Staff suspended following procurement probe

North Lanarkshire Council has suspended three members of staff from the corporate property and procurement department following an investigation into procurement processes.

Paul Jukes, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council, said: "I received an extensive report from internal audit last Friday [September 30].

“Having considered the report, I have taken the decision to suspend three members of staff on full pay to allow for a disciplinary investigation to take place.”

The three are all senior members of the property and procurement team: John Gordon, head of corporate property and procurement; Eddie McCluskey, property maintenance and improvement manager; and Eric Hislop, asset manager. 

An internal audit was launched in April after an anonymous tip off in a letter about potential abuse of the council's procurement processes.

Council leader Jim Logue said at the start of the investigation: “These allegations, which are detailed, concern some of the council's procurement processes. If true, they are extremely serious.

“It is essential that the people of North Lanarkshire are able to have full confidence in the way the council conducts its business and I am determined that we are transparent at all times,” he said. 

The police have been informed, confirmed a spokesperson, and disciplinary procedures are being treated as a priority by the council.

North Lanarkshire is the fourth largest Scottish local authority. The property and procurement department has a staff of around 80 with 10 procurement officers. According to its website, the procurement department spend amounted to £359m during 2014/15, with £58m spent through a collaborative contract with other publicly funded bodies, and £321m (89.5%) with contracted suppliers. 

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