Tories call for answers in physio contract row
CONSERVAT I V E councillors have joined calls for an investigation into why a council contract worth up to £115,000 was handed to Cheshire East Council leader Michael Jones’ physiotherapist.
Concerns have been raised around the decision to award the contract to run fitness sessions in schools and community centres to Core Fit, a company run by Amanda Morris, outside of the council’s normal rules.
The company had been involved in a pilot scheme to provide fitness classes at primary schools and community centres across Cheshire East.
And in February a year long contract was put out to tender, attracting a number of bidders competing for the lucrative deal.
But it was awarded to Core Fit in March, without the tender process being completed. And in April 2015 the tender process was officially waived by three council officers, stating that more time was needed to carry out a full evaluation of the pilot scheme. Coun Jones last week told the Express that he introduced Ms Morris to the council in an attempt to tackle poor body image among children ahead of the pilot scheme, but that he was not involved in the procurement process. He said that Core Fit had provided a good service and that there was no wrong doing.
Now Tory councillors on the Conservative-controlled council have joined the calls for an independent external investigation.
Coun Howard Murray, who represents Poynton East and Pott Shrigley, said: “There is a serious cause for concern that warrants an external investigation.
“The matter is damaging to Coun Jones, the council and the Conservative party. It needs the bright light of an external investigation shining upon it.”
Coun Jones was unavailable to comment on his Conservative colleagues comments.
Fellow Conservative Coun Lesley Smetham, said: “If there are any suspicions that things have been done incorrectly then there should be an investigation.”
When contacted by the Express, MP David Rutley declined to comment.
Last week a Cheshire East Council spokesman said: “If a procurement process is undertaken, and no bid is suitable to the specification required, then no contract is awarded.”
Cheshire East has declined to comment further on why the contract was given to Core Fit and whether there will be an investigation.
Amanda Morris was not available for comment.
●● Council leader Michael Jones