The crisis enveloping Islington Council’s HR function has escalated with the revelation that HR director Maria King has been suspended, Personnel Today can exclusively reveal.
The decision by council bosses to suspend King follows an independent investigation into several allegations of bullying and harassment against her – understood to have been filed by senior members of her HR team.
A swathe of senior HR professionals has quit the council in recent weeks, said to be frustrated with King’s alleged behaviour and at the delays in concluding the official investigation.
Talent manager Subo Shanmuganathan resigned last month and left with immediate effect. Her decision follows an earlier resignation by another senior member of the council’s HR team. Council sources told Personnel Today that Hesketh Emden, organisation development manager, has also quit.
Council bosses are now looking to recruit an interim HR director to cover King’s suspension.
An Islington Council spokesman confirmed that King was suspended on 11 December. He said: “The council takes its responsibility as an employer very seriously. A thorough investigation has been carried out following allegations relating to the council’s director of HR.
“As a result of this investigation the director of HR has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing. Suspension is not an assumption of guilt and it would be wrong to draw any conclusion from this.
“In the meantime, the council will appoint an interim head of HR to manage this service. Any further discussion or speculation would not be appropriate until the disciplinary process has concluded.”
Council auditors have also been scrutinising financial contracts covering more than £1m of HR consultancy work dating back several years.