Leader: Council dirty tricks saga

Cameron House on Prestonfield Avenue.  Picture: Scott Taylor
Cameron House on Prestonfield Avenue. Picture: Scott Taylor
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Our latest revelation about the council’s dirty tricks saga will only add to the concerns surrounding the city’s education department.

This is certainly a scandal which the city could well do without, especially in the wake of the inappropriate treatment of students at Castlebrae High. But it is equally clearly something that cannot be swept under the carpet despite many of the most disturbing events having taken place several years ago.

We know that council staff lied and went to extraordinary lengths to try to cover-up their mismanagement of building work at the widely-admired Cameron House Community Centre in Prestonfield. That has been confirmed by the council’s initial investigations.

We also know that the original probe into allegations of fraud was so cursory that it did not even question the whistleblower who had raised the concerns. Yet there are still more questions than answers, particularly when it comes to the most serious complaints.

Was there indeed fraud to the tune of £400,000 at the council arms-length company Edinburgh Lifelong Learning Partnership?

What about the wider complaints of cover-up and harassment including the alleged doctoring of personnel files? Given the growing number of allegations that are proving to be well founded these complaints have to be taken extremely seriously.

Why has nobody apparently been held to account for any of these outrageous events? And is there something amiss in the working culture at the city’s education department that has allowed behaviour like this to go unchecked?

The only positive in this whole sorry saga is that the council are now taking these complaints very seriously. They appear to be showing a real willingness to face up to all that has gone wrong and to take remedial action.

What happens next is, of course, the most important thing.

The council knows that it has lost the trust of the very people that it is supposed to represent in Prestonfield and that it has much to do to rebuild that trust.