Suffolk council's Andrea Hill on leave for inquiry

Dr Dan Poulter said he and fellow MPs had been concerned about Andrea Hill's policies

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Suffolk County Council chief executive Andrea Hill has been asked to take extended leave while whistle-blowing complaints are investigated.

Ms Hill has received criticism for her £218,000 salary and her support for the outsourcing of council services.

Her union called on the council to offer Ms Hill its full support.

The council said Ms Hill will "take additional leave so that preliminary investigations can be made into anonymous whistle-blowing complaints".

The statement given to the BBC by Suffolk County Council continued: "Andrea Hill has agreed to remain away from work so that the review can be carried out independently."

The statement came a day after the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives had called on the council to support Ms Hill

It said: "Andrea has been under intense tabloid pressure in the past few weeks.

"Our understanding is the council has asked her to take more time off as extended leave.

"We call upon Suffolk County Council to give her their full support."

Body in woods

The council has undergone a number of key personnel changes in recent weeks. Council monitoring officer Eric Whitfield and director of resource management Graham Dixon both left the authority in March.

David White, the acting head of its legal department, was found hanging in Butley Woods, near Woodbridge on 4 April.

An independent inquiry into the department was launched after his death amid concerns over staff welfare.

Jeremy Pembroke also stood down as council leader last month and Mark Bee was named as leader-elect.

'Open competition'

In recent weeks some of the key policies Ms Hill had been implementing have been abandoned.

Shortly after his election, Mr Bee made it clear there would be no withdrawal of funding for school crossing patrols where they were needed.

And earlier this week the council announced the planned outsourcing of the library service across the county had been abandoned.

In January Ms Hill defended her salary in an interview on BBC Look East.

"I got the job by open competition. Anybody in the country could have applied for it; in fact, many people did, and they were chief executives on similar salaries to myself," she said.

Asked why she had not taken a pay cut like some other chief executives, she said: "Well, I have considered that I have already given up two pay increases and I think that was the thing to do at the time and I shan't be taking a further pay cut."

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