Councillor Steve Tulley has been reprimanded over claims that he was ‘intimidating, aggressive and bullying’ during a child protection meeting.
At a full meeting of Wakefield Council last week, councillors voted to censure the South Elmsall and South Kirkby councillor after considering a standards board report.
A complaint was made against Coun Tulley after he attended a child in need meeting between two of his constituents and social workers on July 17 last year.
The complaint alleged that social workers were left ‘very upset’ and the meeting was stopped due to Coun Tulley’s behaviour, described by health workers as ‘challenging and confrontational’.
The Very Reverend George Nairn-Briggs, chairman of the council’s standards board, told councillors at the meeting that Coun Tulley had refused to co-operate with his committee’s investigation of the complaint.
But, speaking at the full council meeting, Coun Tulley defended himself against the accusations, saying the social workers had acted improperly in the case against his constituents, a complaint that was upheld by the council.
He told councillors: “I have never bullied anyone in my life and spend all my professional time defending people who are bullied. In that meeting I asked questions about the management of the case.
“The social workers were like rabbits caught in the headlights. An investigation took place and they were found to be telling bare-faced lies.
“That’s the reason I didn’t take part in the investigation – most of the witnesses against me were proven liars. This council failed my constituents and, more importantly, those children.”
The initial complaint was referred to the standards committee and investigated by an independent party – a legal officer at Kirklees Council, who found that ‘there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Coun Tulley’s behaviour was intimidating and amounted to bullying of the individual social workers concerned.’
The standards board report agreed that Coun Tulley was uncooperative throughout the investigation.
It went on to say: “He essentially undermined the process and the ability of the designated officers whose responsibility it was to make decisions concerning the welfare of children by not allowing the meeting to proceed as it should have.”
Coun Tulley said he regretted not taking part in the investigation.
Coun Tulley was recently suspended indefinitely from the Wakefield Labour group for seconding a motion from Hemsworth district councillor Shaun Hodson, asking Wakefield to reverse a decision not to pay town and parish councils across the district a council tax support grant worth £400,000. Coun Hodson voted against Coun Tulley’s censure, along with Coun Laurie Harrison and one other.