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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Council labelled ‘incompetent’ after a leaked email reveals £65,000 worth of office equipment stolen or missing

Ealing Council has been labelled 'incompetent' after a leaked email reveals £65,000 worth of office equipment has been stolen or gone missing in the past six months

Ealing Council has been labelled ‘incompetent’ after a leaked email reveals over £65,000worth of office equipment has reportedly been stolen or gone missing in the past six months. In an email shared by the Liberal Democrats, the main opposition party in Ealing, the council’s ICT team said the issues had been causing ‘frustration’ within offices.

The opening line of the email reads: “In the last six months ICT has spent over £65,000 replacing missing equipment.” The massive expenditure seems not to have stemmed the problem, with the following line adding that office supplies and computer equipment were still going missing or being stolen.

The email adds: “However, we now find ourselves again in a position where a lot of equipment has been moved or has been stolen. This leads to a lot of frustration and complaints from staff who come to work only to find their desks are lacking equipment.”

Staff and councillors received the message on 4 April. It asks employees not to remove equipment from one work area and move it to another, to inform the ICT team if anything is lost or removed, to bring all relevant equipment with them when they leave their homes and to return all council equipment if staff leave the council’s employment.

The end of the email says not abiding by the guidance could result in disciplinary action. Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Busuttil, spokesperson for finance, lays the blame for the wasted money at Labour’s feet.

He said in a statement: “[The] Labour council often claims it has no money but then we find out more examples of their waste where they have lost or had stolen £65,000 of IT equipment in just the last six months.

“Liberal Democrats want to see Ealing Council run efficiently and we uncovered over £1.5m of wasted spending that we would have reallocated to making Ealing cleaner and safer and helping many vulnerable residents. It is a smack in the face that Labour pours our council taxes down the drain.”

An Ealing Council spokesperson said: ”In the recent months, ICT equipment which should be left on office desks, has been moved and not returned.  This is not unusual in organisations that employ thousands of staff and when more staff are returning in higher numbers to work in offices, rather than at home or in other locations.

“As higher numbers of staff come into the office from home to work, the equipment they need to work in the office is unfortunately being left at home, which is resulting in equipment being moved from office desks and then mistakenly taken home.  Equipment is also not always being returned in full when staff leave their employment with us.

“We know there is no ill intention behind this, but it has resulted in new equipment needing to be purchased to ensure all staff can work productively in the office.

“To help staff remember to bring in the equipment they need to work in the office and leave the equipment which should not be taken home, we issued a reminder of our guidance about this last week.”

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