Restructure of Thanet council top officers team and coaching for chief executive following damning report

Exit of chief executive Madeline Homer

Eight recommendations to deal with Thanet council governance failings and hostility within the top management team  have been agreed this evening (May 19) – including a restructure of the corporate management team to create a role responsible for HR (human resources) and the requirement for chief executive Madeline Homer to enter into a formal coaching/mentoring arrangement.

Last year external auditors Grant Thornton issued a report branding relationships between the authority’s top officers as in “serious breakdown” and listing a catalogue of failures within the council, including using disciplinary action against staff raising complaints; attempting to discredit criticism in independent reports; draining finances due to disciplinary and tribunal actions and causing significant reputational harm to those involved in prolonged grievance processes.

Thanet District Council unanimously agreed to Grant Thornton’s four statutory recommendations – including bringing in an independent Monitoring Officer to carry out a risk assessment of the current employment tribunal claims and proposed actions including a detailed financial analysis of the options available to the council.

The report by that Independent Monitoring Officer, Quentin Baker, was discussed by councillors tonight and a ‘summary’ version has now been published which highlights concerns such as the personal relationship between chief exec Madeline Homer and Director of Communities Gavin Waite; the hostile relationship between the top four senior officers which has seen one dismissed and the other exit with severance pay after a wrongful suspension and lodging of a bullying complaint and the pay out of more than £1.5m for redundancy or employment tribunal deals between 2015-2021.

In the summary Mr Baker looks at the failures and the emergence in 2019 of a serious break-down in the relationships between the four officers comprising the Corporate Management Team (CMT) – Madeline Homer CEO, Tim Willis Dep Chief Executive, Gavin Waite Corporate Director of Communities and Tim Howes Corporate Director of Governance & Monitoring Officer.

On two occasions disciplinary proceedings were launched against members of the CMT -one of which resulted in a serious disciplinary sanction against Monitoring Officer Tim Howes, leading to his dismissal last month and the other ending with a public apology and £280k severance deal for deputy chief Tim Willis who left the council last October.

The costs associated with handling these grievances and disciplinaries is in excess of £730,000 and expected to rise further as a number of matters remain extant and unresolved.

Mr Baker says: “Incorrect processes have been used and credible advice not followed” and there has been a “failure by senior officers to properly engage and inform elected members.”

Mr Baker says this breakdown at the top resulted in “collateral damage and dysfunction affecting the wider officer group and councillors.”

The report notes that “there is little evidence of any significant recent improvement and during the period of preparing the lessons learned report further matters of concern have arisen.”

Key concerns

Key concerns include the serious breakdown in relationships of the four senior officers with a number of interlinked instances of whistleblowing and grievances which in some cases were without adequate or in some cases any, supporting evidence.

A lack of appropriate and lawful processes for dealing with Grievances and Disciplinary matters involving Chief Officers is noted as well as a failure to manage whistleblowing cases, grievances and disciplinary cases and their outcomes promptly and systematically.

Mr Baker says there was also a failure by the General Purposes Committee to follow through with agreed outcomes and a failure to involve councillors at an appropriate stage and with sufficient detail of information.

The report says: “The most significant single element of the organisational malaise which has affected TDC from 2018-19 has been the dysfunction within the CMT (top management team) itself.

“For reasons which aren’t fully clear, during 2019 the working relationships between this group of officers became hostile, combative and distrustful. There is no doubt that a schism formed between on the one hand, the Chief Executive (Madeline Homer), The Corp Director of Communities (Gavin Waite), Director of Governance – Monitoring Officer (Tim Howes) and on the other, the Dep Chief Executive – S.151 Officer (Tim Willis).

“The observations made by some of the external investigators and others identify a level of animosity which fomented between the four individuals and which materially impaired their ability to make rational, dispassionate business decisions in the best interests of TDC.”

‘Close personal relationship’

Mr Baker says that among the aggravating causes was “the emergence of the close personal relationship between Madeline Homer and Gavin Waite which was for some time during 2018-19 the source of much gossip and speculation both amongst staff within the authority and more widely on the internet, which is likely to have impacted upon the dynamic of the small CMT.

“Although there is no prohibition on such relationships it is widely acknowledged that robust and transparent arrangements must be put in place so as to mitigate the risk that others will perceive favouritism. The steps taken were insufficient.”

Leader and chief exec ‘mistrust’

Mr Baker also noted that the relationship between the chief executive and the elected council leader: “is best characterised as lacking trust and mutual respect.” He notes that the mistrust results in: “information (being) tightly controlled, often on the basis of commercial confidentiality and the perceived risk of information being leaked by councillors.”

Mr Baker adds: “The review has identified specific examples of where significant information has been withheld from all councillors or not disseminated to the appropriate body of councillors.

“An example of this included an investigation report into a whistle-blower complaint regarding the handling of a grievance brought by an officer. The report contained information highly critical of the process used and the decisions taken by officers. The report wasn’t brought to the attention of the relevant group of elected members and there is no formal record of the reasons for withholding that information.

“Another example of the pervading approach is highlighted by an incident where the Chief Executive lodged a complaint against the Cabinet member for Finance alleging that they had breached the Members’ Code of Conduct by submitting a request for information regarding the salary levels/pay awards of the CMT Officers.

“The submission, by a local authority chief executive, of a complaint against a Cabinet Member is uncommon and would generally be regarded as an indicator of a worrying level of conflict between officers and councillors.

“In the circumstances, as set out by the experienced investigator, it would appear that the decision to launch the complaint was ill advised and unjustified due to the lack of any evidence of any breach.”

Grievances and a £1.5m bill

Referring to the wrongful suspension of previous deputy chief executive Tim Willis, Mr Baker says it: “indicate(s) a lack of respect for basic procedural governance and a willingness to ignore professional advice that didn’t fit the desired outcome.

“On a wider organisational level there is evidence of significant numbers of senior staff members having left the organisation under settlement or redundancy agreements over the last four years and there are recent examples of senior officers raising grievances regarding senior management.”

He says there is urgent need to rebuild Human Resources advice and support for management and staff and points to a significant sum of £1,590,151 spent on settlements due to redundancy or employment tribunals between the financial years 2015/16 to 2020/21

He also noted the concerns raised over project management and rising costs of the Berth 4/5 replacement at Ramsgate Port.

8 Recommendations

The recommendations – which will be put in place with immediate effect – include

  1. Review of the TDC Constitution to ensure/clarify/reinforce the need for sharing of information between officers and Councillors and to engage councillors in the work of the authority. This will include establishing an Employment Committee to consider strategic Human Resources and a review of the arrangements for handling Whistle-blower complaints.
  2. Restructure of Senior Management Team with a view to creating at least one additional Corporate Director role to include responsibility for HR, This will also include a review of the existing arrangements to manage the potential conflict of interest arising from the close personal relationship between the CEO and Director of Operations.
  3. Development Work for Member Officer including team building and improved responsiveness to information requests from councillors to officers and ensuring that all Senior Councillors are briefed on the contents of all reports produced in the context of the CMT dispute.
  4. Coaching/ Mentoring Programme for CEO and senior management team to undertake team building
  5. Introduction of Regular Staff Survey and other staff feedback forums
  6. Review of the HR resource within TDC.
  7. Undertake an independent review/audit of the Berth 4/5 project from its inception to the present day with a view to identifying the causes of delay and cost overruns which have beset the project
  8. Establish an Independent Assurance/Assistance Panel to oversee the swift implementation of the recommendations and to act as a source of independent support/advice during the recovery phase

Read the public summary here

County Councillor and former district councillor Karen Constantine said: “As an HR and employment law specialist with more than 30 years experience, I have long advocated for councillors to have oversight of employment issues at TDC, as routinely happens at other councils.

“On one notable occasion in a very unprofessional act, Madeline Homer telephoned me at home to threaten me that she ‘would report me to standards if I didn’t retract my public statement on the matter.’ Subsequently I resigned and later undertook an FOI which shows I was never reported to standards.

“The Quentin Baker report clearly indicates that Madeline Homer’s conduct is not of a sufficiently high standard, I welcome the coaching intervention suggested, but I am seriously concerned about the spiralling costs and the legacy of lamentable decision making and the additional pull on public taxes. Little wonder we are closing our public toilets and our streets are filthy when our contribution through rates is diverted into questionable deals and expensive pay offs

“As I still have day to day dealings with Ms Homer as Ramsgate’s County Councillor, I often wonder if the legitimate and serious matters I thoughtfully raise with her are ignored due to an ongoing bias against me? I am perplexed at her lack of interest and involvement in a serious matter which is now subject to a Judicial Review to be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on 28th June. Another costly bill for the taxpayer to fund.”

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

Council leader issues apology over top officer suspension and chief exec says investigation leads to ‘no action’ recommended against her

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

Former top council officer’s grievance over claims of bullying leaked


  1. The Senior Management Team have all the good grace, humility, honesty and integrity of our Prime Minister.
    The only acceptable course of action would be for both Gavin Waite and Madeline Homer to resign.

    • They are supposed to remain a-political!!! (support neither of the Political Party’s). So, they cannot be compared to BJ. Sorry.
      I do, however, agree that those two should resign… possibly before midday on Monday next.

    • Having read the independent and dispassionate report, I agree.
      I think that the position of the CMT (what’s left of it) is untenable: the history of the dysfunction within CMT and between them and the rest of the Council; the requirement that the CEO engage with a coaching/mentoring course, both show that there can be little confidence in senior management at TDC.
      The problem is:
      Who in their right mind would apply for these posts?

      • Thanet has suffered dearly due to the incompetence and fighting at the top. This is no way to run a council. Recommendations have been ignored before, several times. It is beyond time that a reshuffle took place with some top spots made vacant for completely new faces to come in. This is not a time for retraining or promotions within the authority itself. A new broom is needed to get order back in place and the focus back on Thanet itself.

  2. Far too much scandal to remain in power. Thanet is becoming the laughing stock of Kent. Let’s get a new group of ‘interested’ in Thanet Management…. this lot we have now are more like the Mafiosa! Secret “dealings” with employees on their dismissal costing US the Tax Payer hundreds of thousands of £££££££££££’s in settlement pay-offs…
    This should no longer be allowed to happen..
    Does no-one else realise what is going on there, at TDC.?

  3. It is obvious that the problem lies fully with the SMT. Get rid of all of them and get people in who want to put Thanet back on the map as a tourist destination and a decent place to live.

  4. I have always said to moaners of TDC mainly elected councillors that the civil service work against councillors whatever party Alrough there is different members.The same in Whitehall the boffins there have to much power they make it difficult for parliamentarians of all colours now the PM wants to cut them down so he should this has been the problem for parliament and local councils and county council’s for years.

  5. Homer and Waite need to go and until they do there is little hope for any real progress at TDC. They lack competence at all levels and need to be replaced as soon as possible. In a more commercial environment they would have been sacked long ago. Thanet has so many opportunities but needs local leaders with vision to realise them.

  6. The independent advisor cannot simply recommend dismissal of the CEO – not without risking another massive bill for not following correct employment procedures. The aim here is pretty clear however – give her coaching and mentoring, which should include the requirement for her performance to improve and bring in a strong HR Manager to advise the Council Leader on the correct procedure to follow to set targets and first warn, and then, if necessary, dismiss the CEO for failure to reach the objectives set.

    It shouldn’t need a lengthy HR process because any self respecting manager would be able to see that both the audit and external report are highlighting extreme incompetence by the CEO but this one actually appears too incompetent to recognise that she is the problem and so she may well not resign.

    The key now is the early appointment of an excellent HR specialist who must work directly to the Council Leader overseeing the mentoring/improvement programme.

  7. A few years ago on RAG, there were the most insulting and obscene comments about Madeline Homer and Gavin Waite. There were also films of them, which had been covertly made in the evenings and at night. The comments were so crude that they seemed to have been written by teenagers.

    I do not feel that these public expressions of vicious bile were helpful to the relationship between officers and councillors.

    • Why do you think the videos taken from public places were shot in the first place. Most staff at TDC knew what was going on and would have been bullied out of a job for flagging this undeclared, compromising conflict of interest. The Waite philanderer is well known for using his sexual needs to exert power over some of his staff. It is about time all the women concerned who have been compromised started a ‘me too at TDC’ campaign, strength in numbers and to show solidarity. They shouldn’t have to shoulder the blame and embarrassment for being ‘seduced’ in this way.

        • It’s standard practice media photographer practice, and in a public place, and in the interests of the public as they were and are senior public servants. The effort to take these photos does not constitute stalking. It was done to expose a cover-up at Senior Management Level. They denied it, but it was true. They lied.

  8. There was previously a very professional and knowledgeable boss of HR who was advising TDC’s management team. The problem was that their advice was roundly ignored as it wasn’t what Homer and the others wanted to hear. The boss of HR then went to the Councillors and pleaded for them to get involved as the management team were ignoring her. They were then totally publicly discredited by Howes and Homer who then ostracised her from the organisation completely. This is all in the public domain.

    This is why these recommendations will not work. If, at the end of this, Homer and Waite are still in a job then this is a failing of the process and bad news for the residents of Thanet.

  9. The buck stops with the CEO.

    “chief executive Madeline Homer to enter into a formal coaching/mentoring arrangement.”

    I would have thought this would already be part of her qualifications and her experience to have gain the role of CEO in the first place. Truly bizarre that the CEO on her huge wages needs to go on courses for basically knowing how to motivate her staff.

    Part of her role would be to insure the smooth running of the council. She has clearly failed to do so, hence needing to go on training course !.

    How was she employed in the first place without these skill sets ?

    How has she kept her job when she is clearly not qualified or up to over seeing the smooth running of the council ?

    These people dont deserve a second chance for not doing that roles properly.

      • I also agree but if she hasn’t been managed properly previously by the leaders of the Council then there will have to be a proper process followed to warn her of the need to improve and dismiss her when the incompetence or misconduct continues. You can’t sack someone without a proper employment process having been followed or she will simply take more money with her.

        • I don’t know if you live here or know much about our elected members so you may not know that the quality has been so low that many of them genuinely didn’t know that they were the employers of the council’s officers. A very long serving senior councillor once explained to me that the elected members’ job was to consider issues the officers thought they should know about.
          When you start from there you can begin to understand why we are where we are.

    • Someone needs to re-read her CV and make some phone calls checking out her career qualifications. No way could someone of her calibre be employed as a CEO of a local authority. Who didn’t do their homework !

      • The story goes that she was a fairly unremarkable middle manager as recently as 10 years ago. A promotion to Director followed and, when the previous CEO McGonigal left, Homer was appointed as an interim. The elections were imminent and the Council needed a permanent Returning Officer (legal position which must be filled at the time of the election) so her appointment was confirmed permanently by GPC led by Iris Johnston (the then Leader) in a bit of a rush in April 2015. To say the staff were surprised and puzzled with this appointment was probably understatement of the year.

        Some people, when they find themselves in a position way above their competence level act with humility and modesty and get the workforce behind them as they need them on side to deliver the day to day stuff. Some people over compensate for their lack of senior managerial ability and competence by becoming aggressive, overpowering and fiercely countering anything that looks like “challenge”. Draw your own conclusions on which path the current CEO took.

  10. Is there any connection between the fact that UKIP took control of the Council in 2015, only to be forced out by the Tories in 2018, following the decision of a dozen or so UKIP councillors to form a new group (Thanet IndependentGroup). So Bob Bayford began his disastrous leadership of an increasingly hopeless council.

    • Most Councillors try to do top jobs, (for the people who voted them in), but are often ‘shot-down’ in their attempts at this, by TDC and its Top Officers.
      Thus, it does not matter which Party you support, if MH doesn’t like it – the buck stops there.

      • The councillors are the CE’s employers. They cannot be ‘shot down’ by their own employees.

    • Is there any connection between the fact that the current CE was hurriedly appointed in the dying days of a Labour administration and the disastrous nature of the appointment?

  11. Ex Public sector CEO 4.27am post is accurate. A HR corporate director and a capable and honest monitoring officer must be in place at Thanet Council otherwise no accountability for the CEO which was the case for many years.
    I believe Ms Homer should resign. she has lost all credibility as a CEO.

  12. I imagine it isn’t at all difficult to feign compliance and progress while being coached, mentored or whatever.

    Excuse my ignorance, but were Homer to be sacked, would that mean another massive payout? Hence this bizarre coaching thing? Whilst some of the detail is beyond me, I get the distinct impression that subjecting crooks and egotists to scrutiny simply makes them more slippery. All those who have failed us time and again need to be removed from office now, without recompense.

    • Yes it is possible to feign compliance but it is not possible to feign competence. If you are simply not up to the job you can’t ‘pretend’ to perform with competence.

      A package of £1million+ would be the cost if she was sacked now without any prior formal warning. Just look at the payout to Sharon Shoesmith after the Baby P death. Ed Balls called her incompetent and told the Council to sack her; they did; she sued and won because proper procedures hadn’t been followed.

      In my opinion, and experience, a disciplinary interview now, with the audit report and this most recent review, would merit an immediate final written warning with a short time – around 3 months – to demonstrate measurable improvements. Then, if no improvements can be demonstrated a dismissal, following the Council’s disciplinary procedures, would be merited.

      • Thanks for your lucid and measured explanation of the situation!
        And – may I say – I admire Clarina’s exquisite use of the subjunctive.

      • Agreed. There must be strict warning letters in her file. How she is allowed to continue is obscene and is only because of the compensation package waiting in the background. Thanet ratepayers are the ones needing compensation. There needs to be additional procedures imposed by parliament like ratepayers need to vote for a chief executive as an added protection measure. As our parliamentary reps you would think that our 2 invisible MP’s would speak with Gove but unless you say ‘Manston’ or get out a camera that’s the only time you will see them!

        • “Ratepayers” had an opportunity to vote… and they overwhelmingly voted for the first (and only) UKIP Local Authority.

          Coincidentally, the root began to set In with the CMT at about that time.

          The people best placed to decide on the merits of an applicant for a job on the council are the HR team.

        • I wrote to my mp about the impending senior leadership car crash 3 years ago ( at the time just about any council officer was thoroughly hacked off with the goings on) , the response was that the english system of governance was designed to give clear delineation dpbetween central and local government and as such local mps were unable to become involved. Citing the obvious and inevitable shouts of foul play if out tory mps started criticising a labour council ( and by logical extension the unlikelyhood of their doing so to a tory one)

      • This sounds good on paper, but will miss slippery weasel her way out of it as she has managed to for some time now, I hope whoever is put in to coach & oversee M H finds she is incompetent and is sacked, we may then with possibly having a good top team a council fit for purpose and become a top council instead of a laughing stock. I look forward to seeing that day.

      • Thank you for your learned advise, surely with holding information from Councillors is verging on gross misconduct?

        • It could be gross misconduct if it could be reasonably understood by a disciplinary panel 1) to have been deliberate and 2) to have resulted in decisions being made that would have been different if the full information had been provided and 3) if there were/are consequences of those decisions.

          However if this is considered to be the case then the CEO needs immediate suspension from duty whilst the full disciplinary process is undertaken.

    • Nail on head! Well put Clarina.
      None of this came about overnight. Bayford and then Everett are to blame for allowing this toxic fiasco to develop and become deeply rooted as a TDC culture. Obviously, as well as these two, some Cllr’s actively supported them and others allowed the toxicity by doing nothing.
      Thanet has a massive problem now – who will manage the recommendations? Ash Ashbee has been a bright shining star in bringing this debacle to a head despite, I can imagine, overt and hidden opposition.
      Some people have and will continue to benefit, in some way or other, from the toxic TDC culture – Officers, ex-officers and Cllr’s alike.
      By the 2023 TDC elections who will you vote for? For me it’s very clear. I won’t care what the candidate says about this appalling fiasco, I won’t give a damn what they tell me they will do. All I’ll want to know is how they behaved over the last five years! We can see evidence from the recorded TDC meetings, who challenges, who asks questions, who even bothers to turn up!
      Any keyboard warriors who want to help secure a better TDC had better start acting now! Write to your Cllr’s and ask for their record, how many meetings attended, how many (and what) questons asked, what toxic decisions did they oppose and challenge, how many issues did they vote for without knowing the full facts (as with Berths 4/5, moving Travellers to the port instead of a place that meets a regulatory level of “decent homes”, decisions that allowed iconic buildings to rot away, planning decisions that failed to have necessary and legal elements, etc).
      This IMO report has opened a door, it’s for us to decide who goes through, now and in 2023.

  13. MH was finaggled into the post as cheif executive from her previous position as head of housing ( where she was similarly out of her depth) by manipulation of the appointment process following the departure of Sue Mcgonegal ( who left under a dubious cloud at the same time as Clive Hart, and before that Richard Samuels who again toddled off with a nice big payoff , though on medical grounds). The council and its councillors have been complicit in years of cosy appointments and payoffs. I was talking to an ex thanet police officer , whose view is that the current standard of council officer was so poor that they weren’t able to enrich themselves by good old fashioned corruption but rather did it through formal channels, though perhaps you have to wonder that in fact they are not possibly cleverer in this method as its not illegal.
    Of course we get rid of the current lot and then need to find some real talent willing to take on a council that’s skint , has sold off the family silver, has way too many cosy arrangements and has little support from its electorate. Who’d want that poison chalice?

  14. Clearly Homer is not up to the Job . No amount of mentoring someone in her position is likely to be successful.. However due process must be followed .Our elected members now have a major responsibility in making sure she improves her performance as required or is subject to disciplinary measures. The question is can Thanet survive in these economically difficult times with such an obviously failing council .
    It is not only human relations and governance that are a problem at TDC it is almost every aspect of governance relating to contracting ,asset disposal / management and the provision of basic domestic services including road sweeping rubbish collection including recycling provision that is below par.

    The public perception is that corruption and malfeasance is endemic at TDC and until a totally new senior team is put in place and a thorough root and branch review takes place into all the councils departments I fear little will change. The rot will continue.
    I believe this can only be achieved by external intervention by central govt . Most residents of Thanet are fed up with the council administration senior officers and the elected members who are inadequate to the task of oversight.

  15. Reading between the lines the councillors cant remove the CEO without following the correct procedure. Fair enough. So conditions have been put in place for the CEO to improve her working skills. If unable to than she can be removed.

    Why should the CEO resigned ? Well most decent people would and try and agree a package.
    On the other hand the councillors who employed her thought she could do the job so not her fault she got the job !

    That being said why apply for a job you are clearly not suitable for ?

    Its sounds line this could be the beginning of the end. A CEO who has to go on coaching and mentoring course is so embarrassing. Creaky that’s what NVQ Level 3 management course lol

  16. Whilst those in local governance have possibly been squabbling and throwing items out of their prams for some time, some areas of thanet ie ramsgate have been on TV and the programme idea is deprived areas & high st’s.

    Why does tdc allow our local area to remain a deprived area, it was on the TV just a few days ago.
    Some local business people gave heartfelt interviews, i am not connected with these businesses but i can say the area has been left to scum status.

    Its my eye’s view and i have old eyes which have seen so much.

    Who is actually in charge @ tdc ?

  17. I don’t really know how to start.
    Thanet is facing serious problems, has no one here seems to have understood that and acted accordingly?
    TDC has been a failed institution for years, it never had a chance from the start.It inherited an unhealthy,attitude to governance from the old
    corporations, but at least they did get on and build things,in their early years.
    It was/is an unloved child of a failed structure of government and nothing anyone does can make it work.
    The officers of the council are the bedrock of the organisation.If they are no good or not up to the job, the council won’t work. You can have poor Cllrs, but the officers can help a limping council along so it becomes effective.
    Here there are Cllrs who really are not very effective, and they are responding to an electorate that is both backward looking and divided. If Cllrs are being advised by self obsessed staff with not sufficient drive or ability to make Thanet a much more cohesive project driven urban community, then the jig is up, the game is lost before you start.
    The Margate-centricity of the organisation, has meant at least 1/3rd of the District believes that it could go it alone and do better.
    I never felt that Ms Homer cared at all about some parts of Thanet.I think her vision is for Margate to be ‘art- town’,Broadstairs to be ‘village -town’ and Ramsgate to be Coketown, where all the industrial, dusty, smelly stuff happens.The reason why Ramsgate received so little in the past was her deliberate following through with that policy.Her blinkered dare I say damaging, view point hampered Ramsgate, and even when the Town did stuff on its own like the Heritage Action Zone,TDC tried to control and hamper it, often to the detriment of the project.
    Madeline Homer was never up to the job, she was promoted on the peter principle, and when faced with real problems,she like many other poor quality leaders ( look at the Home office) often lash out at others and create a blame culture. I have read the Willis grievance and I find it a pitiable document from someone who I think struggled with issues himself.What he needed was support and leadership, what he got was blame and a quite appalling favouritism by someone, who was harming her own professional career, by favouring someone she was having a personal relationship with.
    A bully never likes to be faced down and that is how she was with me, in fact she used to regularly complain that I was to tough minded with her.
    I think things have gone too far and perhaps the Cllrs at TDC should consider starting from scratch.If I felt the other Districts could help I would suggest it, but they have their own issues.
    It will cost money to make those changes, money that is sorely needed to rebuild Thanet, but I can see no alternative. If the current structure remains it will fail again and again.
    Part of the problem is that Thanet and its council are so toxic that good quality staff do not want to risk their careers and well being.Unless you are prepared to pay way over the odds for a gamechanger CEO, you will receive more of the same.
    I would not make a hero out of Ian Driver, as he is an unpleasant self regarding demagogue, whose own leadership skills and empathy towards others, is often found wanting.

    • I hope that Ramsgate will have more industries, and soon.They don’t have to be polluting ones- we are not in the 19th or early 20th century now.

  18. This report is missing a recommendation. 9. Case to answer. Launch an immediate disciplinary exercise to investigate alleged competency and conduct issues of the CEO this report appears to indicate.

    It is not enough that the CEO gets some coaching and no further line management of her partner and a few away days team building. Like making some airplanes and flying an egg of a lego tower will fix these systemic and very serious issues. Relationships and leadership credibility are clearly broken beyond repair. For the CEO of a local government dept to justify ill judged structures involving personal relationships because ‘there’s no policy to say it isn’t appropriate’ is further evidence of poor performance and judgement. Anyone with even a modicum of leadership experience, especially in a role stewarding significant public duties, would know this is not appropriate. Saying “there’s no rule that says I can’t” is immature and tedious and demonstrates a failure to take responsibility for a poor decision that has clearly had years and years of impact on culture fairness and God only knows how many decisions taken from an inappropriate governance perspective.

    Wilfully ignoring professional advice because it didn’t suit the outcome also sounds like a very significant performance and conduct issue.

    Launching a case against an elected officer also sounds like a significant issue of judgment and other extremely concerning and toxic behaviors.

    It seems to me that TDC is running as a personal fiefdom of questionably competent leadership with zero regard for the values and behaviours expected of public office and clearly with zero respect for value for money or for the ever beleaguered HR profession, a dept routinely ridden rough shod on by people like TDC leadership because they just want to do what they want. And they really don’t like it when trivial issues such as employment law or fairness or policy come into it.

    Meanwhile, our ever hopeful mixed bag of elected councillors are unable to deliver their duties because this same CEO chooses to withhold information they are perfectly entitled to scrutinise or ask about. This surely is another obvious conclusion of poor performance, judgement and competency. This is a Council unable to operate.

    This report is also the definition of a toxic workplace. The survey will tell you the same. The legacy will last years. The culture debt is enormous. I would urge the CEO to resign. This is clearly a role that they cannot deliver and it would seem to have taken years for any kind of performance assessment to have taken place. Where is the performance accountability for the residents? Who has been holding this CEO to account?

    It is hugely depressing that it has come to this. Quentin, reshuffling the deckchairs and having a coach isn’t going to deliver systemic change and it doesn’t address clear issues of alleged performance and conduct that need investigation. A well run, objective investigation could be completed swiftly and I disagree with the Shoesmith comparison, she was hung out as a convenient blame figure. This CEO has years of alleged performance and conduct issues, many extremely serious. Whilst process must be followed, it is clear there is a complete break down of trust and confidence at TDC. One negotiates well when one has had ones rights breached, not because they’re entitled to it anyway. What TDC seem to have done is outsourced HR to glacial and ill qualified committees.

    I wish Ms Homer well, but please step down. Learn and move on. These old hat organisational development interventions are years too late. It is inconceivable that some team building and some coaching are the solution.

    Trigger a fair and objective investigation and action 10. Overhaul governance structures to include reinstatement of effective HR leadership, a role that must also be at the top table.

  19. 160k a year

    Let that sink in 160k

    And for that you get a CEO who has to agree to be coaching/mentoring

    You dont get much for 160k a year !

    • There’s speculation on here that if MH and Co were simply dismissed, TDC would have to pay out meggabucks in severance pay and so on. By insisting that a training course is undertaken, then should there be subsequent shortcomings, it would be much cheaper to effect a dismissal.

  20. Since I’ve lived in Thanet, the officers have ruled the councillors instead of the other way round, which is how it should be and what happens in every other council in England. The current CEO is not fit for purpose in my opinion. Never was. Odd too that, despite all the complaints against her, 2 disciplinary meetings were recently cancelled before this report came out. Why and by whom?

  21. The public report is only a summary of the full report presented to councillors on 19 May. Much of the report seen by councillors has according to the MO “been witheld for legal reeasons” This means that CEO Homer and her boyfriend, Director Gavin Waite, have been let off the hook just yet. Far from it!
    There may be a recommendation that Homer undertakes training and mentoring, but that does not prevent TDCs General Purposes Committe from recommending to a future meeting of of the council thats Homer, Waite and others should face disciplinary action for matters raised in the “withheld” information.
    Equally it might be the case that information is being withheld because negotiations are underway with Homer and/ or her boyfriend Waite about an settlemenet deal which will involve at least £300,000 for Homer.
    The public report on its own is condemnatory of Homer’s management of TDC. With the withhed sections included the report would likely render her unemployable and bearing in mind the financial and collateral human damage she appears to have cased at TDC- she should never be allowed to occupy of postion of leadership ot trust again.

    I will be fighting through the FOI system to get a copy of the full MO report. What has happended at TDC under Homer’s leadership should not be covered up, nor should she be paid off. The public has right to know and the council should sack her

  22. I imagine the cost to the taxpayer of servicing your FoI requested could have paid off several CEOs.
    And their boyfriends.

    • Andrew – Mr Driver has a history of FOI requests and incurred huge costs to us ratepayers. Also, his efforts regarding live animal shipments incurred ££££ thousands being paid out by TDC. Then we have his criminal behaviour with graffiti. I doubt he has generated any wealth for Thanet!!! Not my idea of a good citizen or role model, only a self seeking idiot.

  23. No way Should a council leader need coaching. They are either qualified to do the job or not. It’s not a role you should be given make a right mess of it and then get coaching. She clearly has no pride or morales because most people of that level would be insulted if they were told they needed coaching and would leave to find another role. She knows she wouldn’t find another role like this and is clinging on for dear life.

    Step aside. Do the right thing for once.

    Next it’ll be Boris saying he needs coaching to be a good PM. (It would take more than coaching)


  24. Severance appears to be a luxury matter at TDC and only TDC. We also seem scared of tackling poor performance. I’ve worked in senior HR for over 25 years and never, ever, seen such preposterous exit and casework figures published and that is against a backdrop of years of different sector experience including public sector. Severance should be modest and proportionate, if not, then let a tribunal decide, whose awards are typically nowhere near the oligarch levels we see locally.

    This is our money and nobody seems to be taking care of it sensibly. Thanet isn’t a cashpoint and it just shouldn’t be this way.

    Settlement is about compromise. Investigations are about fairness and objectivity. Fear of tackling poor performance and a failure to do so is a failure of effective leadership and governance and driven by misplaced fear. There is absolutely nothing to worry about for any employer to expect adequate competency, performance and conduct. Nothing at all. And there’s nothing to worry about in appropriately tackling it, if these things are lacking.

    What we can’t have is a public disciplinary or trial by media. But TDC invokes such responses from some because nothing, literally nothing, ever seems to change.

    Who is running TDC and who is it accountable to?

    • It would be nice to think that TDC was run by the elected councillors, accountable to us.

  25. Excellent comment. Now hiw do we ensure that action is taken using HR legal advice. Do Councillors have such skills? Unless they hzve been in management roles themselves it is highly unlikely. There are plenty of people in Thanet who could advise these Councillors as a sort of lay advisory body. There is no input from ratepayers into this ongoing farce of many years as Coucillors only seem to talk and play politics and change parties to maintain their power. I would not want to be party to a committee of 57 which is impossible to run effectively, but a small Caucus of say 9 would be manageable and very effective.

  26. Alice, one simply answer no one with any ability to run it. Only a load of freeloaders who have never done a day’s work in their lives and find it the only way to get a wage and not have to work after 5-0oclock as their partners have their evening meal ready for them, And they want paying extra if they have to

    • If you are referring to elected Councillors in your comments? Then the basic “allowance ” is £10 per day (abuse from residents is included) You are yet another with very little knowledge. Wonder why it is so difficult to persuade people to serve?

  27. I agree, some of the Councillors are trying to make change as well as many of the staff. It is often thankless I’m sure. However, this is also a publicly accountable organisation with responsibilities to its customers. Us. The residents. Change is needed. Positive change.

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