Andrea Hill asked to take leave while ‘whistleblowing complaints’ investigated

Suffolk county council chief executive Andrea Hill has been asked to take additional leave so preliminary investigations can be made into whistleblowing complaints.

Mrs Hill had been expected back at her desk at Endeavour House yesterday but did not return to the office and later it was announced her leave had been extended for personal reasons.

However, it has today emerged that Mrs Hill has been asked to remain on leave so that an independent review of 'whistleblowing complaints' can be held.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: 'The Chief Executive has been asked by the council to take additional leave so that preliminary investigations can be made into anonymous whistleblowing complaints received by the council.

'Andrea Hill has agreed to remain away from work so that the review can be carried out independently.'

Mrs Hill went on holiday on April 18, just hours after Mark Bee was elected new leader of the Conservative group at the council in succession to Jeremy Pembroke.

He is due to take over as leader of the authority at its annual meeting on May 26.

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During Mrs Hill's holiday period some of the key policies she had been implementing as a key architect of the council's New Strategic Direction have been abandoned.

Within hours of his election, Mr Bee made it clear there will be no withdrawal of funding for school crossing patrols where they are needed and earlier this week it was announced that the divestment of the library service across the county had been abandoned.

These were key elements of the New Strategic Direction which was conceived as a policy to divest council services to other bodies wherever possible.

Mrs Hill is being supported by the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives (ALACE).

Its honorary secretary, Mary Orton, said: 'Andrea is a first-class chief executive and she has our complete support.'