North Lanarkshire Council introduces new policy to test employees if drug or alcohol abuse is suspected

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Employees of North Lanarkshire Council can be tested for alcohol or drug abuse if their managers suspect a problem.

The council’s Finance and Resources Committee voted to adopt a new policy of breath and urine testing after it was presented with the outcomes from additional consultation with bodies such as trade unions.

The SNP group put forward two additional recommendations – to review the policy annually and to promote awareness of the support available to staff with addiction problems.

Committee convener Councillor Bob Burrows accepted these additional recommendations and they were added to those already contained in the report.

A Conservative group amendment which called for random drug tests to be implemented was rejected.

Wishaw councillor Jim Hume said: “The SNP Group is pleased our suggestions were adopted. The council has rejected random testing of employees for alcohol and drugs in favour of a ‘with cause’ approach to testing.

“The SNP Group wanted a clause to ensure that the ‘with cause’ approach is applied with fairness and transparency to the council workforce and reported back to elected councillors.”

Cumbernauld East councillor Claire Barclay seconded Councillor Hume’s proposals.

She said: “As Trade Union Liaison Officer for the SNP Group, I am happy that amendments aimed at safeguarding employees’ rights are now part of the council policy.

Neil McGrory - Local Democracy Reporting Service