Lincoln CAB apologises to dismissed volunteer

Vindication for Lettie Fortune after 18-month campaign

A Citizens Advice bureau has unreservedly apologised to a volunteer who was dismissed inappropriately.

Lincoln and District CAB wrote to former volunteer advice worker Lettie Fortune after a board meeting last week.

Trustees at the meeting considered a report by Professor David Chiddick, vice-chancellor of Lincoln University, into Fortune's dismissal in March last year for making allegedly defamatory comments about bureau manager Roy Trotter.

Fortune had campaigned for 18 months for an apology, but neither Lincoln CAB nor the national body Citizens Advice agreed to investigate the matter until she contacted Third Sector.

Chiddick's report said Fortune's dismissal meeting "was not conducted in an appropriate way" and said allegations by Tom James, chair of Lincoln CAB, that Fortune had made libellous and defamatory allegations were "unproven and/or inappropriate".

Chiddick added he had "considerable sympathy" for James because he had acted on the advice of the charity's solicitors, Bates Wells & Braithwaite, when he dismissed Fortune.

The report prompted an apology by the national body last month and now Lincoln CAB has taken the same action.

"We have drafted a letter to Lettie accepting the findings of the report and unreservedly apologising for the fact of the dismissal and the manner in which it was handled," said Philip Wright, vice-chair of Lincoln CAB.

Asked whether James intended to carry on as chair, Wright said: "That's a matter for the board. Tom James took advice and followed that advice. I don't think you can necessarily blame Tom."

A spokesman for Citizens Advice said: "Lincoln and District CAB trustee board will have a meeting to elect officers at their meeting next month, so it's really a question of whether Tom James will put himself up for re-election or not."

Fortune said: "I'm pleased they have apologised and I'm relieved it's over."

James was not available for comment.

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