Nottingham City Council's Stephen Barker hits out at misuse of PR funds claims

Nottingham City Council's newly redundant comms head has hit out at claims that he has misused PR funds, dubbing them 'a lot of nonsense'.

Nottingham City Council: makes comms head redundant
Nottingham City Council: makes comms head redundant

The council has handed director of comms and marketing Stephen Barker voluntary redundancy.

This news comes as the council investigates claims that Barker used council taxpayers' money to support Labour election campaigns.  

Barker has taken voluntary redundancy from the council he has worked at for 15 years, explaining that the move is part of ongoing budget savings across the council. Comms will now be led by a director of policy, partnership and comms, a combination of three posts.

Barker is currently helping the council’s chief executive Jane Todd with investigations into whether council taxpayers' money has been used to support Labour election campaigns.

This follows revelations made by The Nottingham Post that two comms documents appeared to show that the Labour Party and the council co-ordinated publicity campaigns with a ‘Proud of Nottingham’ theme ahead of the election in 2007.

Barker responded to the allegations: ‘It’s a load of nonsense. A single journalist and a former councillor are looking for a conspiracy where there hasn’t been one. I’m happy to return to help with any part of the investigation. It’s not about me – I’m a conduit. It’s about getting the people around the leader.’

The council has stated that the planned voluntary redundancy is ‘in no way connected to investigations that he has agreed to help with if and when required’.

The decision to make Barker redundant was confirmed at a meeting of the appointments and conditions of service committee on 24 January.

Nottingham chief executive Jane Todd said: ‘Stephen has made a fantastic contribution to the council and to Nottingham over the 15 years he has been with us in a number of posts.’

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