Five members of staff from Richmond and Wandsworth councils have been suspended after they were reportedly accused of being engaged in "inappropriate" relationships with contractors.

A report in the Evening Standard quoted an anonymous source suggesting that five members of the facilities team, shared across both councils, had been "marched out" of their offices last month.

The report suggested that the suspended staff members were being investigated over their relationships with contractors, in connection with how tenders for building services are agreed.

A spokesperson for both Local Authorities confirmed the suspensions, adding: “We are investigating five members of staff employed by the Shared Staffing Arrangement for Richmond and Wandsworth councils.

"These members of staff are currently suspended pending the outcome of that investigation and until it has been concluded it would be inappropriate to comment any further.

"Both councils take allegations of wrongdoing extremely seriously.”

It is understood that interim staff have been appointed to fill the gaps caused by the investigation - with reports that a manager was among those suspended.

The facilities team operates between both Richmond and Wandsworth, with the head of the team responsible for a service including up to 100

The facilities management team operates across both Richmond and Wandsworth councils and the head of the facilities management team would be responsible responsible for up to 100 directly employed staff as well as specialist contracts.

It sits in the property services department within the housing and regeneration directorate and provides services including building maintenance, security, and cleaning.