Senior officer ‘dismissed’ from Thanet council with ‘immediate effect’

Thanet council

Thanet council’s monitoring officer Tim Howes has been dismissed from his role with immediate effect following a ‘behind closed doors’ extraordinary council meeting last night (April 5).

Mr Howes has been absent from the authority since the end of 2020 although a reason for his suspension was not made public.

In January 2021 a meeting of the General Purposes Investigations & Disciplinary Sub-Committee was held. The function of this committee is to “ consider allegations/issues regarding disciplinary matters” and “suspensions” that may relate to top tier management.

A letter sent to council staff in February 2021 confirmed the suspension.

It is understood the issue was connected to an ‘unsubstantiated’ report made to Kent Police.

Mr Howes, who had been at TDC since 2015,  is the second senior management team officer to leave the authority in the past six months.

Last October Thanet council’s deputy chief executive Tim Willis left his role with £280,000 severance pay following mediated talks with Thanet council leader Ash Ashbee. An apology over his suspension was publicly made by Cllr Ashbee following Mr Willis’ departure, iterating that he left with a “spotless record.”

Mr Willis had been subject to a suspension in 2019 but was subsequently cleared of all allegations. 

The same month as Mr Willis left his job in the agreed ‘redundancy’ a report by auditors Grant Thornton said there had been “a number of interlinked instances of whistleblowing, lodging of formal grievances and disciplinary action including examples of serious allegations made by senior officers without adequate, or in some cases any, supporting evidence.”

The report added: “that people raising grievances and whistleblowing complaints with merit have been “subject to disciplinary action prior to the substance of their complaints being formally considered,” and that “Senior officers’ behaviour was found to fall below the standard expected on a number of occasions.”

The issues  led to Thanet council leader Ash Ashbee calling on central government to step in to deal with the culture at the council amid on-going disciplinary and grievance proceedings at the authority. The request was not granted but an independent monitoring officer is working at TDC to bring outstanding complaints to a conclusion; finding savings for further grievance and whistleblowing costs and create clear agreement on officer and member responsibilities.

There have been complaints and counter complaints involving all four of the top management team – CEO Madeline Homer, Gavin Waite and now ex-employees Mr Willis and Mr Howes.

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “Last night’s council meeting was a closed session and we cannot comment on confidential internal staffing matters.”

Damning report lists failures, “bullying,” “allegations without evidence,” and use of disciplinary action against staff raising grievances at Thanet council

Replacement independent officer takes on task to oversee actions agreed following damning report of Thanet council failures


  1. Redundancy payments severance payments suspension ….no wonder there is no money for public conveniences….shameful how it’s been allowed to go on for so long 🙄

    • Does Mr Howes now take his claim of wrongful dismissal to the Employment Tribunal or has be been given sufficient severance pay, salary in lieu of notice and enhanced pension to buy his silence ?

    • Councils nationally are not legally required to supply public toilets. Much of what the Victorians gave us has been allowed to fall apart. Helped by the present Government reducing Councils budgets to zero over the last 10 years. (STOP BLAMING COUNCILLORS unless they happen to be Tories!!) VOTE INDEPENDENTS

  2. Blimey (with immediate effect) it normally takes years for THANET council to get round to doing anything so this being with immediate effect actually means that they’ve come to a conclusion after months of dillydallying about it. I don’t know if the local ombudsman for councils as emigrated died or got Covid but if he is or she is still around perhaps They could investigate Thanet council and let us mugs taxpayers know why so much is done behind closed doors if they are all having sex behind closed doors that’s fair enough I don’t want to watch that I know how to do that but anything to do with services would be good to know. I bet Mr Howells is cock-a-hoop to be out of it.

    • Tim howes was involved of getting cllr ian venables thrown out as a hard working councillor on a dubious technical point of procedure.never trusted his judgment since.

      • Councillor, Mr Venables was working for TDC. You CANNOT LEGALLY become a Councillor if you are. You know this WHY are you still banging the drum?!!
        Having said that Howells was a wrongan

    • Bill, a couple of years ago I took a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman about TDC, who found in my favour, and listed a whole lot of recommendations for the council to get its act together! Needless to say TDC did nothing, and they carried on as before, reaching for the first excuse to do northing whenever they were approached by the public! The Local Government Ombudsman has no power to insist a local authority improves its service, and is a toothless tiger, it should be disbanded as its a waste of public money!

    • If more residents were aware of how Councils work there would be less confusion. Councillors only have the power to remove “senior” Civil Servants. Proving mismanagement is almost impossible. Having the b**ls and the backing of fellow Councillors “who don’t want to rock the political boat” is even harder.

  3. What a shameful mess.

    280k payout!!!!!!!!!!! That’s a disgrace.

    TDC is not fit for purpose….

    What are local MPs saying? As even though not directly their jurisdiction this really would warrant a close look from central government

  4. Not impressed. Re Local MPs well Sir Roger is standing down at the next election and Craig McKinley could not care less and he is getting ready to back his bags at the next general election unless he has supporters who are daft deaf and blind who would vote for him.

  5. The 2 MP’s are responsible in so far as their parliament makes the rules that local government operates under and can therefore change the rules if there is a will to so do.
    We don’t know the payment terms under which this Executive has left! I hope that they don’t appoint any new Executives until the other 2 go because no one can possibly work with the pair left and create any sort of workable team.
    For any new recruitment perhaps they should have to be vetted by the electorate because whoever has been responsible in the past for the selection of Executives has hardly done a good job.

    • Whilst sort of plausible, 2 mp’s out of 650 are hardly going to be able change local government legislation because one area has an endless history of inept/ amateur/ dishonest/ self serving local governance going back decades.
      In addition the law is written so that mps cannot interfere in local politics directly, so that local elections have some meaning , otherwise a tory mp could wreak havoc on a labour council and vice versa etc.
      Thanet is a long standing basket case that has impoverished itself over many years to the point that it can’t afford to do much to get itself out of the hole , whilst seemingly contiuing to dig ever deeper with each change of party leadership.
      Give it 10 years and all the asset transfers that fail wil be another blight on the district, as will the dreamland debacle and the “creative sector” all in bet we’ve placed. But it won’t matter because we’ll then get the usual
      “We are where we are”
      “Mistakes were made in the past , we’ll have to deal with it”
      “ we cannot be responsible for the decisions of past administrations “
      Etc etc.
      Which wouldn’t be so bad if future councils stopped digging ever deeper.

      Thanet has spent far too many years concentrating on pulling its socks up , yet being blindly oblivious to the fact that its trousers and pants have fallen down unnoticed.

  6. Sack everyone.. You don’t deserve to serve Thanet. I want a Margate council not an umbrella party.

  7. All of TDC cllrs included, and MPs for Thanet should be investigated by a cross party independent government body and Police.

  8. 280k severance is absolutely mind boggling. I don’t doubt that a compensatory award was owing, but the astonishing sum is bewildering, especially when you consider the maximum award for unfair dismissal isn’t even 100k at the employment tribunal and very few claims reach anywhere near that value. This is tax payers money. I don’t doubt he was seriously aggrieved and impacted but nonetheless, the award was stupendously high. And where was the public sector pay cap on the severance?

    And why are committees handling disciplinaries? Are they qualified to do so and why on earth did these matters take so long?

    On this latest departure who knows, but clearly half of the toxic leadership team still remains.

    Why is that?

    • I’m guessing it was his age. He would have negotiated full paying up and immediate payment of his pension as part of the settlement. There would have been a significant financial cost to TDC associated with this.

    • The system works on people above the paygrade of the person being dismissed deciding the payoff. So by inflating the figure , those making the decision are baking in even greater amounts for themselves if they are ever dismissed.
      Plus it effectively acts as an unspoken gagging order, again beneficial in that it means any facts so buried aren’t even acknowledged to exist .
      All part of the local government merry go round.

      • Working for the local council at certain levels is like being a football manager.

        Both get good pay offs for being crap yet us minions just get the sack.

  9. Local elections aren’t far away but what is the betting that people will still vote in the Councillots that have been complicit in allowing this behaviour to continue

  10. Only a certian person can work for a council they would never get a job in any other part of society they are ‘special’

  11. Glad Howes got instant dismissal. Let him take it to tribunal and appeal. That will bring top TDC officers’ behaviour out into the open. Good riddance to very bad rubbish, allowed to conduct himself the way he did by his boss the CEO, Ms Homer. Now to investigate her and the officer in charge of the continuing disgraceful money losses at Port Ramsgate – again allowed to happen with the blessing of the CEO!

  12. This could be the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning
    The sooner the remaining bedfellows are gone along with their supporters then the sooner we can demand a more open and effective council.

  13. How do you get one of these posts at TDC?
    I accept I have a lot to learn about corruption, but I reckon I could be highly incompetent with a bit of effort. How did I do? I’m in! Great!! How long does one typically have to wait before the disciplinary and the payout?

  14. He buggered up West Somerset DC so badly that it ended up being taken over by Taunton Dean DC, then he went to Plymouth and no doubt banjaxed things there. Finally, he ended up at the Belle End of local Govt and preceded to do a wrecking joint with the remains of what once was a Council.
    I found him devious,a bully, and a manipulator of the truth.
    Just the ticket for the others in his little coven.
    I suspect our little caravan couple are feeling very lonely, as the axeman may be coming for them.

  15. Do we know what the payoff was to this Executive? I cannot see it in the press article above.
    There are set procedures for dealing with employees like verbal warnings, written warnings, etc. Have these processes been followed and indeed do the ruling councilors have access to the knowledge of these processes and have access to legal guidance?

  16. TDC, Integrity once lost is seldom regained. How can our councillors ever ever be trusted again? Thanet could be a wonderful place to be, however maladministration has poisoned the whole area.

Comments are closed.