August 7, 2022

Police are investigating allegations of theft and fraud at a Scottish school, in keeping with The Herald.

Members of the constructing division at South Lanarkshire School (SLC) allegedly benefited from the usage of his supplies and lecture time to “construct, mannequin and renovate” their properties and different properties.

There have been additionally complaints that key suppliers supplied “kickbacks and freebies” to pick out people in an try to realize enterprise, and a few workers had been allegedly subjected to bullying and intimidation for “an prolonged interval.”

These and different allegations, together with allegations that scrap was used or disposed of for “private acquire” and that SLC workers stole gear, are described in a categorized report by Azets, a global accounting, auditing and enterprise providers group.

The doc, which was leaked to The Herald, stated investigators have discovered no “substantial proof” to assist many of the allegations. Nonetheless, they recognized weaknesses within the school’s processes and made strategies for enchancment. SLC executives have beforehand stated {that a} separate investigation concluded that there was no proof of bullying or harassment at their facility.

It has now emerged that investigators are investigating the complaints made within the Azets report. The Herald additionally reported that school leaders agree that police intervention is critical.

READ MORE: Westminster SNP deputy chief beneath renewed stress over South Lanarkshire School

Paperwork present that allegations of malfeasance and misconduct date again years. In a single case, whistleblowers claimed that “quite a few” SLC workers helped full a serious development job for a colleague. The mission is alleged to have been accomplished round 2013.

Police are additionally investigating an alleged school theft following a report final month. The worker has been suspended from work.

Conservative MP Graham Simpson, who requested police to launch an investigation, stated: “I believe folks get away with wrongdoing and they need to be held accountable for it.”

The newest developments are happening because the SLC offers with the results of the collapse of governance relationships. Principal Eileen McKechnie and Brian Keegan, interim board clerk, stay suspended pending an investigation into complaints in opposition to them and board chairman Andy Kerr. Mr. Kerr, the previous secretary of labor, voluntarily resigned from his place throughout the investigation.

Ms McKechnie directed Azets to research allegations of theft and malfeasance exposures after they had been obtained in September 2020. She was additionally instrumental in launching the Scottish Funding Council’s preliminary assessment, which aimed to deal with key governance points and “stretched relationships” within the SLC.

Conservative MP Graeme Simpson stated the school’s management agreed that the police wanted to intervene.

Commenting on his involvement within the unfolding state of affairs, Mr. Simpson stated: “I’ve requested the police to research the intense allegations made within the Azet report. I additionally gave the names of people that spoke to me and are joyful to assist the police. .

“As well as, I’ve met with school leaders and so they now agree with me that the police ought to examine allegations of theft, fraud, bribery, and many others. to resolve how you can take care of it.”

He added: “Transferring ahead, we have to clear up the state of affairs with the eliminated school principal and clerk on the board. It may needlessly value the school a fortune at a time when, like all faculties, they’re underfunded and may afford it.”

READ MORE: South Lanarkshire School employees accused of dishonest whereas constructing and renovating their very own properties

A police spokeswoman for Scotland stated the police had been “working with South Lanarkshire School to look into potential historic circumstances of theft and fraud with a view to establish any crimes.”

Requested to touch upon the suspension of an SLC worker final month, she added: “Investigations are ongoing following the report of a theft from South Lanarkshire School on Thursday 16 June 2022.”

A spokesman for the SLC stated: “The faculty has been made conscious that Police Scotland has been supplied with data from an outdoor supply about allegations of misuse of faculty property previously. The School will cooperate absolutely with Police Scotland of their investigations.”

The spokesperson additionally confirmed {that a} member of employees was suspended following allegations of “misuse” of faculty property. He added: “These allegations have been investigated beneath new disciplinary procedures for actions that came about in June 2022.

“Upon completion of the inner investigation, the school knowledgeable the police in Scotland. We’re unable to remark additional on this at the moment.”

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