Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

First Employment Tribunal case of Tower Hamlets Youth Services worker

By on December 15, 2016 in News, Tower Hamlets council, Youth Services

What is believed to be the first case concerning a member of the Council’s Youth Services team has started to be heard at the East London Employment Tribunals Service.

The hearing is between claimant Jalil Ahmed and the Council. Mr Ahmed worked at Tower Hamlets Council from approximately 2003 as a driver of one of the 7.5t lorries of the Youth Services Rapid Response Team (RRT) and Youth Worker In Charge (YWIC).

Racial or ethnic discrimination

One of the allegations made by Mr Ahmed is discrimination or victimisation on grounds of race or ethnic origin as well as unfair dismissal on grounds of capability, conduct and failure of employer to pay.

employment-contract-featuredMr Ahmed was dismissed from his job in January 2016 after an investigation into various allegations relating to overpayment and back-payment of pay / overtime pay leading to breaches of the Council’s Code of Conduct and the validity of this dismissal is being considered by the Employment Tribunal.

The precise details of this case are complex but the essential issue is that Mr Ahmed says that he understood he was being paid a higher rate for his work (as a YWIC) than the Council believes he should have been (as a driver).

Mr Ahmed says he was paid at the rate for the work which he believed he was entitled to, the Council says he was not entitled to the rate of pay he was paid and should have paid it back. The main payments seem to have been since September 2013 until the start of the investigation in August 2015.

At the conclusion of this investigation by the Council into this matter led by Mr Andy Bamber (Service Head, Tower Hamlets Council currently on sick leave) Mr Ahmed was dismissed.

Another issue brought to the tribunal seems to be the manner of the internal investigation by Mr Bamber and his team including Mr Trevor Kennet (previously Head of Service, Investigation & Enforcement, Tower Hamlets Council) and Mr Tony Gowan (Enforcement Manager at London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Tower Hamlets Council) who interviewed Mr Ahmed.

To exacerbate a complex issue further there seems to have been numerous verbal understandings in place between Mr Ahmed and his supervisors and at least one officer who managed Mr Ahmed, Dinar Hussain, previously Head of Integrated Youth & Community Services (IYCS), has now left the Council and so is not available as a witness.

Note: At the time of publication Tower Hamlets Council had been unable to supply LW with  the dates that Andy Bamber had responsibility for Youth Services during his employment at Tower Hamlet Council.

Update 15 December 2016 15:35 hrs

Tower Hamlets Council have now provided us with this statement:

“Andy Bamber was responsible for the Youth Service from 1 October 2012 when it was transferred to CLC [Communities Localities & Cultural Services] from the Children’s Directorate following the retirement of the Service Head for Youth and Community Learning.

 The Integrated Youth Service transferred back to the Children’s Directorate with effect from 1 April 2016.”

 

Another Wapping Mole adventure

cropped-wapping-mole-featured-600-400.jpgAs many Tower Hamlets Council employees will by now have realised the Wapping Mole has taken to sleeping in the Town Hall’s ventilation system to make his burrowing much easier and reduce commuting burrowing expenses.

Early one morning a couple of weeks back Moley emerged from his ‘vent burrow’ and purely by chance stumbled into Anchorage House directly opposite the Town Hall and then, by an even curiouser chance, found himself in the reception of the East London Employment Tribunal.

Coincidentally only the previous day Moley had been trying to find out if there were any Employment Court Tribunals relating to Tower Hamlets Council at all.

No particular reason, just a mole hunch. He often gets these after a good lunch.

Visiting the CourtServe site which should have court listings for the Employment Courts in central, south and east London Moley was saddened to see that not only were there no listings of cases involving the Council but there were no listings for the east London tribunal at all.

Not one. Odd.

Cheese footballs & Open Justice

Both a mole call and a mole mail to the East London Employment Tribunal went unanswered. “So much for open justice” he muttered and burrowed off to find some his favourite Christmas snacks, The Wonder That Are Cheese Footballs.

So Moley was doubly surprised when he did find himself in the East Employment London Tribunal reception the very next day!

The court staff in reception were, despite being surprised to find a curious mole in their office, very helpful indeed although they did not seem to have much information to hand.

“Hello! Are there any cases involving Tower Hamlets Council being heard at all today?”, Moley asked, still scratching night earth from his whiskers. “Or any involving a Mr Andy Bamber, Trevor Gowan or Trevor Kennett? They might only be witnesses though.”

The very helpful person on the front desk scanned the case list on her desk but to no avail. Nothing relating to the Council. She asked a colleague for help and he went off to check. Moley was very kindly offered a seat in the waiting area.

Moley sat and rested his aching paws. Brushing his whiskers he spotted that directly opposite his seat there was a prominent notice board for all to see. Even a near-blind mole. And what was on the notice board? Notices of course.

And what type of notices? Yes! Court notices! About court things! Like court cases!

Moley looked at the listing of the days cases which he had not been able to find via (a) the CourtServe site (b) phoning the Tribunal office (c) emailing the Tribunal office or (d) going to the Tribunal office himself.

“Room 3 Mr. J. Ahmed (Claimant) v Tower Hamlets Council Hearing RRD, UDL, WA, 3200575/2016” scribbled the Mole in his mole book*.

“Hoorah!” thought Moley and danced a little mole jig.

At the same time he was a little baffled as to why it was so difficult to find out even the most basic details of a court hearing that was open to the public.

Even more annoying is that this Employment Tribunal hearing is the first hearing in open court of any issues relating to Tower Hamlets Youth Services. Many people are interested in this.

Probably just coincidental. There had been a lot of coincidences that morning rued Moley.

Checking with the court staff that the hearing was both open to the public and the press off Moley scampered to Room 3 and settled down to listen to the questions being asked of Mr Andy Bamber.

This was the second day of the hearing. It was adjourned for two more days in court in early February or March 2017.

*No, not a ‘Moleskin’ notebook . 

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