College bribery claim before plans meeting

North East Surrey College of Technology (Nescot) has been accused of bribery for offering a day’s leave if staff attended a council planning meeting to “show support” for its new homes proposal, it has been reported.
It asked Epsom and Ewell Borough Council for permission to develop on college land.

The plans were approved at a council planning meeting on Thursday (June 12) — after Donna Patterson, director of human resources at the college, had emailed staff saying: “If you are able to attend to show support for the college’s future development we would be most grateful.

“If you are able to attend the meeting at 6.30pm for the duration of the meeting you will be entitled to one days TOIL [time off in lieu].”

The Epsom Guardian newspaper quoted one local, who did not want to be named, as saying: “It’s very out-of-hand to do this — it’s just bribery.”

A Nescot spokesperson reportedly said: “It is normal working practice to accrue time off in lieu for attending events outside of normal college hours. The email was for information, and without any requirement of attendance.

“Many staff live locally and have an interest in the application as residents and employees. Staff will not be paid for attending.”