Investigation under way after four Borders care bosses suspended

Scottish Borders Council's Newtown headquarters.
Scottish Borders Council's Newtown headquarters.

Four senior staff at Scottish Borders Council’s arms-length care company have been suspended pending further investigation. 

According to sources at SB Cares, other managers were initially told by the council that the four bosses are currently unavailable because they are working on a special project.

However, the council has now admitted that SB Cares operations director Lynne Crombie and three other managers have been suspended pending an internal probe. 

A member of its 800 staff who wishes to remain anonymous said: “Other managers were told that the people are working on a project, therefore they are not available. 

“They will always say that when they suspend staff.

“A lot of people have complained.

“There’s a lot of not following procedure.”

SB Cares has faced repeated criticism from the Scottish Government’s Care Inspectorate in the past, but recent inspections have shown that improvements have been made. 

However, last year SB Cares lost £650,000 because of staff absences, and a second carer, who also wishes to remain anonymous, claimed that working conditions at the company can be harsh, adding: “There was a very threatening email came out from senior managers to staff saying that if they don’t have uniforms on, their wages will be docked.

“They are provided, but sometimes they don’t fit or they are not fit for purpose. It’s not a consistent approach.

“People don’t know if they’re going to get picked up on it, sent home and not get paid.”

“It’s all a bit of a mess. Nobody knows who is doing what.

“If you try and say something, you are shot down and your job put at risk.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “The council can confirm it is investigating allegations.

“These do not relate in any way to the provision of care to our clients.

“As we are required to, we have reported the matter to the Care Inspectorate and Scottish Social Services Council and would reiterate that, given these matters do not relate to service users, there is absolutely no risk to our clients or impact on our usual high standard of service delivery. 

“To achieve this, we have put in place robust interim management arrangements.”