AN executive director at Cheshire East Council has been accused of withdrawing details of a senior officer’s complaint to stop her being protected by whistleblowing law.

Sue Wallace, a former HR officer from Connah’s Quay, has taken CEC to an employment tribunal after she was dismissed in December 2016 – just weeks after producing a report which suggests the council may have underpaid care workers in ‘sleep-in shifts’.

At a hearing in Manchester on Friday she suggested that Frank Jordan, executive director of place, missed out key concerns that Ms Wallace had previously raised in a report he wrote for Bill Norman, the then-head of legal services at CEC.

In the report dated December 22, 2016, Mr Jordan recommended that Ms Wallace’s concerns were to be treated as grievances and not as a whistleblowing matter – advice which Mr Norman later followed.

Ms Wallace told the tribunal that she made Mr Jordan aware of four individuals who did not receive the minimum wage after working sleep-in shifts at Tatton Park at a meeting with him six days earlier, and that she also raised concerns about failings picked up by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Representing herself as the claimant, she told Mr Jordan: “What I am putting to you is that the reason why the CQC and the minimum wage was not in the report was that you would have had to class it as whistleblowing.

“You met with me and made your notes. You did not investigate or speak to people about it. You did not take any guidance on the whistleblowing criteria as opposed to what is a grievance.”

But Mr Jordan told the tribunal he could not recollect Ms Wallace raising any issues other than her grievances with the HR restructure, her own dismissal and her personal employment situation.

He also suggested that his notes had no record of either the CQC or minimum wage issue, and that he was only made aware of the ‘sleep-in shifts’ in 2017.

“I did the best I could to summarise the issues for Mr Norman,” Mr Jordan said.

“The purpose of my report was to clarify the allegations. It was not to close anything down.”

Ms Wallace, who was representing herself as the claimant, also quizzed Mr Jordan on why he called Peter Bates, chief operating officer, the day before they met – and the same day that she met with Mr Bates at Knutsford services on the M6.

“He was aware that I was having the meeting in the morning,” Mr Jordan said.

“I did not discuss any details. The purpose was just to tell him that there was nothing he needed to do. It was a short call – less than a minute.”

Ms Wallace alleges that Mr Bates asked her not to meet with Mr Jordan during their meeting at Knutsford services – which Mr Bates has strongly denied.

The tribunal also heard evidence from Paul Bayley, the officer who investigated Ms Wallace’s complaints after Mr Norman determined them to be grievances.

Ms Wallace alleges that Mr Bayley failed to investigate her grievances ‘properly’ because he was made aware of the minimum wage issue on November 28, 2016, by email.

But Mr Bayley insisted he never saw the email, and added that it would ‘not have any impact on the way I undertook the investigation’.

Ms Wallace is yet to give evidence as the claimant.

The tribunal will resume on Monday.