Former Citizens Advice volunteer demands to see report on her dismissal

Gillian Brocklehurst is using the Data Protection Act in a bid to see the document

Gillian Brocklehurst
Gillian Brocklehurst

A former volunteer has asked Citizens Advice to release under the terms of the Data Protection Act a copy of a report into her dismissal that she has not been allowed to see.

Gillian Brocklehurst was a volunteer at Cylch Conwy District CAB for four years until she was told her services were no longer required in July last year.

Documents on the case show that Phil Ward, the charity’s chair, told her that this was because of her "disruptive behaviour".

Brocklehurst told Third Sector she denied this and claimed she had been dismissed for expressing concerns about the way the bureau was run. She wrote to Gillian Guy, chief executive of the national body, Citizens Advice, expressing her dissatisfaction.

The national body instructed the chairs of two other Citizens Advice bureaux in Wales to investigate the matter. After completing their investigation they wrote to Brocklehurst saying "verbal evidence" supported the view that she had been disruptive. But they also said they did "not find that there was a strong reason to ask you to leave".

However, the national Citizens Advice has refused to release a full copy of the report to Brocklehurst.

She has written to Guy and John Gladwin, chair of Citizens Advice, claiming the investigation was a "whitewash" and insisting it should have been conducted by people not involved with Citizens Advice, as happened in previous disputes involving volunteers at Lincoln & District and York CABs.

Brocklehurst said she was unhappy with the response and has now written to Citizens Advice requesting under the act that the charity send all the information it holds on her and another former volunteer, Liz Whitfield, who has also submitted a complaint about her treatment.

"I spent nine and a half hours a week volunteering there, and to get chucked out at the age of 69 feels a bit rough," said Brocklehurst. "I want to see the full report and don’t think it’s right that they can withhold it."

A Citizens Advice spokesman said in a statement: "Complaints by two former volunteers about Conwy CAB have been investigated by the chairs of trustees of two unconnected Citizens Advice bureaux in Wales.

"Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy has asked for a review of the process undertaken to ensure it was fair, transparent, and independent."

Lettie Fortune, who campaigned for 18 months to receive an apology from Lincoln & District CAB for dismissing her as a volunteer, is supporting Brocklehurst’s battle to see the report.

"A fair, impartial and independent investigation into what happened at the bureau is the only way forward," said Fortune.

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