Leader’s physio handed a sec­ond coun­cil con­tract

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON karen.brit­ton@men­media.co.uk @KarenBrit­ton1

ASECOND coun­cil con­tract worth up to £21,000 was awarded to the leader’s phys­io­ther­a­pist out­side the nor­mal ten­der­ing rules, it has been re­vealed.

Ear­lier this month the Ex­press re­ported that a con­tract worth up to £115,000 was is­sued to Core Fit, a com­pany run by coun­cil­lor Michael Jones’s phys­io­ther­a­pist Amanda Mor­ris, be­fore the ten­der­ing process was com­plete.

The Ex­press has now seen doc­u­ments show­ing a con­tract worth up to £21,000 is­sued to Core Fit – this time to run men­tal health ses­sions in schools – again with the ten­der process waived.

Core Fit was in­volved in a pi­lot scheme in 2014 to pro­vide fit­ness classes at pri­mary schools and com­mu­nity cen­tres across Cheshire East.

The coun­cil put out to ten­der a year-long con­tract worth up to £115,000 to con­tinue the scheme, at­tract­ing a num­ber of bid­ders for the deal.

But the con­tract was awarded to Core Fit in March with­out the ten­der process be­ing com­pleted.

In April the ten­der process was of­fi­cially waived by three se­nior coun­cil of­fi­cers, stat­ing that more time was needed to carry out a full eval­u­a­tion of the pi­lot scheme.

This sparked con­cerns among coun­cil­lors and res­i­dents about why the de­ci­sion had been taken and there have been calls for an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter.

Coun­cil leader Michael Jones ad­mit­ted that he in­tro­duced Amanda Mor­ris to coun­cil of­fi­cers but said it was not his de­ci­sion to can­cel the pro­cure­ment process.

A sec­ond con­tract worth up to £21,000 was is­sued to Core Fit a month af­ter the £115,000, with an­other form to waive the nor­mal pro­cure­ment rules was signed off by se­nior of­fi­cers, again as an ex­ten­sion of a pi­lot scheme.

It states that the con­tract was to pro­vide: “Mind health train­ing in­te­grated within the Cor­e­fit pro­gramme. Ad­di­tional 15 minute ses­sions over a five week pe­riod de­liv­ered in schools al­ready par­tic­i­pat­ing in Cor­e­fit.”

It goes on: “Turn­ing men­tal health into mind health is a rad­i­cal first step to­wards in­te­grat­ing phys­i­cal and men­tal well­be­ing.”

The form also states that the value of the orig­i­nal con­tract is­sued to Core Fit in 2014 was £20,800.

Coun Nick Man­nion, Labour coun­cil­lor for Mac­cles­field West and Ivy ward, said: “There are more ques­tions to be an­swered around why the ten­der process was waived again. There’s a lot of smoke around all of this and we’re rais­ing it through the coun­cil’s au­dit and gov­er­nance.”

Coun Jones was not avail­able af­ter de­tails of the sec­ond con­tract were re­vealed. Amanda Mor­ris could not be con­tacted for com­ment.

●● Cheshire East Coun­cil leader Michael Jones

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