Sackings soar at Islington Council as staff accused of fraud and abusing people

Fraud, abusive behaviour and misuse of parking permits by Islington Council staff are among the reasons sackings at the town hall have soared over the past year.

The number of council employees being dismissed in the 2011/2012 financial year has dramatically risen compared with 2010/2011, more than doubling from 13 to 30, according to figures obtained by the Gazette.

And if Homes for Islington staff are discounted, the total has risen seven-fold, from just three in 2010/2011 to 21 last year.

A spokesman for Islington Council insisted the rise nothing to do with any pressures to shed staff in light of the millions of pounds in cuts it is contending with.

Cllr Richard Greening, executive member for human resources, said: “We are on the side of residents who pay for the council’s services and we expect all our staff to work hard in serving the public. We are ensuring that our HR procedures are applied rigorously and fairly and we do dismiss staff when this is appropriate.”

In the last financial year, three people were sacked on work permit grounds, one for abusive behaviour towards a service user, one for abuse towards a manager, and another for a medication error.

There were also multiple dismissals under the sickness absence policy, on attendance grounds and due to failed probation. The council refused to disclose further details of the incidents for fear of breaching confidentiality.

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The rising trend goes back at least as far as 2009/2010, when 11 people lost their jobs. Neighbouring borough Camden saw only a tiny increase, of two per cent from 47 in 2010/2011 to 49 in 2011/2012.