Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Doncaster council apologises for faking signature

Doncaster Civic Offices
Image caption Doncaster council admitted it had used the officer's signature without his consent

A council has said sorry for using a senior officer's signature on a letter about cuts to black and minority ethnic group funding without his consent.

Doncaster Borough Council "unreservedly apologised" for inserting the signature of one of its then most senior ethnic minority employees into correspondence.

It added that the decision, as outlined in a letter to affected groups in 2010, had not been taken by the officer.

The admission has prompted calls for an independent investigation.

Tim Brown, from Doncaster's Black and Ethnic Minority Community Forum, demanded answers saying he was "angry" the council had misrepresented the officer's signature.

He said: "I think the letter marks a new low for Doncaster council.

"I would hope that this letter will provide a catalyst for concerted action, starting with an independent investigation that will look at why this took place because that way we will get to the truth."

'New opportunities'

The officer, who has now left his post, had lodged a complaint against the council that included the use of his signature without his consent.

It was due to be heard by an employment tribunal but a settlement was reached in advance of the hearing according to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

A council spokesman said the officer had left to "pursue new opportunities" after 10 years in its employment, but refused to comment further.

It apologised to the officer and to community groups for using the signature in a letter sent on 10 May.

Plans to cut funding for certain community groups and events including Gay Pride, International Women's Day and Black History month, were first announced by the town's former elected mayor Peter Davies, who stood as an English Democrat in 2009.

Mr Davies was deposed as the town's elected mayor by Labour's Ros Jones earlier this month.

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