Director and nine trustees quit York Citizens Advice Bureau

The director of York CAB and nine of its 10 trustees have resigned after a critical report into the circumstances surrounding a walkout by volunteers.

The independent review, undertaken by John Stoker, former chief charity commissioner, says the bureau suffered from a "failure of management" and that trustees were guilty of a "shortcoming in governance".

It recommends that the 28 volunteers who resigned in June in protest at the treatment of a colleague, who was dismissed amid allegations of bullying, should be given a formal apology and invited to return.

The report, commissioned by national bureaux umbrella body Citizens Advice, says that "command-and-control management styles" at the York bureau should no longer be adopted or tolerated.

It criticises the trustee board for not holding Chris Hailey-Norris, director of the organisation, sufficiently to account for failing to ensure that there were adequate standards of management and leadership at the bureau.

In a joint statement, the volunteers who resigned said they would return to the bureau: "We welcome the publication of the report and are very pleased with the findings, which completely vindicate the action volunteers took throughout."

They said they looked "forward to returning to work as soon as possible in a positive spirit, with a commitment to mutual respect and no recriminations, as recommended in the report".

The resigning trustees also issued a statement expressing their sadness at standing down.

"This has been a difficult time for us all," the statement read. "We always acted on advice and what we believed to be in the best interest of the bureau. We hope that the bureau can continue its work in meeting the needs of local people."

A five-strong interim board has been appointed. Members include a member of the national Citizens Advice trustee board and a local person chosen by the volunteers. A new board will be elected in time.

Shani Fancett, director of membership services for Citizens Advice, said: "This report highlights not only what went wrong in York but also how it can be put right. I am confident that, by accepting John Stoker's recommendations, we can draw a line under this unfortunate episode."

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