TV show: PR boss told to stay away from council

Chris Dunbar
Chris Dunbar

WIGAN Council’s head of public relations has been temporarily relieved of his duties while an internal review into the Don’t Blame the Council debacle continues.

Chris Dunbar has been told to stay away from the town hall, chief executive Donna Hall is overseeing the PR department in his absence, the Evening Post understands.

Mr Dunbar is the second department boss to be moved aside while local authority chiefs conduct an investigation into how the controversial documentary came to be aired.

Terry Dunn, head of environment services, has also been temporarily stood down with deputy chief executive Paul McKevitt carrying out his duties in the meantime.

Councillors were instructed not to mention the documentary at this week’s meeting of the full council because any debate could conflict with the internal investigation.

Speaking after the meeting on Wednesday, Ms Hall said the focus of the review had shifted to managers now that all workers who were featured in the ITV show have now been interviewed.

She added: “We would like (the internal review) to be done quickly. It’s the actions that led to the film coming out in the way that it did (which is now the focus). Who saw it, how was it allowed, who signed the contract, all that kind of build-up to it.

“It’s not about the staff that were in it, it’s now about the management that got us into that position.

“It’s more around the bigger picture. We’re now trawling our way through e-mails.”

The review is being led by legal and monitoring officer Linda Fisher and Human Resources assistant director Sonia Halliwell.

Don’t Blame the Council, which aired on ITV1 last month, caused a frenzied reaction among residents who viewed council staff making disparaging comments about local authority schemes and displaying a poor work ethic.