AN ARGYLL and Bute Council worker has been reinstated on the say-so of elected councillors - after being dismissed for "gross misconduct".

The worker was dismissed, a report has revealed, after an investigation by anti-fraud officers into claims of "inappropriate use of stock from a service yard" found there was enough evidence to back up the accusation.

An appeal to the dismissed worker's head of service was rejected - but the case was then taken to elected councillors, who decided the employee should get their job back. 

The report, prepared for a meeting of the authority's audit and scrutiny committee, states: “[There was] sufficient evidence to substantiate the allegation. [The] officer was dismissed on grounds of gross misconduct.

"[A] further appeal to elected members was upheld and [the] officer was reinstated with no sanctions.”

A further council employee was found to have fraudulently claimed a council tax discount of almost £2,500 over a period of three years, according to the same report.

READ MORE: Retired doctor and dentist found fraudulently claiming council tax discount after council probe

That worker was found to have claimed the 25 per cent council tax discount  for which a single person is eligible when they did not qualify.

The report states: “[There was] sufficient evidence to substantiate the allegation. Accused has provided full admission.

“Report passed to council’s monitoring officer as per requirement of council’s public interest disclosure policy.

"The value of the fraud is £2,408 (three years’ backdated single person discount).”

Both cases feature in a report on the work of the council's 'counter fraud team' (CFT), to be considered at a meeting of the committee on Tuesday, September 14.

Only four referrals were made to the team concerning members of council staff between October 2020 and June 2021.

READ MORE: Police in Helensburgh soon to be trained in use of Tasers, new report reveals

One of the allegations which was not upheld saw a council officer accused of working for another employer during a period of sick leave.

Notes on that case said: “[There was] no evidence to substantiate any wrongdoing.

"[The] officer was a part-time employee on sick leave due to work related stress. CFT confirmed he was volunteering for local Covid relief activities.”

The last of the four referrals saw a worker accused of obtaining funds fraudulently from a care home resident’s bank account.

However, notes on that allegation said: “The review concluded there was no prima facie evidence of fraud being perpetrated by a council/HSCP [health and social care partnership] officer when carrying out their duties as an employee.”

The CFT was established by the council in September 2020 as a two-year pilot.

READ MORE: Another report, another delay: Helensburgh-Dumbarton cycle path completion date pushed back yet again

The report reveals that the team had been due to begin working five months earlier, but key appointments were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The audit committee of neighbouring West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) is due to scrutinise a similar report when it meets on Wednesday, September 15.

By comparison to the four referrals in Argyll and Bute, 15 staff referrals have been made in West Dunbartonshire between January 1 and August 18, including one for a complaint about who was getting priority for a Covid-19 vaccination.

Another staff member at WDC was also referred for allegedly going for walks during working hours while working from home.

No action was taken against the employee in either case.

READ MORE: Check out all the latest news headlines from across Helensburgh and Lomond by clicking here