Council workers suspended over rude voicemail

Have your say

Council bosses have apologised to a mum after housing officers recorded a lewd conversation about her on her voicemail.

The workers can be heard laughing and accusing Jayne Wheeler of “having it off” with her landlord for free rent, not realising the phone in their office hadn’t been put down properly.

Jayne Wheeler is upset after council staff left a disparaging message on her phone

Jayne Wheeler is upset after council staff left a disparaging message on her phone

The 33-year-old of Windsor Road, Walton-le-Dale, said she had been left feeling humiliated and embarrassed.

She said: “It made me feel sick and very awkward around my landlord.

“I’m a single mum to a severely disabled seven-year-old Alesha who needs 24-hour care, and they’re laughing and joking about me.

“These are meant to be officers. I want people to know the way they speak about people behind their backs.”

Miss Wheeler had been dealing with South Ribble Council over alterations to make her home accessible for seven-year-old daughter Alesha.

The two-minute recording was made after a legitimate voicemail was made regarding the work.

The housing officers then believed they had hung up the phone and began discussing the woman amongst themselves.

The officers can be heard saying “He thinks she’s having it off with her landlord” and describing the woman as “young, tall, slim, blonde . . . probably getting free rent”.

The landlord, who has not been identified, said: “I am disappointed that somebody can act so unprofessionally.

“It was a genuine act to help Alesha and it’s been turned into something personal and sordid.”

Coun Michael Green, South Ribble Council’s cabinet member for housing and healthy communities, said: “I can confirm that we are dealing with a complaint about a voicemail message which was inadvertently left on a resident’s telephone. “The council is in contact with the resident, and we very much appreciate their co-operation in helping us get to the bottom of this matter.

“I apologise on behalf of the council for any distress that has been caused.

“We take matters such as this extremely seriously and have suspended two employees pending disciplinary proceedings.

“We set very high standards, and are independently rated as one of the best councils in the country for the quality of our customer service. We will take all necessary action to ensure those standards are maintained.”