An investigation by Suffolk County Council has cleared its chief executive of bullying and being responsible for the death of the authority’s former head of legal services.
Andrea Hill has also been cleared of making dishonest expenses claims.
However, she will leave her post with immediate effect and receive total compensation worth £218,592, a figure that includes her three-month contractual notice period.
The announcements by Suffolk follow the conclusion of an investigation by its dismissals and appeals committee. The investigation was launched after the authority received whistle-blowing allegations against Hill earlier this year.
In a statement, Suffolk said: “Bullying and harassment allegations were robustly investigated by an independent firm of solicitors (Wragge & Co). Although it remains a concern that such a perception existed, the committee is satisfied that there was no evidence to support those claims or that she was responsible for the death of David White (former Head of Legal Services). The committee wants to reassure staff that all allegations are treated extremely seriously.”
David White died in April this year. His body was found in woods near Butley, after the police received a call expressing concerns at his welfare. His death was not treated as suspicious.
The dismissal and appeals committee also received a report on Hill’s expenses claims during her time as chief executive.
On this issue, the council said: “[This report] has concluded that whilst there were undoubtedly claims which, in the current climate, might not represent best use of public money, the committee accepted that there was no dishonesty in the claims made.
Confirming Hill’s departure, Suffolk said: “There has been significant media attention attached to Mrs Hill which has become a distraction and both parties accept that with new political leadership of Suffolk County Council in place, it is better to allow the organisation to move forward with new managerial leadership.
“The county council would like to thank Mrs Hill for all she has done over the past three years and wish her well for her future.”