There is ‘no rea­son’ for ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion says coun­cil boss

Macclesfield Express - - CHILDREN IN NEED -

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.”

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