Staff prepare for return to jinxed offices

ANGUS Council workers are due to return to their offices in Forfar’s County Buildings amid a continuing investigation into major electrical problems.

Around 200 staff have been accommodated in other council buildings since April, although the problems first arose in February, beginning with reports of computer problems and missing e-mails. A police investigation was later launched after instances of electrical sockets melting on the building’s walls prompted fears of foul play.

The faults at the building disrupted most of the local authority’s services and it is thought that countless e-mails, to and from council staff, were lost. Staff were also disrupted many times in March due to a fire alarm going off repeatedly.

The services mainly affected were planning, roads, economic development and environmental and consumer protection.

The same month officers ordered a shutdown of the council’s electronic communications hub to try to track down the source of the power supply problems. The police investigation was begun in May and is continuing, although no-one has been charged in connection with the incidents.

The council has said the offices are almost ready for staff to move back in from local authority offices at Orchardbank and Ravenswood in Forfar as well as at Brechin Business Centre, which will happen over the next few weeks.

A spokeswoman said: “All of the necessary electrical work has been successfully completed.

“While the building was empty the council took the opportunity to carry out some further work to upgrade some doors, emergency lighting and smoke detectors and this, too, has been completed.

“County Buildings was significantly disrupted while all of this work was under way, so it is now being thoroughly cleaned prior to the phased return of staff to the building.

“This managed return of all 175 staff from infrastructure services will be done between Monday, August 29, and Thursday, September 8.

“Every effort will be made to maintain services during the reoccupation of the building and a detailed schedule for the move will be publicised later this month.”