England

Welcome to Yorkshire problems 'bigger than one person'

Sir Gary Verity Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Gary Verity resigned from Welcome to Yorkshire after 10 years as chief executive

Problems with the culture, governance and management at tourism body Welcome To Yorkshire have been highlighted in a report obtained by BBC Yorkshire.

It comes after its former boss Sir Gary Verity resigned in March on health grounds, but later faced complaints about his behaviour and expenses.

In the aftermath of his departure, the tourism body commissioned two reports.

One report seen by the BBC found staff felt unable to raise concerns about behaviour, including that of Sir Gary.

The tourism body is yet to respond to a request for a comment from the BBC.

The independent report by Clarion into the management of Welcome To Yorkshire states some staff were concerned by the behaviour of Sir Gary.

But the problems in the culture at the organisation were "bigger than one person", it found.

The report says, "by his own admissions, it appears Sir Gary fell short of the highest performance and leadership that he states he tried to set, and which we find would be reasonably expected of a CEO [chief executive officer]".

A second investigation considered expenses claims made by all staff at Welcome To Yorkshire over a three-year period.

In expenses claims worth £900,000 investigators said £26,000 of these claims were deemed to be of a personal nature.

BDO, the accountancy firm conducting the review of expenses, said "we are not in a position to conclude whether the majority of material expense claims were reasonable and proportionate.

"This is because Welcome To Yorkshire did not have specific guidelines or policies to govern entertainment expenses."

Both reports are expected to be put into the public domain tomorrow.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Gary was credited with creating the UK's biggest cycling race, the Tour de Yorkshire

A spokesman for Sir Gary, who was credited with creating the UK's biggest cycling race, the Tour de Yorkshire, said: "The reports have not been provided to Sir Gary or his legal team, which suggests they have been leaked.

"It is not therefore appropriate to comment upon leaked documents which neither Sir Gary nor his lawyers have had sight of."

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