Suffolk County Council legal department to be investigated

An independent inquiry is to be held into Suffolk County Council's legal department following the death of its acting head.

David White, who had worked for the authority for more than 20 years, was found dead in Butley Woods, near Woodbridge on 4 April.

Police are not treating his death as suspicious.

Jane Storey, interim council leader, confirmed an inquiry had been launched following concerns about staff welfare.

Mr White's death came days after the departure from the council of monitoring officer Eric Whitfield and director of resource management Graham Dixon.

Anonymous letter

An anonymous letter was sent to Mrs Storey and other senior councillors, including chairman Eddy Alcock and leaders of opposition parties, calling for more support for staff in the legal department during a difficult time.

Mrs Storey said: "They have sent in some correspondence. It asks for help for the legal department because of recent events.

"I have personally initiated an independent investigation. We have asked a firm from outside Suffolk to investigate.

"Because of the sensitivities of this matter, it's not appropriate to discuss it further."

Mrs Storey said she was unable to give the time scale and terms of reference of the inquiry or say who would be conducting it.

She has taken temporary charge after Jeremy Pembroke stepped down as council leader earlier this month.

He had been at the forefront of changes at the authority, including plans to out source many council services.

He had also come under fire for offering chief executive Andrea Hill a salary of more than £215,000.

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