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£65,000 worth of IT equipment lost or stolen at Ealing Council in six months

Ealing Liberal Democrats has hit out on Labour-run Ealing Council calling it “incompetent” after it was revealed that the council has spent £65,000 to replace lost or stolen IT equipment in the last six months.

In an email to councillors and staff on 4 April 2024, the council warned that it would take action against those who don’t return equipment following concerns that have seen “complaints from staff who come to work only to find desks are lacking equipment”.

The email said: “In the past six months, ICT have spent over £65,000 replacing missing equipment. However, we now find ourselves again in a position where a lot of equipment has been moved or has been stolen.”

The council told its staff to not “move or take equipment or cables from another desk” without permission and also warned those not following council policy: “anyone not abiding by this guidance will be subject to disciplinary action”.

The email also warned those who leave employment with the council that they will be charged for equipment if it is not returned. The council memo said: “the cost of any unreturned equipment will be recovered from you directly after you have left”.

The email added: “To be clear, anyone not abiding by this guidance will be subject to disciplinary action”.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Busuttil, spokesperson for finance said: “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.”

Councillor Busuttil added: “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.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, 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.”

The council spokesperson added: “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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