Councillor asked to retract allegation voiced at meeting
A COUNCIL officer who signed off one of the Core Fit contracts asked a councillor to retract a statement in which he said the rules at Cheshire East council can be broken.
Labour councillor Sam Corcoran raised concerns at the Audit and Governance Committee meeting as to why contracts were issued to Core Fit outside the normal tendering process.
He brought up the matter at various points and at one point told the meeting: “In this council the rules can be bent, the rules can be broken.”
Responding to his comments, monitoring officer Anita Bradley said: “We have to wait for this work to come back (by internal audit).
“I ask you to retract that statement.”
Coun Corcoran did not retract the statement.
Committee chairman Lesley Smetham told Coun Corcoran the matter had already been addressed before moving the debate on.
Ms Bradley was one of three senior council officers who signed off forms to waive the normal procurement procedures for contracts with Core Fit.
The council says that the normal process was waived to allow a pilot scheme run by Core Fit to continue.
A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: “The monitoring officer is there to advise the council on objective legal and procedural matters and her intervention was factual and relevant to proceedings.
“There were no papers on the agenda specifically on the Core Fit procurement matter. It was clear from the early part of the meeting that a detailed report would come forward to the next meeting and it was important that members recognised that they would have an opportunity to make informed comments on the facts presented.
“External audit was satisfied on the council’s approach to date. The disclosures made in the meeting by officers were appropriate.”
Ms Bradley could not be contacted for comment.
It was decided at the meeting that the report being prepared by the internal audit team would also be made available to the Audit and Governance committee as well as chief executive Mike Suarez.
●● Cheshire East Council’s headquarters at Westfields, Sandbach
●● Coun Sam Corcoran