Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
A row about the recruitment procedure for a post in Edinburgh City Council has led to the successful candidate bein...
A row about the recruitment procedure for a post in Edinburgh City Council has led to the successful candidate being sent home on full pay on his first day in the job and the suspension of a chief officer.

Former Hackney LBC Deputy Leader Tommy Sheppard has been interviewed twice and offered the post of contracts officer twice.

The council decided to reinterview for the £22,000 a year post after two women applying to job share the post complained about the recruitment procedure. Their grievance is understood to relate to questions asked in the interviews which they claim contravened the council's equal opportunities policy.

The questions were asked by an officer on the recruitment panel who had not completed the council's interview training course.

Mr Sheppard was selected again in the second recruitment procedure, and given a contract and a start date. He resigned from his job as an information officer with Islington LBC and moved to Edinburgh.

'He took up employment on 21 July only to be told there was to be an investigation into the conduct of the interviews and on that basis he was put on special leave', said Unison area officer Glyn Hawker.

Controversy about the second recruitment procedure is understood to centre on the decision of head of corporate services Richard Shield to appoint Mr Sheppard when the interview panel was split on the choice.

Mr Shield has been suspended for allegedly overriding an instruction by chief executive Paul Lowenburg only to appoint if the choice of candidate was unanimous. Both Mr Sheppard and Mr Shield are being represented by Unison. Ms Hawker said Mr Sheppard had been told his position would be considered after disciplinary proceedings against Mr Shield - scheduled to begin on 30 September - had been resolved.

Mr Sheppard had written confirmation that there were no allegations against him and his competence was not in question, said Ms Hawker.

'The council has got into an unholy mess and there is no definite end to this thing in sight', she said. 'It is an incredibly frustrating situation for him and for the union, which has attempted to use local procuedures to raise a grievance on behalf of Tommy Sheppard. We have just been stonewalled by the council'.

The contracts officer post involves heading up a small unit in the chief executive's department overseeing the contracting process in the council and checking equal opportunities and quality issues are considered in contracts.

The council refused to comment on either individual's case, saying it was not its policy to discuss disciplinary or personnel issues. Mr Shield was one of three senior managers who criticised a proposal by Mr Lowenberg to restructure the council for not being radical enough.

Three other officers criticised all or part of the proposals.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.