Victim Support chief to sue over dismissal

Susan Reid, former Chief Executive of Victim' Support NI
Susan Reid, former Chief Executive of Victim' Support NI

The head of a charity dismissed over the alleged unfair treatment of staff is seeking damages for “gross unfairness” in her own disciplinary proceedings.

Susan Reid, who led Victim Support Northern Ireland (VSNI) for 10 years, said she will also fight the dismissal decision.

The chief executive – who denies any wrongdoing – lost her job after complaints by current and former staff, and an investigation into her management style.

VSNI receives around £2m each year from the justice department to support victims of crime.

Last year a former trustee of the charity told the BBC he had resigned from his post after highlighting a series of complaints from disgruntled staff.

Tony Barclay said: “I sadly witnessed a number of staff in distress to a point where I felt it was important these matters were raised with the board of trustees. I presented this concern to the board of trustees by email.”

Following the complaint, VSNI commissioned an independent investigation – interviewing workers, past and present, about their treatment.

In a statement Ms Reid’s solicitor, Stephen Mearns of John Ross and Son in Newtownards, said: “From our instructions, the evidence in this case will show that our client’s dismissal was procedurally and substantively unfair in multiple respects.

“This gross unfairness pervaded the entirety of the disciplinary process.”

Mr Mearns added: “Our client denies all allegations and, on her behalf, we will be seeking substantial damages against VSNI.”

VSNI has said it will not be making any further comment due to the possibility of a legal challenge against their decision.