Huntingdonshire District Council is using fingerprint-based drug testing on its drivers and on candidates applying for a position that would involve driving.

The council has been using the Intelligent Fingerprinting Drug Screening System as part of its recruitment process since July.

Thanks to the fingerprint system’s ease-of-use and ability to deliver test results in 10 minutes, council managers are now able to carry out their own drug screening tests before candidates are offered permanent or temporary positions, instead of relying on an external agency to do this.

The council is using the system to help ensure that all its front-line safety-critical service staff, including refuse collection drivers of 26 tonne lorries, ground teams, and street maintenance staff working in busy traffic, are all working safely.

The council has used drug testing to support its drug and alcohol policy for some time, but has now replaced the previous urine-based testing service provided by an external agency with the Intelligent Fingerprinting portable testing system that is managed in-house.

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s drug testing system features a small, tamper-evident drug screening cartridge onto which 10 fingerprint sweat samples are collected, in a process which takes less than a minute. The Intelligent Fingerprinting portable analysis unit then reads the cartridge and provides a positive or negative result on-screen for all drugs in the test in 10 minutes.

Andrew Rogan, operations manager at the council, said: ‘We are using the Intelligent Fingerprinting system to test all new permanent employees or agency staff for frontline services. These employees work in safety-critical roles, often work around machinery, and in a constantly changing environment so it is critical that they are alert and fit for duty.

‘The fingerprint drug screening system is fantastic as it’s saving the council a huge amount of time and cost as we’re now able to conduct the tests in-house rather than using an external provider.

‘Having the system available for use whenever it’s needed also gives us the flexibility to carry out tests at other times too, such as “for-cause” testing if we have reason to suspect drug use by an existing employee.’

‘For-cause’ testing, also known as ‘with-cause’ testing, is used when there are reasonable grounds to suspect an employee of misusing drugs or alcohol in the workplace.

‘We are finding the fingerprint system is giving us much greater control over our drug testing, and its efficiency is helping us to unlock immediate savings for the council,’ added Mr Rogan.

‘Thanks to the Intelligent Fingerprinting approach we have been able to implement remote training for our managers so they can carry out the testing themselves, and we’re confident in the results as the test is virtually impossible to tamper with.’

Dr Paul Yates of Intelligent Fingerprinting commented: ‘It’s good to hear that our fingerprint drug test is already saving Huntingdonshire District Council time and money while delivering a superior on-site service for their drug testing needs.

‘Immediate efficiency savings include being able to carry out testing quickly and easily in the office and no longer needing to cordon off bathrooms to dedicate their use to urine testing. The council has also taken advantage of Intelligent Fingerprinting’s one stop service for both drug and alcohol tests so we’re providing the council with alcohol breathalysers too.’