Council redacts the investigation report

North Lanarkshire Council HQ, whose chief executive says the problems are now behind them.
North Lanarkshire Council HQ, whose chief executive says the problems are now behind them.

The chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council has detailed actions taken after staffing irregularities were discovered within the education department.

In March it emerged that 11 non-teaching staff – whose identities have been withheld – were involved in an investigation into improper methods being used to hire staff.

One man was hired without his job being advertised, without submitting an application form and being the only candidate interviewed. No background checks were carried out until he had already started work.

Another employee was found to be in receipt of a full time salary despite only working two days a week.

Reporting to the council’s Audit and Scrutiny Panel, chief executive Des Murray assured members that additional checks in the recruitment procedures would prevent such things from happening again.

Mr Murray said: “The recruitment failings identified in the audit report were as follows: The way in which a range of temporary, secondments and/or Scottish Attainment Challenge funded posts were being created and filled; the management and use of supply teacher arrangements; the inaccuracy of the education and families service’s staffing structure; and the service aligned HR Business Parter team focusing on meeting services requirements but giving insufficient regard to its wider corporate risk role.

“The internal audit report highlighted specific weaknesses in relation to the employment of a number of employees into the education service through recruitment processes not being fully applied.”

New reforms mean that posts can only be created following approval from the relevant chief officer or executive director.

The investigation has resulted in action being taken against three senior staff in education and HR.

Committee convener Meghan Gallacher remarked: “If anyone asked me if I had seen the unredacted report my answer would have to be a resounding ‘no’.”