Council drug testing may be in the pipeline

District council staff could be randomly drug tested in the future.

A review of whether random drug testing will happen is expected to be finished in about six months.

The district council doesn’t have a random drug testing policy at present.

The review comes as a drug testing issue was revealed at the weekend at the Ashburton District Council.

Earlier in the year, Ashburton District Council acting chief executive Jane Donaldson declined to take a random drug test due to process not being followed. Ashburton District Council spokeswoman Sarah Mosley said it was addressed at the time by then chief executive Andrew Dalziel. “If someone declines to undergo a drug test, will not or cannot supply a sample, or tampers with a sample, the matter is investigated and the appropriate action is determined,” she said.

Selwyn District Council spokesman Chris Hewitt said the review “involves comparing working (industry standard) policies with our workforce, talking to our people and authoring a policy document with staff involvement.”

He said all policies are reviewed annually or sooner if legislation changes.

Deputy Mayor Malcolm Lyall said he did not know about the review, but the district council is “always” looking at its staffing policies.

“I can understand if you have staff operating dangerous machinery, but other than that I don’t particularly myself see the need for it,” he said.

The Drug Detection Agency said it was commonplace for councils to test or request tests of their contractors. It said refusals were uncommon and usually became a company-specific disciplinary procedure.