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Staff member used false references to work at Medway Council

By Dean Kilpatrick, local democracy reporter

A member of staff gained employment at a local authority using false references.

However, an assistant director at Medway Council says she is “confident” there is not a major issue with employees using fake references.

A report on whistleblowing incidents in 2017/2018 shows concerns were raised about a staff member “securing employment through the submission of a falsified reference”.

An employee used false references to get a job at the council
An employee used false references to get a job at the council

The incident was not investigated as the employee’s contract had already been terminated, although the reason for this has not been made public.

Assistant director Carrie McKenzie said she is “very confident” the council’s checks are working, adding: “I’ve been here seven years and that’s the first time we’ve had something where we’ve discovered a falsified reference.

“If we’ve got people visiting our most vulnerable clients, there is a double-check and that’s the safeguarding and recruitment process we use – which is the national framework.

“The HR team will undertake the reference checks, and they are also experts in this and they can see when something doesn’t look or feel right in terms of contact details and information.

“Of course, I’m afraid I cannot prevent anybody from commiting fraud so we put measures in place. But unfortunately some people will be very clever and be able to get through that.”

Cllr Steve Iles (Con) asked how long it took to discover the employee had falsified a reference, but Ms McKenzie refused to comment on the case at the employment matters committee meeting last night (December 5).

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