Council commissions independent investigation into Dewey scandal

John Henderson

John Henderson, former chief executive of Staffordshire County Council. Photograph: Staffordshire County Council. Free for use by partners of BBC news wire service

A former council boss has been asked to shine the spotlight into how Hackney Town Hall responded to the arrest of a councillor over possession of indecent images of children.

Hackney Council has appointed John Henderson, formerly a chief executive of Staffordshire County Council, “to examine the decisions made by the Council in response to a notification from the National Crime Agency regarding then-serving councillor, Tom Dewey.”

The council was contacted by the National Crime Agency (NCA)  a week after Dewey was newly elected as a Labour councillor for De Beauvoir in May 2022.

NCA officers told council safeguarding staff that Dewey had been arrested in April before the election.

Dewey later resigned as councillor and Labour party member.

Earlier this summer, he admitted five charges of possessing indecent images of children.

A crown court judge gave the 36-year-old, who now lives in Hampshire, a 12-month suspended sentence.

The Dewey scandal led to the resignation of Hackney’s mayor, Philip Glanville.

Glanville quit over what he described at the time as an “error of judgement” in participating in a party, at which Dewey was also present, after he had been told of Dewey’s arrest by the council’s then chief executive, Mark Carroll.

Henderson has been given a list of people he may wish to interview about the council’s response.

This includes the former chief executive who informed the mayor of the arrest and called Dewey into the town hall for an urgent meeting.

Henderson served as chief executive of Staffordshire County Council for eight years and finished his 30-year army career as a Major General commanding the British forces in Germany.

He pledged “to deliver a thorough investigation, providing well-informed findings and recommendations to full council”.

The council said it could not disclose the cost of the review.

Hackney’s interim chief executive, Dawn Carter-McDonald, said: “This assessment will provide a fair and unbiased review into the events surrounding the resignation of the former councillor.

“The focus of the review will be to ensure that the council met its safeguarding obligations and to examine the council’s processes and guidance and make recommendations for any improvements.”