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A proposal to implement a drugs and alcohol testing policy for Barnsley Council employees is set out in a report to Cabinet members.

The report Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy proposes the introduction of both random and specific testing for employees.

Subject to approval at Cabinet on 27 July, any council employee could be randomly selected for drug or alcohol. Under this approach, a number of employees from any group at any level would be randomly selected for testing. If a manager was concerned about a specific employee’s behaviour, or where an incident or near miss took place, specific testing would apply, the report explains.

‘The council is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for its employees, customers and visitors,’ the report to Cabinet says. ‘This includes ensuring that employees are fit to carry out their duties safely and effectively in a working environment which is free from alcohol and drugs misuse.’

The report adds: ‘The importance of drug and alcohol testing has been increasingly recognised across the United Kingdom, not only because it is necessary to fulfil regulatory requirements, but due to the potential, financial and reputational implications, of not doing so.’

Cllr Alan Gardiner, Cabinet spokesperson for Corporate Services, said “the misuse of alcohol or drugs could affect not only an employee’s work performance, but also their health and personal life. As a council we are committed to protecting the health of our staff and we will operate a zero-tolerance policy on the abuse of drugs or alcohol that will impact on an employee during the working day.”

If approved by Cabinet, the policy would be introduced immediately. As part of its implementation, drug and alcohol awareness training would be provided to ensure employees were aware of the impact of drugs and alcohol use, reminded of the support available to those who come forward, and of the introduction of the policy and its implications.

Procurement would be of Home Office-approved alcohol testing equipment, together with identification of a provider who would undertake drugs testing on the council’s behalf. All costs would be funded from existing council budgets.