A Sutton and Cheam parliamentary candidate has become tangled up in a dispute with the Department for Work and Pensions in a row over red tape. 

Businessman Paul Scully, set to run as a prospective Conservative MP for the borough in next year’s general election, is joint-owner of Nudge Factory in Croydon High Street.

The firm provide communication strategies across a range of sectors including local government, corporate PR, and property and planning.

He runs the firm with his business partner Ahzaz Chowdhury.

Last week they posted a job advert seeking a personal assistant for Mr Chowdhury, and owing to the nature of the role, specified the right candidate would need an excellent command of English language both written and verbal.

Mr Scully and Mr Chowdhury chose to advertise through the Croydon Jobcentre to find someone to fill the post, but after the ad went live they received a message from the DWP, asking them to explain why they were trying to claim an exemption to the Equality Act. 

The department asked them to outline why applicants had to be able to speak a particular language, and went on to ask: "In what way could the duties of the current staff be re-organised to enable the new post to be filled by someone who does not need to speak this particular language. 

"If this is not possible please state why."

The DWP also asked how many staff are employed by the company and how many only speak English.

Following a complaint from Mr Scully the government department is now reviewing its procedure.

The Conservative party member said: "As someone who is keen to take on a local person if possible, it is frustrating to see obstacles put in the way. 

"There must be thousands of small businesses that would be put off using the Universal Jobmatch service if they thought that they would be given the third degree.

"I am glad the DWP have seen sense and will change their procedures as a result of my speaking out."

A DWP spokesperson said: "Universal Jobmatch is successfully helping people into work with around half a million employers now registered. 

"We have robust procedures in place to ensure that vacancies comply with Equality legislation and that jobseekers are not discriminated against.
"In this case those checks may have been too strict and we are now reviewing our procedures.  

"We will be in touch with Mr Scully."

Have you had an unusual or bizarre experience of red tape? Call the news desk on 020 8722 6358, or email tom.gillespie@london.newsquest.co.uk