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Brighton and Hove City councillor investigated over claims she acted 'unprofessionally'
An outspoken councillor is under investigation over claims she acted unprofessionally when chasing up concerns about an elderly resident’s care.
Brighton and Hove City Council has received a complaint from an employee that Dawn Barnett “disregarded procedure” and brought her office into disrepute after visiting a workplace without asking permission from a manager.
After being reported to the standards board, Coun Barnett now must give evidence to a panel before it is decided if the claims are investigated further.
It is the second time the Conservative councillor has been subject to an internal investigation over her behaviour in recent years.
Coun Barnett, who is a former care worker and represents Hangleton and Knoll, said: “I’m not sorry as I was only following up something for my residents.
“Somebody has to stick up for the elderly.
“I think it’s a complete waste of officers’ time and taxpayers’ money to take me to the standards board.
“We have been through all of this before and it was thrown out then.”
Exact details of the complaint have not been released by the local authority as it is deemed confidential.
But The Argus understands the issue relates to concerns from one of Coun Barnett’s constituents about the care provided to a relative.
Coun Barnett is believed to have followed up the issue by visiting a hospital where the worker was based.
The Tory councillor said she discussed the situation for 15 minutes with the employee before leaving.
It is understood the complaint raises concerns that Coun Barnett did ask the permission of a manager before visiting or telephoning the worker.
It is also claimed she was not invited to the workplace where calls of a “sensitive, private and confidential nature” were being made.
In 2011 Coun Barnett was found guilty of bringing the office into disrepute after handing out maps to travellers to try to get them to leave her ward.
She was cleared of two further allegations of failing to treat others with respect and breaching equality laws.
A council spokeswoman said: “All complaints relating to elected members are dealt with under the council’s code of conduct for members.”
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