Five members of staff have been suspended by Wandsworth and Richmond councils over allegations of fraud, the Standard has learned.
They are accused of having “inappropriate” relationships with contractors connected to tendering for building services. Sources said the team, which includes a manager and is part of the housing and regeneration directorate, was “marched” from offices last month.
A source said: “Five people have been suspended pending an investigation. They are within the facilities team, managed by the director of housing and regeneration.
“It is about inappropriate individual relationships with contractors — that is where the investigation has started — and now they are looking at tangential matters such as things like overtime claims, and there are managers involved.
“They had to hand in their phones and were marched out of the building. The police are not involved at this stage, but possibly they will be.”
Interim staff have been brought in to cover the suspensions and senior members of the council have been briefed on what has happened.
The facilities management team operates across Wandsworth and Richmond councils under a shared staffing arrangement. It sits in the property services department within the housing and regeneration directorate and provides services including mechanical, electrical and building maintenance, cleaning, security, catering, and events management.
The head of the facilities management team is responsible for an in-house service of up to 100 directly employed staff as well as specialist contracts.
In a statement, a spokesman for the two local authorities said: “We are investigating five members of staff employed by the shared staffing arrangement for Richmond and Wandsworth councils.
“These members of staff are currently suspended pending the outcome of that investigation and until it has been concluded it would be inappropriate to comment further.
“Both councils take allegations of wrongdoing extremely seriously.”