There is ‘no reason’ for external investigation says council boss
THE council has said there will be no external investigation into contracts issued to the council leader’s physiotherapist outside the normal tendering process.
Chief executive Mike Suarez has said internal audit work ‘has not shown any unlawful expenditure or any breach of EU procurement rules’.
He said: “External audit has been kept fully informed and has reviewed the documentary evidence relating to this issue.
“These issues and key learning from all waivers issued will be reported to the council’s audit and governance committee and will be responded to through their audit work in this area.
“I see no reason for an external investigation and have discussed that view with the external auditors, who are independent of the council and satisfied that the approach the council has taken does not require their formal involvement.
“It is important to remember that the tender for ‘children powered physical activity and fitness programme’ was not awarded.
“A separate pre-existing pilot was extended to aid better understanding of the possible outcomes.
“An evaluation of the outcomes is starting in 2015/16.”
But Coun Laura Jeuda, Labour councillor for Macclesfield South, said the council has a duty to investigate fully.
She said: “It’s unacceptable they are saying there should be no investigation.
“We need some answers to these questions, particularly now there is another contract given without tendering.
“Why have they given a contract for mental health services to a physiotherapist?
“What does it mean for the tendering process as we know it? ”
Macclesfield MP David Rutley said: “From the chief executive’s statement, I understand that Cheshire East Council’s internal audit function has reviewed the case and that external auditors have been kept informed.
“It is proper procedure for the council’s audit and governance committee to review the issues raised, as is planned.”