More than 20 complaints made against Dundee City Council by its own staff are evidence of a “positive culture”, it has been claimed.
A report into whistleblowing within the local authority, including 15 allegations made against one department in a single year, was presented to councillors yesterday.
But council bosses refused to answer the only question put to them about the scandal-hit construction services department, which is facing 15 internal complaints and a police investigation.
One council officer suggested the number of complaints, up 71% compared to last year, was a sign that employees felt comfortable about raising concerns.
Members of the scrutiny committee were given the chance to seek answers about the probe into construction services, amid an ongoing fraud investigation.
However, only one question was asked during the scrutiny committee meeting – and that went unanswered.
It comes after a report revealed more than half of all whistleblowing allegations made within the council in the last year were against construction services.
Three senior employees have either been sacked or voluntarily left their roles since an investigation began last year.
Allegations have also been made against a number of other staff members.
The committee heard “several” of the complaints were being investigated by police but Gregory Colgan, the council’s director of corporate services, did not confirm how many when asked.
He said: “The report says several and at this point I don’t believe it would be in the interest, indeed given the ongoing investigation, to give more detail at this time.
“When we are in a position to report back to you, a full report will be considered on individual matters.”
The meeting was the first time the investigation has been discussed publicly but despite previous complaints about secrecy, including by committee convener Kevin Keenan, no other questions were asked.
Mr Colgan’s report said the council’s corporate fraud team’s main activity in the last year has been investigating “allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption”.
Fifteen of the 24 whistleblowing complaints made to the council in the last financial year were in relation to construction services. In the previous year, only 14 allegations were made overall.
At the committee meeting, Pamela Redpath of the council’s internal audit service and a member of the corporate fraud team, said: “I think this demonstrates the positive culture we are working in.
“People are happy to raise concerns that they have.
“There is commitment from officers to continually promote the whistleblowing policy.”
Councillors agreed to note the report.
Individuals investigated in the probe linked to construction services include former employee Kenny Muir, who was sacked in January following an investigation into a lucrative public contract to provide heat and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in local authority-owned homes.
A series of investigations by The Courier established the deal was subcontracted to Edmundson Electrical by the construction services department, without ever being put out to tender.
The former head of the department, Mark Ross, stepped down from his role in the midst of a probe into his attendance on a golf trip to Spain arranged by Edmundson bosses.
Mr Ross told staff his departure was due to ill health.