Thomas Bridge 13 May 2015

Council staff admit taking bribes for building contracts

Council staff admit taking bribes for building contracts image

Two Edinburgh City Council employees have pleaded guilty to receiving thousands of pounds of bribes from building company staff.

Charles Owenson, 62, and James Costello, 44, took cash and hospitality from ABC Ltd employees Kevin Balmer, 52, and Brendan Cantwell, 44, in exchange for help winning maintenance contracts from the town hall.

Both council workers pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sherriff Court to breaching the 1889 Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act.

Owenson and Costello accepted bribes between 2006 and 2010 while working at Edinburgh’s property care services section.

Three other men, two former council officers and a contractor, were discharged from the dock after pleading not guilty to charges of corruption.

Cantwell and Balmer admitted corruptly giving £42,521 to Owenson and Costello alongside £30,249 in hospitality as an inducement to secure contracts for the repair and maintenance of council buildings.

Owenson also admitted receiving £28,387 as a reward for the town hall awarding contracts to ABC Ltd.

A third charge states Costello acted corruptly while acting as an officer, receiving £14,134 after contracts were awarded.

Balmer admitted causing Edinburgh City Council to pay ABC Ltd £67,923 for work carried out on behalf of the local authority and taking £22,641 through the fraudulent scheme.

The case was adjourned until Friday.

Sue Bruce, Edinburgh City Council’s chief executive, said: ‘We expect the highest standards from our staff and where allegations are made concerning mismanagement or fraud, we will investigate and take the strongest possible action.

‘We have reviewed and made substantial changes to our management arrangements for this service.

‘It is important that the public have the utmost faith in the services we provide.

‘The overwhelming majority of our staff are committed to making a positive difference to the lives of people in Edinburgh.’

Developing a cohesive council workforce image

Developing a cohesive council workforce

With council workers, increasingly being asked to deliver more with less, Alexander Carlton discusses the role of technology in creating a cohesive workforce.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Social Worker - SGO & Connected Person Assessment Team

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Special Guardianship Order (SGO) & Connected Person Assessment Team The SGO and Connected Person's Assessment Team (North & Mid) first started in Apri England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Economy & Business Service Manager 

Harborough District Council
£49,350 to £52,368
Looking for an experienced manager who understands public sector responsibilities with the proven ability to deliver our ambitions. Market Harborough, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Harborough District Council

Head of Income and Financial Inclusion

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£48,800 - £66,000 per annum
You’ll have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with a substantial track record of successful performance management. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Advanced Practitioner

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£33.600 - £45,400 per annum
Looking for an Advanced practitioner Social workers to join the Adult social services in the... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Adult Principle Social Worker

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£36,600 - £49,600 per annum
The successful candidate will be a passionate and skilled communicator with ability to work alongside operational Social Workers and... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how public sector organisations can unlock the hidden value in their land, and why a new approach to construction could help boost the outcomes of the Government’s One Public Estate programme.

The December issue also considers why learnings from ancient cities could provide the key to promoting wellbeing in the modern built environment. It also contains a case study on how the London Borough of Westminster has provided high quality care for the elderly alongside a block of luxury apartments.

Register for your free digital issue