Workforce, Pensions and Training

19.04.18

Council leader steps down amidst data breach probe

The leader of St Helen’s Council has resigned to protect his local authority while police investigate a “possible data breach.”

It is believed that the allegations, which Barrie Grunewald has described as “spurious,” are related to sharing information on the messaging platform WhatsApp, although the nature of the messages is as yet unclear.

He has also been suspended from the Labour Party.

Grunewald, who has been leader of the council since 2013, told the BBC: “I have had letters and text messages to my phone, so I hope they can trace the individual and I urge the police to carry out their investigations quickly and will provide them with the letters and text messages that have been sent to me.”

He reportedly hopes to return to his role in the future, following the police investigation.

Mike Palin, the local authority’s chief executive, said that the resignation is not related to the “operational functioning of the council.”

A spokesperson for Merseyside Police has confirmed that it has launched an investigation into a possible data breach at the council: “Enquiries are ongoing to establish whether any criminal activities have taken place.”

Cllr Derek Long has been appointed as the new leader following a unanimous vote.

 

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