Three Council Staff Resign Over 'Improper' Relationships

Accepted meals and overseas trips from contractors

Wandsworth Town Hall
Wandsworth Town Hall

August 5, 2020

Three members of staff employed by Richmond and Wandsworth councils have resigned after having “improper” relationships with contractors which saw them go on an overseas trip.

The matter was discussed as part of the fraud audit update at Richmond Council’s Audit, Standards and Statutory Accounts Committee (July 30).

It showed that three officers who were part of a service management team as part of the shared staffing service between the councils “had improper relationships with contractors and had accepted hospitality but failed to complete the required declarations.”

The investigation highlighted “widespread failure, across the service, to follow established procurement and budgetary controls policies and procedures.”

Evidence showed officers “receiving hospitality from a contractor, meals and an overseas trip.”

It said that officers were interviewed and a report was prepared for disciplinary proceedings, but the officers resigned before a formal disciplinary hearing.

To prevent this from happening again the internal audit team have conducted a procurement review and a report will be issued to the service director. The outcome will be reported to the committee in the autumn.

Commenting on the findings after the meeting, Mark Maidment, Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive, said, “We take our responsibility for looking after public funds very seriously. All concerns of improper conduct will be investigated and in this instance the investigation highlighted issues of improper relationships with contractors and a failure to follow established procedures and controls.

“During the investigation three members of staff, employed by the Shared Staffing Arrangement for Richmond and Wandsworth councils, were suspended and subsequently left the service. We have carried out a wide ranging review of the service and the controls in place to ensure compliance and that we identify any improvements that can be made to our controls.”

Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter