Council PR boss quits over TV documentary

Former Wigan Council PR chief Chris Dunbar
Former Wigan Council PR chief Chris Dunbar

WIGAN Council’s head of public relations has resigned.

The town hall on Tuesday confirmed it has “received and accepted” the resignation of an unnamed officer but Wigan Today believes it to be Chris Dunbar.

Mr Dunbar had been suspended since July as council bosses launched a probe into the circumstances of how controversial TV programme Don’t Blame the Council was put together.

He is the third high-ranking officer to leave their job as part of the investigation along with the environment services director Terry Dunn, who featured prominently in the programme, and assistant director for trading Steve Cassie.

Wigan Today also understands several other council employees who featured in the programme are also no longer employed by the town hall.

Sonia Halliwell, assistant director for human resources, who is one of two senior officers who have led the ongoing investigation said: “Wigan Council can confirm that it has received and accepted the resignation of an employee in relation to the programme Don’t Blame the Council.

“This follows an in-depth investigation into their part in the production and airing of the programme.

“None of the employees who have left the council’s employment following the programme have received any payments neither have any agreements been entered into.”

The ITV documentary, which aired in June, prompted a backlash from viewers after workers were seen displaying a poor work ethic and made disparaging comments about flagship council schemes.

Mr Dunbar, in his role as top officer in charge of public relations, is the man behind the council’s successful “Believe” campaigns and it was him who persuaded the BBC to choose Wigan for two series of less controversial programme Call the Council.