Bullying claims against former council deputy

Daniel Anderson, a Labour Party councillor representing Southgate Green
Daniel Anderson, a Labour councillor representing Southgate Green

Report by Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A former deputy leader of Enfield Council has become the second elected official in under a year to face accusations of bullying.

Daniel Anderson, a Labour councillor representing Southgate Green, could be banned from council offices for two months after four members of staff complained about his behaviour.

In a letter seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Enfield Council’s monitoring officer ruled Cllr Anderson had breached the local authority’s code of conduct and bullied officers.

Cllr Anderson – who was deputy leader of the council from May 2018 to May 2019, and before that cabinet member for environment – has denied the allegations and said he would appeal against the decision.

The monitoring officer’s letter details claims by three unnamed council officers that Cllr Anderson engaged in “threatening and uncontrolled” behaviour. All three said he called them “idiots” while two of them claimed he threatened their jobs. A fourth officer, whose case is detailed separately, claimed Cllr Anderson “lost his temper and threatened him by stating that he ‘would cut his f***ing balls off’ and that he would be sacked”.

According to the investigating officer, all four complainants said Cllr Anderson’s behaviour “crossed a line from robust and challenging to aggressive and threatening”. The monitoring officer states Cllr Anderson “failed to treat officers with respect on several occasions”, breaching two parts of the code of conduct. His letter also states that on several occasions Cllr Anderson’s behaviour went “amounted to bullying of officers” – breaching another section of the code of conduct.

Cllr Anderson has been told to issue a written apology, promise not to repeat the behaviour, and could also be banned from council offices for two months – pending the outcome of an appeal hearing that could overturn the ruling.

It is the second time in under 12 months that the council has been hit by reports of bullying, after council leader Nesil Caliskan was found last year to have bullied a colleague and breached the code of conduct. Commenting on the current case, Cllr Caliskan said: “It is utterly unacceptable that any council officer has had to endure such experiences. I would like to acknowledge the bravery of those Enfield Council officers who have come forward and spoken out.

“We must continue to ensure that anyone who is threatening and abusive to our hard-working council officers takes full responsibility for their actions.”

Cllr Anderson issued a press statement “emphatically” denying the allegations, criticising the report for apparently being “written in haste” and the verdict “based on hearsay”. He said he would appeal the decision and added: “Completely unsubstantiated and often libellous allegations against me have been accepted as a given, while internal guidelines, procedures and protocols under which I have been investigated have been breached.

“Throughout my time as a councillor, I have always sought to put residents’ concerns at the very heart of the decision-making process and will continue to do so. I will not be silenced, and the truth will come out.”