Slough remains tight-lipped about Ruth Bagley’s severance deal

Ruth Bagley is to leave Slough Borough Council at the end of the year, with an undisclosed severance package.  The announcement ends six months of speculation with the Council still refusing to share any official reason for Ms Bagley’s exit.

ruth bagley

Slough CEO Ruth Bagley was escorted off Council premises in July and went on sick leave, reportedly for stress.  A severance package was agreed on Thursday.

Ruth Bagley is to officially step down from the top role at Slough Borough Council after more than nine years following an emergency meeting of Slough councillors on Thursday from which the public was barred.

Ms Bagley’s role as CEO has been carried out by Roger Parkin since she was apparently escorted off the Council’s premises six months ago, and subsequently went on sick leave.

The independent Slough Times broke the story in July and has relentlessly pursued the matter since then, apparently incurring the wrath of the Council and police.

As early as 2nd December the Times reported that Ms Bagley was set to formally leave, citing negotiations in agreeing a pay-off as the only hold up to confirmation.  It reported that it had learned, through sources in the Council, that an external investigator was commissioned to produce a report – largely complete by October bar Ms Bagley’s refusal to cooperate.  Following a series of hearings convened into complaints of serious misconduct against Ms Bagley, it predicted that she would step down to avoid the report being published to councillors.

Complaints have included allegations around Ms Bagley’s involvement with the Slough Children’s Services Trust, treatment of colleagues, and use of Council funds to pay for two trips to China.  Slough Council has refused to comment.

Local newspapers have been shown impotent in making any inroads into the story. The Slough Observer reported the “shock exit” last Friday following publication of the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, while the Slough Express focused on the ban on press and public attending.

In August the Slough Express reported an anonymous complaint from “afraid” Council staff claiming that Cllr Sohail Munawar had plotted Ms Bagley’s removal from taking over as leader of Slough Council in May.  The Times’, on the other hand, says the removal of Cllr Anderson as leader opened the door for a wave of complaints to come forward.

Paul Janik, editor of the Slough Times, was interviewed under caution by Police on Monday, following claims of harassment. He told Colnbrook Views that he would not be deterred from his investigation.

We will be appointing a permanent chief executive … who we expect to improve the quality of life for residents by growing the local economy, tackling the housing crisis and continuing to improve council services

The Council has remained tight lipped, issuing a statement yesterday merely confirming that Ms Bagley will leave at the end of the year.  It said simply that Ms Bagley had helped the council “develop innovative solutions in the face of recession and austerity” – including the introduction of several public/private partnerships – and in attracting inward investment.

Thursday’s meeting was the second private session held to discuss Ms Bagley.  A reports pack associated with the meeting runs to four pages – all with content redacted.

Councillor Munawar issued an inocuous statement thanking Ms Bagley for “a decade of service to the community in Slough, wishing her success and “a happy and healthy future”.  He added:

“Slough Borough Council is facing many new challenges and has many opportunities.  We will be appointing a permanent chief executive to meet these challenges who we expect to improve the quality of life for residents by growing the local economy, tackling the housing crisis and continuing to improve council services.”

Ms Bagley said she was “enormously proud” of chairing the Safer Slough Partnership; “privileged” to have chaired the Western Rail Link to Heathrow steering group; “absolutely privileged” to have served the people of Slough;  and “fortunate” to have worked with “so many talented and dedicated colleagues”.

She wished her former colleagues well but said:

“Now is the right time for me to move on and I am very pleased that the stress of the last six months is resolved.”

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