A council boss who was suspended for six months is to return to work after being cleared of wrongdoing by an internal investigation.
Hyndburn Borough Council’s (HBC) head of waste services, Steve Riley, was suspended from his post in January after it emerged that a refuse wagon driver who had been in a fatal accident in December 2007 with a grandmother did not hold the correct classification on his driving licence at the time of the incident.
However a council investigation has ruled that Mr Riley could not be held responsible for the lapse and that there was no failure on his part to take “appropriate action.”
Rishton resident Jean Eastwood, 66, died from multiple injuries after the collision with the bin wagon off Harwood Road in May 2007.
The driver, Kevin Slattery, was acquitted by magistrates of driving without due care and attention in June 2008.
A council spokesman said that in January the council received information that Mr Slattery had told a colleague that the vocational part of his license had lapsed at the time of the incident.
Lancashire police launched a second investigation but this concluded in June, without any charges being brought.
A spokesperson for Hyndburn council said: “Following the conclusion of the police investigation, the council undertook its own investigation which has determined that Mr Riley, who was not the head of service at the time of the accident, cannot reasonably be held responsible for the lapse in the driver’s licence and that there is no failure on his part to take appropriate action.”
They added: “The council has rigorously reviewed its systems and procedures for driver licence checks to ensure that this does not happen again.”
The council spokesperson said: “Mr Slattery was a very experienced and qualified HGV driver but as a result of a failure to submit the five yearly medical evidence required by the DVLA when he reached the age of 45 years, the vocational part of the licence lapsed.
“A few months after the accident, in December 2007, Mr Slattery submitted the necessary evidence to DVLA and his vocational classification was immediately reinstated.”
He added: “It is clear from the investigations that have taken place that there is no evidence to suggest that his manager Mr Riley acted in any way inappropriately and we are therefore pleased that he will be resuming his duties with us very shortly.”