Lancashire County Council steps up One Connect investigation

LANCASHIRE county council’s cabinet has authorised a stepping up of its investigation into the authority’s controversial One Connect contract with BT.

The two officials conducting the probe, originally announced in November, will now get external legal and financial help for their work.

The final meeting of the cabinet of 2013 approved the upgrade, welcomed by Tory opposition leader Geoff Driver who signed the original deal when he was in power at County Hall.

He has called for the investigation to be handed over to a team completely independent of the county council.

It follows former chief executive Phil Halsall resigning after being suspended over a contract with BT for fleet vehicle maintenance, the abandonment of a contract for community telecare alarms and the revealation that the chief executive of One Connect David McElhinney was paid more than £600,000 for two years work.

The investigation will look at the performance and value for money of the arrangement including a shortfall of £6.6m in procurement savings for 2012/13 and 2013/14.

It will also examine the abandonment of the Tunstall Healthcare contract for telecare alarms and the payments to Mr McElhinney.

The resolution approved by the Cabinet said: “It was reported that these issues were of significant concern to the County Council and raised questions as to whether the partnership with BT is securing the intended benefits for the County Council.”

County Labour leader Jennifer Mein said: "The cabinet report listed a number of issues of which we were already aware, as well as information about the recent performance of One Connect.

“It is important that the partnership delivers the intended benefits to the county council and people in Lancashire. A recommendation was made to seek external legal and financial assistance, which helps to support this process."

Coun Driver said: “I welcome this investigation so the people of Lancashire can find out whether the One Connect deal provided value for money.

“It should be totally independent, not conducted by two county council officers with external assistance.”

Events concerning Mr Halsall and Mr McElhinney are currently the subject of police investigations.

Comments (15)

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8:58pm Sat 28 Dec 13

JNAMOULDING says...

is the Lancahire County Council having another laugh nudge nudge wink wink funny hand shake with rolled up trouser leg investigation covered over ! like they did with my genuine complaint'' about the SS'
is the Lancahire County Council having another laugh nudge nudge wink wink funny hand shake with rolled up trouser leg investigation covered over ! like they did with my genuine complaint'' about the SS' JNAMOULDING

9:16pm Sat 28 Dec 13

rilistic says...

I think Driver has a point - how will we know the truth if the investigation is done in house? It will be a whitewash as usual.
I think Driver has a point - how will we know the truth if the investigation is done in house? It will be a whitewash as usual. rilistic

9:18pm Sat 28 Dec 13

mayor7 says...

As a taxpayer, I'm delighted the current Labour administration is closely examining some of the previous relationships and dealings under the watch of the conservative party. It appears as though the whole One Connect Ltd arrangement has been a complete shambles.
As a taxpayer, I'm delighted the current Labour administration is closely examining some of the previous relationships and dealings under the watch of the conservative party. It appears as though the whole One Connect Ltd arrangement has been a complete shambles. mayor7

9:41am Sun 29 Dec 13

Loving lances says...

Driver and Halsall ignored warnings and so they deserve this fate.
What does Driver want? An investigation by BT?
Driver and Halsall ignored warnings and so they deserve this fate. What does Driver want? An investigation by BT? Loving lances

11:37am Sun 29 Dec 13

glossopkid says...

JNAMOULDING wrote:
is the Lancahire County Council having another laugh nudge nudge wink wink funny hand shake with rolled up trouser leg investigation covered over ! like they did with my genuine complaint'' about the SS'
Totally agree with you on this.
[quote][p][bold]JNAMOULDING[/bold] wrote: is the Lancahire County Council having another laugh nudge nudge wink wink funny hand shake with rolled up trouser leg investigation covered over ! like they did with my genuine complaint'' about the SS'[/p][/quote]Totally agree with you on this. glossopkid

7:23pm Sun 29 Dec 13

rilistic says...

To be fair Loving Lances, Driver is asking for a completely independent review by someone outside LCC, such as the District Auditor, who has not been involved in any way with the dealings with OCL and BT, The Labour Members and the Officers, who were involved in the contract with BT, are resisting that so perhaps it is them, not Driver, who have something to hide. Unless the review is done by someone entirely independent of LCC, those unhappy with its findings will call foul and we the taxpayers will never be certain that we have been told the truth.
To be fair Loving Lances, Driver is asking for a completely independent review by someone outside LCC, such as the District Auditor, who has not been involved in any way with the dealings with OCL and BT, The Labour Members and the Officers, who were involved in the contract with BT, are resisting that so perhaps it is them, not Driver, who have something to hide. Unless the review is done by someone entirely independent of LCC, those unhappy with its findings will call foul and we the taxpayers will never be certain that we have been told the truth. rilistic

7:31pm Sun 29 Dec 13

Loving lances says...

rilistic wrote:
To be fair Loving Lances, Driver is asking for a completely independent review by someone outside LCC, such as the District Auditor, who has not been involved in any way with the dealings with OCL and BT, The Labour Members and the Officers, who were involved in the contract with BT, are resisting that so perhaps it is them, not Driver, who have something to hide. Unless the review is done by someone entirely independent of LCC, those unhappy with its findings will call foul and we the taxpayers will never be certain that we have been told the truth.
Very good points, but both Driver and Halsall were totally implicated in both the setting up of the original contract and their role as Cheerleaders for One Direct and all of BT's work. When councillors and staff in LCC and ODL
pointed out problems these two gents did not want to know.
[quote][p][bold]rilistic[/bold] wrote: To be fair Loving Lances, Driver is asking for a completely independent review by someone outside LCC, such as the District Auditor, who has not been involved in any way with the dealings with OCL and BT, The Labour Members and the Officers, who were involved in the contract with BT, are resisting that so perhaps it is them, not Driver, who have something to hide. Unless the review is done by someone entirely independent of LCC, those unhappy with its findings will call foul and we the taxpayers will never be certain that we have been told the truth.[/p][/quote]Very good points, but both Driver and Halsall were totally implicated in both the setting up of the original contract and their role as Cheerleaders for One Direct and all of BT's work. When councillors and staff in LCC and ODL pointed out problems these two gents did not want to know. Loving lances

7:55pm Sun 29 Dec 13

mayor07 says...

The contract with One Connect was signed under Driver and Halsall's leadership and if any wrongdoing is confirmed it is they who will be culpible. If the evidence of illigitemecies is strengthened through the continuation of the interernal review, with the support of external specialists, then I suspect this will end up being concluded through completion of an independent review. My prediction is that Driver's leadership of the Tories will end in 2014 as will One Connect Limited which will become an untenable entity.
The contract with One Connect was signed under Driver and Halsall's leadership and if any wrongdoing is confirmed it is they who will be culpible. If the evidence of illigitemecies is strengthened through the continuation of the interernal review, with the support of external specialists, then I suspect this will end up being concluded through completion of an independent review. My prediction is that Driver's leadership of the Tories will end in 2014 as will One Connect Limited which will become an untenable entity. mayor07

8:13pm Sun 29 Dec 13

rilistic says...

You both may be right but the Officers who are conducting the review were both involved in the day to day dealings with OCL and one of them actually agreed the contract with BT that set up OCL in the first place. Can they be trusted to give an impartial view of what happened? I don't think so.
Whatever you might think of him, and he did OK for my niece and other children with disabilities, Driver doesn't seem to be afraid of an independent review but the Officers who advised him to sign the contract with BT seem to be frightened what an independent review might say about their advice.
You both may be right but the Officers who are conducting the review were both involved in the day to day dealings with OCL and one of them actually agreed the contract with BT that set up OCL in the first place. Can they be trusted to give an impartial view of what happened? I don't think so. Whatever you might think of him, and he did OK for my niece and other children with disabilities, Driver doesn't seem to be afraid of an independent review but the Officers who advised him to sign the contract with BT seem to be frightened what an independent review might say about their advice. rilistic

8:30pm Sun 29 Dec 13

mayor07 says...

I would suggest that Halsall, McElhinney and Driver were the key protagonists in relation to the signing of the contract and the other officers to which you refer were acting under their instruction.
I would suggest that Halsall, McElhinney and Driver were the key protagonists in relation to the signing of the contract and the other officers to which you refer were acting under their instruction. mayor07

10:36pm Sun 29 Dec 13

rilistic says...

Mayor07 - I think you misunderstand how local government works. So far as I know, Driver is not a lawyer so he would rely on LCC's legal officers to sort the contract with BT. The officer who agreed the contract with BT is one of the officers now carrying out the review so he is not likely to say he got it wrong is he? With respect, you also miss the point that Driver would hardly be calling for a thorough independent review if he had something to hide. There is obviously much more to this than meets the eye and the more I think about it, I could easily convince myself that it is the Council's officers, not Driver, who have something to hide. Surely, if the officers have nothing to hide, they would welcome an independent review to settle the thing once and for all.
Mayor07 - I think you misunderstand how local government works. So far as I know, Driver is not a lawyer so he would rely on LCC's legal officers to sort the contract with BT. The officer who agreed the contract with BT is one of the officers now carrying out the review so he is not likely to say he got it wrong is he? With respect, you also miss the point that Driver would hardly be calling for a thorough independent review if he had something to hide. There is obviously much more to this than meets the eye and the more I think about it, I could easily convince myself that it is the Council's officers, not Driver, who have something to hide. Surely, if the officers have nothing to hide, they would welcome an independent review to settle the thing once and for all. rilistic

10:47pm Sun 29 Dec 13

Loving lances says...

As the Leader of the council, Driver was in the driving seat. Officers are just hired hands, council members derive their power from the people.
As a politician he can bluster like the best of them. And he is not just any naive politician. He began his local government career at Rossendale and that length of service got him his CBE. He and Halsall could bring each other down.
As the Leader of the council, Driver was in the driving seat. Officers are just hired hands, council members derive their power from the people. As a politician he can bluster like the best of them. And he is not just any naive politician. He began his local government career at Rossendale and that length of service got him his CBE. He and Halsall could bring each other down. Loving lances

10:55pm Sun 29 Dec 13

mayor07 says...

Think you miss my point. So I'll repeat. Halsall, McElhinney and Driver are likely to have instructed officers on the key aspects of OCL. I'm not sure the concerns are around the specific contract itself, but instead some of the alleged activities that have taken place since entering into the contract under their leadership - some of these are outlined in this article. Halsall and McElhinney have previous at Liverpool.
Think you miss my point. So I'll repeat. Halsall, McElhinney and Driver are likely to have instructed officers on the key aspects of OCL. I'm not sure the concerns are around the specific contract itself, but instead some of the alleged activities that have taken place since entering into the contract under their leadership - some of these are outlined in this article. Halsall and McElhinney have previous at Liverpool. mayor07

11:38pm Sun 29 Dec 13

rilistic says...

You both may be right and obviously like most taxpayers I don't know but I just can't get my head round why Driver is asking for a thorough independent investigation and the officers want to keep it in house! If it is as you both suppose I would expect it to be the other way round. Anyway, unless you have some inside knowledge we will have to wait for the results of the internal review.
You both may be right and obviously like most taxpayers I don't know but I just can't get my head round why Driver is asking for a thorough independent investigation and the officers want to keep it in house! If it is as you both suppose I would expect it to be the other way round. Anyway, unless you have some inside knowledge we will have to wait for the results of the internal review. rilistic

2:24pm Mon 30 Dec 13

JNAMOULDING says...

glossopkid wrote:
JNAMOULDING wrote:
is the Lancahire County Council having another laugh nudge nudge wink wink funny hand shake with rolled up trouser leg investigation covered over ! like they did with my genuine complaint'' about the SS'
Totally agree with you on this.
thank's glossopkid for agreeing ,

I note one person give me the thunb down must be gullible or a Lancashire County Councilor who doesn't like the truth'' !
[quote][p][bold]glossopkid[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JNAMOULDING[/bold] wrote: is the Lancahire County Council having another laugh nudge nudge wink wink funny hand shake with rolled up trouser leg investigation covered over ! like they did with my genuine complaint'' about the SS'[/p][/quote]Totally agree with you on this.[/p][/quote]thank's glossopkid for agreeing , I note one person give me the thunb down must be gullible or a Lancashire County Councilor who doesn't like the truth'' ! JNAMOULDING

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