Council addresses claims of “toxic” workplace
SOUTHERN Downs Regional council has hit back after a leak from an employee revealed claims of a "toxic" workplace environment.
In an article published by a community newspaper last week, it was alleged that council tried to suppress media from obtaining a 2018 internal survey report entitled Labour Force Strategy.
According to the report, after an initial media request was refused, the media outlet lodged a Right to Information application on July 27 where it was objected to, reviewed and appealed for over a year.
The publication eventually received a copy of the report from an anonymous council worker.
The survey reportedly suggested a culture of poor management and entitlement.
"There were many reports of leaders turning a blind eye to poor employee performance due to being scared of how they may be treated for taking action," the report read.
"Likewise, a reluctance to praise good performance for a fear that other employees may get upset by someone else getting recognition."
However, council fought back, saying Southern Free Times omitted and took information "out of context".
According to a statement, SDRC said improvements had been made since the report 18 months ago and paid notice to allegations a member of senior management quit due to workplace frustrations.
"It has been reported that some senior staff have left the organisation due to an implied poor culture and internal decision-making processes," the statement read.
"This is simply not the case."
"As with any organisation, there is a level of expectation surrounding the performance and responsibilities of all senior staff employed at Southern Downs Regional Council."
Council also revealed its trust among employees had been severely jeopardised due to the leak.
"While feedback from the survey indicated staff were looking for a greater level of trust, it will be difficult now that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed to conduct meaningful and effective consultation," the statement read.
"Paramount to that process is ensuring confidentiality. This is why council sought SDRC media to defend requests for the results of the survey to be released.
"It is noted no other organisations or businesses in our region are put under the same level of scrutiny as council."
Warwick Daily News tried to contact CEO David Keenan for further comment but he did not return our calls in time for print.