Council Probes Pounds 520m of Contracts; EXCLUSIVE Liverpool Leader Says Officials' 'Integrity' Called into Question

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), June 2, 2006 | Go to article overview

Council Probes Pounds 520m of Contracts; EXCLUSIVE Liverpool Leader Says Officials' 'Integrity' Called into Question


Byline: BY SAM LISTER Daily Post Staff

A MAJOR investigation into Liverpool council contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds was triggered by complaints about the "integrity" of officers.

Council leader Warren Bradley last night ordered an independent audit to ensure the city's new chief executive - due to be appointed later this month - was not left to "pick up the pieces of any scandal" if the accusations turned out to be true.

He added that his mission was to ensure the city council was "squeaky clean", particularly as 2008 approaches. Acting chief executive Colin Hilton has now brought in one of the country's largest independent auditors to examine deals with Liverpool Direct Ltd (LDL), which operates call centres, and street cleaning organisation Enterprise - the council's two largest contracts, totalling pounds 520m.

It will also look at two other public-private sector organisations carrying out construction and refurbishment. Last night, Cllr Bradley told the Daily Post: "I want to make sure everything is squeaky clean.

"People have raised concerns with me about procurement and I wanted that investigated.

"I have had staff come to me with things they are not happy about, casting doubt on other people's integrity as does happen in large organisations.

"It may just be their interpretation of something, but I want to make sure we address concerns.

"If we do find something, then it was only right that we carried this out.

"I wanted to do this before we appoint a new chief executive so they would not be picking up the pieces of any scandal if there were any problems. I just want transparency."

LDL, a pounds 340m joint venture company with BT, was set up to improve the council's customer services departments and has since expanded its remit into other areas of the authority. It was spearheaded by David McElhinney, who recently left his job as executive director of central services to become its full-time chief executive.

Enterprise won pounds 180m contracts in Liverpool for street cleaning and highways work through its subsidiary Enter prise-Liver pool. …

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