Employment Tribunal Day 6 of 10: Cross-examination of Kate Robinson
This is a report of an Employment Tribunal hearing I attended, the matter had already been part heard and this was day 6 of 10. As far as I know there are no reporting restrictions. After the cross-examination of Surjit Tour there was a break and the hearing resumed at 11.25 am.
Venue: Tribunal Room 2, Third Floor, Liverpool Civil and Family Court Hearing Centre, 35 Vernon Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 2BX
Case reference: 2400718/16
Appellant: Mrs A. Mountney
Respondent: Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
Employment Judge: Judge Robinson
Mr AG Barker
Mrs JE Williams
Clerk: Lynne Quilty
Time: 10.00 am
The Employment Judge thanked everybody and asked Mrs Mountney if it was ok to continue? Kate Robinson (pictured above) was asked to read from the blue card.
She gave the witness affirmation about the truth about her answers.
The Employment Judge said to let him know if Kate Robinson wanted a break and asked Mr Moore (representing Wirral Council) to start.
Mr Moore asked Kate Robinson to confirm her full name and also her business address which was given as Wirral Borough Council, Wallasey Town Hall.
Mr Moore asked her if she had read her witness statement and that she believed it? She answered yes.
Simon Mountney (representative for Alison Mountney) said that Kate Robinson and Alison Mountney had been friends, but asked her when she had returned after the swine flu?
She answered that she had returned in 2009, then clarifying this further to autumn and further to October.
Simon Mountney referring to David Davies asked why he had been asked to return in 2010? She answered that she couldn’t answer that question as she wasn’t his line manager at that point.
Mr Mountney asked if Lesley Hales was to which she answered yes. He asked if she helped her (Lesley) out regarding her duties to which Kate answered no. Simon asked her what grade Lesley was on? Kate replied that she believed it was grade H, but that was determined by Shirley Hudspeth (who was Lesley’s line manager).
Kate was next asked if she was aware of the job evaluation to which she answered no. Kate was asked if she was aware of a job description to which she answered possibly, yes.
Mr. Mountney asked her who drew up the job description, she answered Lesley (Hales). Mr Mountney referred to page 307a (the Judge pointed out this was in the first bundle). There was a chart which he asked her was it a organogram of the department in August 2010?
She answered “Errm, yes” and that she believed it was the structure.
Mr Mountney pointed out there were no annotations such as ERO (Electoral Registration Officer), or the status such as permanent, full-time or honorary. Kate answered no. He asked what the status was of David Davies and Rachelle Bramhall.
Kate just answered, “Sorry?”
Simon asked if they were all permanent?
She referred to Trevor Brassey who had been redeployed to Electoral Services and that David Davies had been brought in at band H.
Following the difficulties in Warrington in the way they ran elections in 2008, it had resulted in resource issues for electoral registration across the UK. There was a lack of resources and Rachelle Bramhall had been brought in to that structure.
He asked her if it was a redeployment? She said that she (Rachelle) was used to the political corridor, but that she was not sure if she had moved from Committee Services to Electoral Services.
She was asked out of the three, none were substantive and not permanent posts. Kate Robinson said that as far as she was concerned Trevor Brassey was redeployed on a temporary basis to see how he got on, David Davies was on a temporary basis full-time and she also commented on Rachelle.
To recap, Simon referred to the employment history and status of four different people in the department. She answered that Rachelle Bramhall in February 2010, Lesley Hales not until June 2010.
Simon referred to page 449, which the Judge pointed out that he thought was in the second bundle. Simon said it was a letter from a full-time union official (Kellett?) to Graham Burgess about the fact that three employees had not been interviewed.
Referring to the second paragraph and the last sentence, he quoted “for vacant jobs adds to injustice” and asked her what that means?
Kate asked if he was asking her to interpret it, he answered that he was asking her to comment. She said it was her belief that they were not interviewed.
Simon referred to her witness statement, paragraph 3 and referred to the part that she said that at the time there were no vacancies in my team and I did not believe the resources would be granted. He pointed out that David Davies was on a fixed term contract after less than a year.
She answered that this was before Alison. Simon Mountney pointed out that it was February the 11th and after to which she answered yes.
Simon referred to page 936, question 4, at the bottom of the page about three-quarters of the way down and commented on a band H in the team.
The Judge quoted what was on page 936 and asked a question followed by a reference to an equal pay claim. Kate Robinson replied sorry. Simon said that he apologised as it was between the hole punches, he asked if it been made clear to Alison Mountney that it was temporary and not a post at band H in the team?
The Judge referred to Surjit Tour. Simon answered yes, that Surjit Tour had asked regarding the vacant post, but the answer was no. Did Kate agree?
Kate answered that she agreed that she wasn’t coming to cover the vacant post.
Simon referred to paragraph 5, “not replaced role so I had headcount to full and we were busy”. Kate referred to a promotion to the Electoral Services Manager role, but when someone had left they were not replaced, so they were short of resources and busy.
Mr Mountney asked if from 2009 to 2010 if she was at a G grade acting up to Lesley Hales’ post? Kate answered no, she was at H grade, she had been G but had been given H under the new draft structure was drawn up.
Simon asked if she had been promoted? She said she had been acting as deputy for Lesley Hales. Simon asked if the vacated H spot was free? She answered that the role was not replaced. He asked if there were 2 Hs? She answer on the draft? He asked who was actin up to PO2 grade? She answered that there wasn’t a PO2.
Simon said that she took over, with an honorarium to PO4, was she acting up to PO4? To a further point she answered that she was acting in Lesley’s role, received an honorarium, then Lesley’s role. Simon asked if she was PO5 in 2010 to which she answered yes.
Mr Mountney asked about the process, conversations with Surjit Tour about her role and future? She answered that she was more or less doing the role and was subsequently appointed to the post. He asked if Surjit Tour was her line manager to which she answered yes.
Simon referred to page 6, question 6 on page 950 to page 953, a list of questions and answers to Eve Martin. Question 16 referred to disciplinary processes following the Gormon grievance*, he asked if people didn’t know what was going on and whether it was frustrating for everyone?
Kate answered that yeah it was, there wasn’t a lot of support and referred to the investigation having a big impact.
Simon referring to the team asked if she felt she could be more supportive? Kate answered that she was unfamiliar with the process and concerned about the lack of support to the three investigated.
Mr Mountney asked if she had training as a manager? Kate answered no she didn’t initially.
At this point Mr Mountney asked for a five-minute adjournment as Alison Mountney was not feeling well.
The Judge agreed to the adjournment but gave a warning to the witness not to discuss the case with anyone.
There was an adjournment from 11:51 to 12:09.
* The Gormon grievance was about the treatment of a disabled employee by others that worked with her.
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