Brentwood Council housing officers allegedly failed to inform key elected members over a serious outbreak of Legionnaires disease.

The incident, which led to the resignations of two senior Tory councillors, was one of the latest in a string of incidents where officers are alleged to have failed to either implement decisions made in the council chamber or have rescinded policies without informing elected members.

Councillors Chris Hossack and Cliff Poppy, chairman and deputy chairman of Brentwood Borough Council’s housing committee, stood down from their head of committee posts last week in response to what they say was the officers’ failure to communicate or even implement directions made by elected members.

Cllr Hossack, who has been an elected member since 2003, said he is not fully aware nor was he told of an outbreak of Legionella just before Christmas.

He said he was not 100 per cent certain the Health and Safety Executive had been informed and “could only assume” the outbreak and subsequent decontamination of the affected water tank had been fully carried out.

“I don’t know, there’s been no report, it has not been brought out into the open,” he said.

“These are the sort of the issues I faced so I thought forget it, I’m not wasting my time here.

“My resignation is to put the biggest protest out there, that this is unacceptable.

“The failure to collate a full register of where asbestos is found in council homes has also caused concern.

“The council operates a system set out in the constitution in which officers advise and then carry out the instructions of councillors to get work done.”

A message sent to all councillors from leader Louise McKinlay said: “I am writing to inform you of a change of chair and vice chair of community health and housing committee Chris and Cliff have resigned from their posts.

“They have raised concerns related to the housing department.

“They have found the access to information afforded them as elected members has made it very difficult to fulfil their functions and scrutinise the performance of the service.”

The committee system should allow for this work to be reported back with regular political group briefings and individual chair and member briefings and regular committee meetings.

But cllr Hossack said a decision made in the council chamber to enter into a partnership with Basildon Council was never implemented and despite having an opportunity to inform members they wanted to rescind the decision at a housing meeting in December.

A month later the 101 agreement was pulled without their agreement.

“We are not being given information that is absolutely pertinent to strategic aims and actually what this is about is tenants – our service to tenants who live in our properties and pay us rent, so let’s get it right,” said cllr Hossack.

In another key decision members agreed and voted for the council to halt planning maintenance in order for a stock condition survey costing council taxpayers £200,000 to be carried out.

The planned maintenance has never resumed – but cllr Hossack said he was not informed of this.

He said: “The reasons I have resigned is to send a message in the strongest possible terms that the council needs to do things differently in terms of the way it volunteers information to elected members when asked for and we have a full understanding of what we asked to be done is actually done.”

A spokesman for Brentwood Borough Council said: “As a local authority, Brentwood Borough Council is expected to adhere to the constitution set down and voted upon by councillors who in turn are voted in by residents.

“This means that officers advise on statutory obligations and boundaries and carry out the instructions of councillors to get work done.

“The committee system allows for this work to be reported back with regular political group briefings and individual chair and member briefings and of course regular committee meetings which are open and transparent and public.

“Communication between officers and councillors has always been a priority for the efficient and effective running of services and this remains the case.

“Any allegations to the contrary will be investigated and a further statement will be issued once there is further clarification as to the specific allegations made.”