'Whistle-blowing cost me my job' - Hull City Council museums worker
A FORMER senior museum attendant says whistle-blowing has cost him his job.
Tony Steventon claims officials at Hull City Council ignored widespread and long-standing concerns among staff over the running of the authority's museums service.
Instead, he was sacked after detailing some of them in an email sent to councillors, the council's then chief executive Nicola Yates and the Mail.
The allegations included:
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• A culture of bullying, victimisation and cronyism in the museums service.
• Systematic thefts by some staff from exhibition entry fees and donation boxes.
• The disappearance of solid gold South African krugerrands from Wilberforce House, as well as other items from the city's museums collection.
• Hardcore pornography openly copied and sold by staff in council premises.
• Thousands of Roman mosaic pieces and coins being dumped in the River Hull.
• A failure to properly investigate claims of thefts and sexual assaults involving museum staff.
Mr Steventon, 45, said; "The council's whistle-blower's policy is not worth the paper it is written on.
"I should know because I tried to use it to raise issues that I had personally seen and many others that other staff had told me about.
"It quickly became apparent to me the council was not interested in what I was saying about what had gone on.
"Instead, it just provided an excuse for a whitewash because certain people wanted my head on a plate."
A former soldier and Gulf War veteran, Mr Steventon also worked as a police officer before joining the museums service in 2006.
He says a series of issues raised by him about the running of the service over the years were either ignored or turned into unfounded grievance complaints against him.
He was initially suspended in December 2011 and was subsequently sacked for bringing the council into disrepute for sending what the authority regarded as a "malicious" email.
At the time of his suspension he had been off work for several months with stress, anxiety and depression, caused, he says, by bullying and intimidation.
An appeal against dismissal was recently rejected by a panel of councillors despite Mr Steventon producing a number of statements from staff supporting his claims.
Details of his allegations contained in the email have not been made public until now.
He said: "My email was in no way malicious.
"It was written to seek justice for what I had been through and the for the front- of-house staff who have also been targeted by a series of personal vendettas.
"I sent the email to a few Labour councillors and Nicola Yates in the belief they would finally do something to assist all of us. How wrong I was.
"I also copied the email to the Mail as a last-ditch attempt to get justice as I believe the taxpayers of the city have a right to know the true facts of the deceit, lies, corruption and complicity by the management in failing to act on reports made by senior supervisors on very serious incidents like theft when it is their money being stolen."
Mr Steventon said he now intends to challenge his dismissal at an employment tribunal.
In a statement, the city council said: "Mr Steventon's allegations have been fully and thoroughly investigated by the council and Humberside Police and no evidence could be found to substantiate any of the allegations he has made."