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Exclusive: Lee Forde speaks out

Lee Forde breaks silence over why he quit as the Liverpool Culture Company's events chief as he launches constructive dismissal claim

Published on August 31st 2007.

Exclusive: Lee Forde speaks out

Lee Forde, the former Culture Company events manager, is to pursue a claim for constructive dismissal against his ex-employers, Liverpool Confidential can exclusively reveal.

Speaking for the first time, Mr Forde, who handed in his notice three months before the Mathew Street Festival fiasco, says months of frustration, caused by a lack of resources and decision making from bosses at the beleaguered Liverpool Culture Company, left him with no option but to quit.

Mr Forde, who started out as a lighting engineer and masterminded the city's millennium celebrations, managed a team of 11 at the Culture Co and had worked for the city council since 2001. His department, which won awards for best practice in events management and organised events such as the Christmas lights and Lord Mayor's Parade, was transferred to the Culture Co four years later.

But, he says, a sizeable increase in workload for 2007 and 2008, along with a marked increase in unsocial hours – and no increase in budget or personnel to cope with the programme of events, were key factors in his decision to go.

Constructive dismissal can be claimed by a worker for a variety of reasons, including forcing them to accept unreasonable changes to conditions of employment without agreement (eg suddenly telling you to work in another town, or making you work night shifts when your contract is only for day work).

Mr Forde, is angry over newspaper reports that he was placed on “gardening leave” after the Mathew Street cancellation, when, in fact, he says he cleared his desk at Millennium House on July 24, owing to his role being filled just days after he resigned. This left him little in the way of day-to-day duties. He was on holiday in Turkey when he received the news of the festival's cancellation, which, he says, came as a complete shock.

The father of two, who started planning this week's birthday fireworks six years ago, has submitted his claim through the Employment Tribunals Service.

The Liverpool Culture Company said it was unable to comment on personnel issues.

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