prompted renewed calls for a northern bypass to be built.

An investigation into whether ambulance delays caused the deaths of patients in the East of England must be transparent and independent, a union leader has warned.

A couple who run a hedgehog rescue charity from their home near Stowmarket say they released more than 400 of the little animals into the wild just last year.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24