DISTRICT councillors have apologised to staff members who have been bullied or mistreated following a report into the authority.

At last Thursday’s meeting of Ryedale District Council (RDC), members heard from Cllr John Clark, chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, about the background to the investigation, which was carried out by Professor John Raine and Eileen Dunstan, into bullying.

It follows a commission by the committee to gather evidence in support of its investigation into allegations of bullying and mistreatment of staff.

The report found that several interviewees, all from the same department, had recounted in detail some particularly “unpleasant” and “hurtful incidents” they had to endure and in two cases, invoking “suicidal feelings of despair”.

Cllr Clark said: “This has been an incredibly long journey - six years on a personal level and two years with the committee.

“This council has always tried to be moral and tried to be like a family and a good council. On that basis, we must, must do something for this group of people who were abused by the system.”

Cllr Clark said at least 10 people had come to him over concerns about their treatment and he was aware of at least another 10.

“There is the issue of those who were doing the bullying and those who allowed it to happen,” said

“Any organisation can have bullying in it - it is the way it is handled.”

Cllr Clark said that since the appointment of Stacey Burlet, RDC’s chief executive, who joined the authority in 2018, he had not heard of a “bleep of bullying”.

“I would like to thank the council for listening and being prepared to change its mind,” he said.

“I would also like to thank all officers, past and present, who helped and tried to assist in any way.”

Cllr John Raper said he felt the council had been “slurred and sullied” by the findings in the report.

“All the time I have been a member of this council I have felt we were a family,” he added. I am truly sorry for what has happened.”

The council was told that the Ms Burlet was in the process of contacting the people abused to offer them counselling and careers advice.

A senior leadership team session will also discuss the themes arising from the Raine and Dunstan report, focusing on lessons to be learned and to determine any specific actions for personal development.