Press officers resign in latest ‘spying’ scandal at Argyll and Bute Council

Want to read more?

At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.

To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic. The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.

We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a  subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device.  In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.

Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).

Already a subscriber?


Subscribe Now

argyll-and-bute-logoTwo press officers suspended by Argyll and Bute Council for sharing a joke on via a private messaging system have resigned, The Oban Times can exclusively reveal.

Dinah Mackay and Janet West handed in their notices after being investigated by the council for sharing light hearted comments via the internal Microsoft Lync messaging service.

Staff were unaware their communications were being monitored as part of a separate investigation into ‘spying’ allegations against the council’s communications head, Jo Smith.

Following their resignation, the council has ended an investigation into the pair’s conduct.

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘It is not this council’s normal practice to provide briefings or otherwise make comment in respect of on-going disciplinary investigation work.

‘But in view of some inaccurate and misleading reporting of this matter within some areas of the media, it is considered appropriate to confirm the following:

‘On Wednesday, April 4, two members of council staff were suspended pending an investigation.  The background to both suspensions and the resultant investigation put in place to deal with matters does not, in any way, relate to any other investigation being undertaken currently by the council.

‘Both officers have since submitted letters resigning from their positions and these have been accepted by the council.  As a consequence, this concludes matters as regards both officers.’

More on this story in next week’s Oban Times, April 26 2012 or on line from the same date at