THE council responsible for the Edinburgh trams fiasco revealed today it had received a “gold award” for its treatment of staff.
The City of Edinburgh Council proudly boasted that it had received a Gold Investors in People award for its productive workforce and reduced sickness rates among staff.
But campaigners against waste of taxpayer’s cash said that would cut little ice with Scots paying the £1bn price tag for the trams as well as suffering years of traffic disruption.
Emma Boon, of the Taxpayers’Alliance, said: “It’s great to hear that Edinburgh Council has improved things like staff efficiency and reduced sickness rates.
“However, taxpayers might scoff to hear that the council has won this gold award despite the tram fiasco.
“If it were residents who pay Council Tax voting on value for money they might have taken a very different view.”
But council bosses said the award indicated that the staff were committed to providing a good service.
Council Leader Jenny Dawe said: “This is a very welcome achievement and I would like to congratulate all of the staff involved.
“Staff are the backbone of any organisation, and if they are treated well and listened to, are more committed to their job.
“This is good news for Edinburgh’s citizens. They can be assured that Council employees are committed to providing the best service that they can.”
It is not the first time the council has attracted scepticism over awards for excellence.
Last year, Edinburgh was in the running for the title of “Council of the Year in Service Delivery”, despite the trams project’s problems attracting international headlines.
At the time council leader Jenny Dawe said the nomination had nothing to do with the trams and was down to their handling of other services such as education, bin collections and libraries.
The trams were originally planned to run through Leith to Newhaven, in the north of the city.
An attempt last year to reduce the project even further, stopping at Haymarket, was abandoned after the Scottish government threatened to withdraw its funding.
Some of the tracks already laid have had to be replaced, causing further traffic disruption in the city centre.
Last year it was revealed that the council is desperately trying to sell off their surplus tram vehicles, already painted in Edinburgh livery, to raise funds to plug the spending shortfall.