Paul Everitt is joining Love Your Doorstep after being made redundant from civic centre – where he says there is a ‘toxic culture’, reports James Cracknell
The former head of arts and culture at Enfield Council has been hired by a local community interest company – following his acrimonious departure from the civic centre.
Paul Everitt, who was recently made redundant from the council after 13 years of service, is now starting a new role as director of culture and community infrastructure with Love Your Doorstep CIC. Paul was widely admired for his work in Enfield supporting community groups and promoting arts and culture across the borough and says he will now be building on that legacy in his new job.
He told the Dispatch: “Love Your Doorstep’s focus is on supporting the community – bringing the community together with the resources that they have and building relationships with local people. It excites me to join an organisation which has got the community at its heart.”
Emma Rigby, founder and director of Love Your Doorstep, launched a petition in support of Paul when the news broke earlier this year that his job was at risk. She said: “We are beyond excited to have Paul join our team with his skills, expertise and passion for Enfield.
“He carries the same values and ethos as Love Your Doorstep around collaborative and partnership working for the good of our community.”
Paul’s redundancy from the council was made as part of an internal restructure, with his job role made obsolete. He was placed on gardening leave in the summer prior to his official redundancy in October. The civic centre restructure included a shake-up of council arts venues and the way they are managed, which Paul had opposed and voiced concerns about.
Talking about some of the issues he dealt with at the council prior to his departure, Paul described a “toxic culture” of “bullying and intimidation” and said: “When you are working in that toxic culture you are in a state of fear, you don’t trust every part of the organisation and it closes in around you. There is nowhere to go. A survival instinct kicks in.”
Paul said that although other roles were being made available within the council it became clear “they wanted me out of the organisation” and that being put on gardening leave “meant there was no proper transfer” to the council’s new culture team. He added: “My whole career is about culture, so being in charge of street cleaning didn’t really appeal to me.”
Paul’s work at the council included the development of the Dugdale Centre in Enfield Town as a core part of the borough’s arts scene and as a place to support emerging artists from diverse and under-represented groups.
Emma – who recently won a national award for her work supporting Enfield during the pandemic – said she and many others were “determined to not lose Paul” after his departure from the council. His new role at Love Your Doorstep will involve leading on projects that “support and develop local community infrastructure” and “engage in partnerships with people and organisations in line with our common cause”. He will work across arts and culture as well as health and wellbeing and climate change.
In response to the allegations made by Paul following his redundancy, a council spokesperson said: “There is not a toxic atmosphere of bullying at Enfield Council. This is a baseless and slanderous allegation and a slur on all at Enfield Council.
“Paul Everitt never raised a grievance or complaint about such behaviour when he worked at the council. If he had, it would have been thoroughly and rigorously investigated and dealt with. The truth is, a review of the efficiency of the service including whether council taxpayers were getting value for money, led to the deletion of the post of arts and culture manager. Paul Everitt received a generous redundancy package.
“These are very tough financial times for Enfield Council – the government has cut more than 50% of our funding over the past ten years. There have been other redundancies in the past among staff as a result of those cuts as we have redesigned services to stay within our budget and keep council tax as low as possible.
“We take the culture of our workforce very seriously. We encourage people to speak with us directly if they have any concerns, and they will be dealt with in line with our procedures and our duty-of-care responsibilities.”
For more information about Love Your Doorstep: